Defying Gravity: The Essential Idina Menzel on Disc

By Ben Rimalower
08 Mar 2014

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"Live: Barefoot at the Symphony" (2012 Solo Album)

The most essential Idina Menzel album must be her 2012 concert recording, "Live: Barefoot At The Symphony" in that it's her only solo disc to concentrate on showtunes, including specifically several from musicals in which she has starred. On one album, we get "Defying Gravity" and "For Good" from Wicked, "No Day But Today" from Rent, "Life Of The Party" from The Wild Party and "Heaven Help My Heart" from Chess (which she did in concert for TV with Josh Groban in 2008). We also get Menzel's takes on such classics as "Love For Sale," "Where Or When," "Tomorrow" and the title song from Funny Girl, combined with "Don't Rain On My Parade," introduced by a charming recounting of her experience performing it for Barbra Streisand at the diva's Kennedy Center Honors induction. Menzel manages to make the Streisand standard her own and is in appealing form throughout the set.