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Idina Menzel on 'Frozen''s Elsa, 'Wicked''s Elphaba, and the power of her voice
Does the actress see these reimaginings of classic tales as important?
Is participating in an animated film more difficult than taking part in a live action one? It certainly limits the way that an actor or actress can express themselves, but when we spoke to Idina Menzel about voicing Elsa in Disney's "Frozen," she suggested that in her case it wasn't more difficult to carry ideas and emotions solely through her voice at all. "I'm a singer, so it's not foreign to me. It's the way I communicate in life, it's the way I feel most myself." In fact, Menzel added that "It's the face and the body and the thing that we hide inside that can keep us from the world, but my voice is my voice."
Elsa in "Frozen" is a misunderstood Princess, a character with a scary power that she can't fully control and which causes those around her no end of fear. On the face of it, it sounds a little like the character for which Idina Menzel may be best known, Elphaba in "Wicked."
Did the actress find them similar? To some extent. "They're both quite misunderstood and very powerful characters. To me, they're very different but I do see a pattern." She then went on to suggest that a takeaway message for her, as an actress, is that she needs to look at "that idea of really owning my own power, talent, beauty, whatever those things are that are so hard for us as women—as people…" Clearly that is something that both Elphaba and Elsa could do better.
It isn't just the characters in "Wicked" and "Frozen" which may have some sort of similarity though, both tales are updates (or reimaginings) of older stories, "Wicked" being a play on "The Wizard of Oz," and "Frozen" having its roots in Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen." Is going back to these older tales and updating them important? Menzel answered by saying that she loves "That exercise of reestablishing what the commonality is, or the experiences are, of the day. " She closed the thought with the notion that going back and looking at these characters and stories differently serves as "a reminder to us that we need to always be searching and not settling for the outside, that's there always something you need to seek – a deeper truth in people, that there's always two sides to the story."
"Frozen" is currently in theaters across the country. Are you going to be heading out this holiday weekend to see what this update of the classic fairy tale?