On Tuesday of this week, Broadway baby Idina Menzel released her big album I Stand. In short, she sounds great, and there are some top-notch pop songs among the ten tracks.
Of more importance, however, is the fact that another big Broadway star is getting a serious chance at a pop career. I haven’t been around long enough to know the history of such attempts, except for Heather Headley, but it is in the best interest of everyone in the industry for Idina Menzel to sell many albums. Menzel herself has already gone on record as saying that she isn’t leaving Broadway, just tackling this project at this moment.
Let’s face it . . . Anything that helps a Broadway star succeed on a national playing field is great news for us. It used to be that Al Jolson or Ethel Waters would have hit records or the original Broadway cast recordings of My Fair Lady and Hello, Dolly! would be big hits.
And the more it is that artists can start on Broadway and find an entry to success in other media, the more spotlight Broadway will get. Anything that draws attention to Broadway or Broadway talent is a chance to make people interested or even intrigued in attending a show on Broadway or on tour. Plus, when the MBAs in California learn that major success can come from Broadway, they’ll come looking again and again.
Just imagine if Disney hadn’t needed Toni Braxton to attempt to fill in Heather Headley’s shoes as Aida but could use Idina Menzel as Amneris for their big tourist-drawing name. Or what if Idina Menzel, someone who can actually sing the songs of musicals, became a big enough name to star in a movie musical? I’d much rather we got Menzel in a movie musical instead of a non-singing Hollywood name or a non-acting pop star.
So . . . money speaks and the Industry listens. If you are in a position to do so, buy Idina Menzel’s CD soon. Opening week sales are big for the music industry just as they are for Hollywood. Let the suits know great talent comes from (and returns to) Broadway.
the Broadway Mouth
February 1, 2008