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Digital Subscriptions > Gay Times > November 2016 > Idina Menzel

Idina Menzel

Tony Award-winning starlet Idina Menzel is regarded by many as the First Lady of modern musical theatre — from her turn as Maureen in the HIV-exposing musical Rent, to flying high as greenskinned outcast Elphaba in Wicked. Currently heard belting out the infamous Let It Go as ice queen Elsa in Frozen, she’s teaching a whole new generation about the true meaning of being themselves. We sat down with Idina to talk through her colourful career, her new self-titled original solo album, and to find out what she really thinks of the online backlash to her leading the upcoming Beaches remake.

“I have a pride about Rent in how it changed my life but also how it influenced a generation of people, and continues to do so even to this day,” beams Idina as we discuss playing the 20th anniversary of Jonathan Larson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning musical. As Maureen, Idina and company took on sexuality and put HIV at the forefront of Broadway audiences’ minds. “Rent showed that it’s OK for two men or two women to sing love songs together on stage and be open about their love. It wasn’t the very first time, but it was the first time it was received on such a huge scale. Look at how many people saw themselves within that music and felt like they were being represented on such a large a scale as Broadway.”

Twenty years and a movie of the musical later, Rent may not be dazzling audiences on Broadway today, but the message and impact of its daring exposure, as far as Idina is concerned, remains ever the same. “When there’s people who’re thinking that life isn’t worth it and that nobody understands who they are, and are almost being spoken for, maybe with this show we helped save someone from all of that.

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EXCLUSIVE: Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne talks to GT about the all-inclusive imagination of J.K.Rowling. As if that wasn't already enough, come behind the scenes with GT and meet the entire cast of Fantastic Beasts! After all, Harry Potter taught us that no one should live in a closet. Also, in your brand new GT - is it too late now to say sorry? Olly Murs wants to apologise to LGBT+ people for his "23% gay” gaffe. From life as the ice queen Elsa to Beaches, the first lady of musical theatre Idina Menzel takes a bow and in a special report, we explore LGBT+ life in the Middle East and the region's first-ever gay mag My.Kali Magazine.