Idina Menzel won her first Tony Award for Best Actress as Elphaba in Broadway’s hit musical Wicked, but she came perilously close to not landing the role after she “flopped” during her audition, she reveals in a new interview.
Menzel won Broadway’s top award in 2004.
She was a seasoned stage actress when she auditioned for the part and said she learned an important lesson from the ordeal.
She’s capable of flopping just like anyone else in an audition. She says she failed to hit the high notes while performing “Defying Gravity,” a song in the Stephen Schwartz musical.
“I learned ‘Defying Gravity’ and I was so excited to do it because I just fell in love with the song, and it would make me cry at home all the time,” she tells Vogue magazine.
“I practiced the really high note, and I got to that part, where you go, ‘You won’t bring me down’ and I was singing beautifully the whole time, then I got to, ‘You won’t bring me,’ and I choked,” she adds.
Menzel, 46, is most often described as a mezzo soprano with a loud, booming voice.
“I just said the F word so loud at the top of my lungs, and I looked at the accompanist, like ‘Don’t you start to play on or cut me off,’ and then I took a deep breath and I went: ‘Me.’ And I just nailed it!”
Musical’s director Joe Mantello was sold on her performance despite the flub and she got the part.
“He thought I was so evil and witchy,” she tells the magazine.
Menzel’s breakout role came in 1995 when she appeared in the original production of the Broadway musical Rent. She won a Tony nomination for the award.
She reprised her role in the 2005 movie version of Rent and also starred for four years in the television musical show “Glee.”