Idina Menzel has a diverse career on the stage, in film and television, and in music. Best known for her work in the Broadway musical and film adaption of Rent, her Tony Award-winning performance as Elphaba in Wicked, and her recurring role in the hit TV series Glee, the beloved Broadway star has spent much of the past two years crisscrossing the country, headlining concerts with world-renowned symphony orchestras.

This summer she is at it again and returning to Nashville for shared concert with the Nashville Symphony at the Woods Amphitheater at Fontanel. While some singers might be thrown by not performing with the same musicians each show, Menzel finds the experience thrilling.

“I have the same music director and the same rhythm section, so I have sort of the base there,” she explains. “Then there are these incredible surprises when you hear this incredible music [from these different groups]. It somehow works out great and that’s what’s really thrilling.”

Menzel is also changing things up a bit from her last time in town adding material not found on her recent CD/DVD release Live: Barefoot at the Symphony.

“That CD/DVD was the result of a year and a half of touring beforehand, and I don’t want to go back to the cities like Nashville and repeat too much,” she says, mentioning that of some other “kick-ass belting songs” will be added to her repertoire.

“I’m definitely exploring some new material and some of the major belters out there,” she continues. “There are these women that I idolize, and instead of feeling intimidated about singing songs that they’ve sung, I’m just gonna get out there and be inspired by them.”

Of course, there will be a couple of songs held over from the previous tour, such as the ever-popular “Defying Gravity” which, combined with her gay rights activism, earned her a spot on Atlantis Events’ Allure of the Seas cruise.

“That was heaven for me,” she says. “First of all, sometimes I have to watch my language and my banter a little bit because I have young people in the audience. There, I felt totally liberated. I just hung out with the boys, you know what I mean? I didn’t worry about it, so it was a little raunchy which was really fun. It was just a great few days; if I ever went on a cruise again, I’d definitely go on a gay cruise and never go on a straight cruise.”

With her concert on the night of Nashville Pride Festival, Menzel hopes to see more fans from one of her favorite communities while she is in town.

“You have got to remind of that!” she says about Pride Fest. “That way if I get too tired during the show, I can remember where I am.” And, hopefully, come hang out with the boys here too.

Idina Menzel performs with the Nashville Symphony at 8 p.m. on Saturday, June 16, at the Woods Amphitheater at Fontanel. Tickets are available online at www.nashvillesymphony.org/tickets/event/idinamenzel. 

Photo courtesy of Red Bull

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Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville

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