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article imageReview: Idina Menzel fabulous at homecoming show at Jones Beach, New York Special

By Markos Papadatos     Jul 18, 2015 in Music
Wantagh - Tony-winning actress Idina Menzel performed a headlining concert at the Nikon at Jones Beach Theater in Wantagh on July 17, for her hometown fan-base.
She began her set with her powerhouse vocal performance, "Defying Gravity" from the musical Wicked. "Thank you," she said, following the warm reception. "Is this Jones Beach? I've been coming here my whole life. I've had decent seats, but not from here," referring to her actually standing on the stage. "I may cry a little bit," she added.
Menzel paid tribute to Barbra Streisand by singing her hit "Don't Rain on My Parade." She noted that the weather is slightly cold, hence she is drinking tea. She immediately broke into her empowering song "Brave" and yet another inspirational vocal "I Stand," where she was backed by her band and orchestra.
"This is a song from a show called 'Wicked'," she said, referring to "The Wizard and I." She revealed that she was the very first, original, green girl, and went on to deliver the Broadway tune. She subsequently noted that she has a good view, praising Jones Beach for being a "beautiful place," as well as its clouds, the beach and the people. "The Wizard and I" earned her a standing ovation, and the audience members were yelling out "I love yous" to Menzel.
"All right. Calm down," she said, trying to tame them. "I love you, now shut up," she added jokingly, in what she dubbed her "Long Island Jewish humor." "The more we curse and put each other down, the more we love each other," she clarified. For Menzel, "I love yous" tend to be boring, and the songstress shared that she preferred that somebody told her that they wanted to sleep with her.
She delivered a moving rendition of Joni Mitchell's "River," while sitting on a stool, and she was able to bring out the rawness and wilderness of the lyrics.
Menzel disclosed that she grew up in Syosset and went to New York University (NYU), where she studied theater. She paid tribute to her fourth grade teacher, Ms. Pincus, whom she dubbed as an "amazing teacher," who as a fourth grader, would inspire her and her classmates to go to the window on the days that it snowed and write poems. Unfortunately, she found out that her former teacher had passed away this morning, yet she was able to recall the profound influence that she had on her life, which was a major consolation. "I am a big PMS mess tonight," she said. "Everything makes me want to cry."
She went on to perform "Love for Sale" and "Roxanne," where her stage was graced in red lights. She went on to pay homage to an inspirational woman in theater: the late but great Ethel Merman, by performing a medley of her hits, which included "There's Not Business Like Show Business," the uplifting "Anything Goes" and "Everything's Coming Up Roses."
Menzel told the audience that the song "Still I Can't Be Still" is on her debut studio album, which only three people bought, and she will be singing it to those three people, simply "because she can." During this vocal, she took off her shoes and proved to be one true stylist, interpreting the lyrics, and capturing the emotion from within.
The acclaimed songstress and actress expressed her gratitude for being given powerful songs to sing, especially about people who may not always fit in, and "Defying Gravity" was one of those paradigms. She showcased her vulnerability by kneeling down and performing Radiohead's "Creep," which had a dark and eerie mood that resonated well with the crowd.
During "Take Me or Leave Me" Menzel went into the audience and selected several fans to sing along with her, which included a male and female adult fan, as well as a young girl, all of which stole the show. She displayed her warm personality and openness to engage her fans within her show.
She took her fans on a trip down memory lane to her days on Rent, which was her first major professional role, at the age of 24, and she dedicated the song "No Day But Today" to its playwright, Jonathan Larson, who had passed away right before the opening of Rent.
The highlight vocal of the evening was her stellar version of "Always Starting Over" from her latest musical, If/Then. She revealed that this role was serendipitous since while her professional life was incredible, her personal life was more complicated, and by immersing herself in the role, she was able to learn so much about life through her character. "I love and adore this play so much," she admitted.
Just when one thought that Menzel could not get any better, she displayed her vocal prowess on "For Good," by singing it a cappella for the Jones Beach crowd.
She was sublime on her live rendition of "Let It Go," the theme song from the animated film Frozen, where she voiced Queen Elsa, and she allowed her fans to sing along with her. For her encore, the stunning entertainer sang a crystalline version of "Tomorrow" from the musical Annie.
The Verdict
Overall, Idina Menzel's homecoming concert at the Nikon at Jones Beach Theater on Long Island was outstanding. She was able to bring all of these pop, Broadway and jazz standards to life thanks to her ethereal vocals. Each song that she covered, she was able to give it a unique and refreshing twist, proving that she is one well-rounded artist. During several nostalgic instances, she was caught wiping back her tears, overwhelmed with joy and gratitude, for everything that has led to her playing at this iconic venue tonight. She thanked everybody that made it possible for her, from her entire team to every audience member that came out to see her perform live. Her stage presence and witty personality were both impeccable, and she was able to create strong moments with her hometown fans, and she transported them to different realms. She earned 5 out of 5 stars for a fantastic live concert.
More about Idina Menzel, Jones Beach, New york, Frozen
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