Tony Award Winner Idina Menzel is known for her roles in Disney’s "Frozen", and popular Broadway shows such as Wicked and Rent - but now she’s headlining St. Louis Pridefest with a new album of pop hits perfect for Pride Season.
Her new album, Drama Queen, comes out on August 18 and Menzel says it’s a thank you to the LGBTQ+ community for their support.
Read our full interview with Idina Menzel below:
Q: You have a history of being in productions where the central theme is activism, how do you think this has influenced your personal involvement in LGBTQ+ activism?
A: Playing at these pride events is an opportunity for me to express my gratitude to the LGBTQ+ community. The community has always been with me and supported me with my artistic choices – all the way from Maureen in Rent to now. But more than that, through their courage, they have taught me how to live my life authentically.
The queer community’s ability to rise above adversity, hypocrisy, and ignorance, and to always meet it with love and joy has been such an inspiration to me. So, I think [LGBTQ+ activism] informs everything – from the characters I play to how I live my personal life.
Q: Your new songs are already becoming Pride Month Anthems – was the connection of your music to the LGBTQ+ Community intentional?
A: I think probably through osmosis (laughs). When I write music it has to come from a personal place first. So, something I often struggle with is trying to be honest about who I am and how I present myself to the world, and it’s not so easy all the time. Even for someone like me who loves the spotlight at times, there are times where I can’t find my voice. A lot of the songs are based on that.
The whole album is called Drama Queen because I feel like that term needs a reclaiming and a positive spin on this idea that people like me that have such huge, bold, larger-than-life emotions – all that makes us interesting and who we are. I wanted to be proud of that and I think that I realized that a lot of the things that I was writing about could possibly resonate with my friends in the queer community, and I hope it does.
Q: During the first week of Pride Month, Missouri state Governor Mike Parson signed into law a ban on gender-affirming care for adolescents, which is written in a way that could prohibit some adults to receive that care as well. What advice do you have for those who are impacted by these laws, and so many others across the country?
A: I feel like it’s easy for me to say keep fighting because I’m not walking in anybody else’s shoes, but I’m sure that it feels frustrating and… inconceivable really. There’s so much going on in this world that needs to be changed, so the idea that so much energy is being channeled into all this legislation is beyond comprehension to me.
I think the biggest thing, especially for trans youth, is not to feel alone. Know that there are so many resources out there – if they’re in a home, or a school, or a community where they feel alienated and misunderstood – know that there is a community out there that loves them and is fighting for them and that has a home for them.
Q: You’ve already performed at several Pride Festivals across the country, what makes you excited to perform at St. Louis PrideFest?
A: I’ve always wondered why I love doing these shows more than anything – and that’s no offense to Broadway or any of the beautiful places I’ve performed. But, I think it’s because there are thousands of people standing up against the stage, misbehaving, not having to be composed like in the theatre, and I could stage dive and am convinced there are a couple of muscular gay men who would catch me (laughs). So, I just have the best time and felt like I needed to create an album where I can play some great stuff! I’ve never done St. Louis Pride, so I’m excited to be there and to do it!
Q: Finally, you voice the icon… the legend… the literal QUEEN, Elsa in Disney’s "Frozen". But, do you believe in the popular fan theory that Elsa identifies as a member of the LGBTQ+ Community?
A: All I can say is… that I’m hoping Elsa finds true love – in whatever form that is.
Idina Menzel is performing Sunday, June 25 on the McDonald’s Mainstage at 5:15 pm.