Album Remarks & Appraisals:
2014 may very well be the year of Idina Menzel. The multitalented actress and singer was thrust into the mainstream pop culture dialogue earlier this year with her performance of "Let it Go," the enormously popular song off 2013's Frozen soundtrack. The track not only won an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 2014, but has also remained at the top of the Billboard charts for months, selling millions of units worldwide.
Prior to her Frozen fame, Menzel was one of the biggest names on Broadway, rising to fame with a lead role in the original production of edgy 1990's musical Rent. Nearly 20 years later, having starred in the likes of Hair, Aida and If/Then, the multitalented actress and singer has received multiple Tony Award nominations, taking home a statue for Best Leading Actress in a Musical (2004) for her performance in Wicked. Menzel's talents, however, have taken her far beyond The Great White Way. As a singer, Menzel has released five solo albums since the late 1990s, including Live: Barefoot at the Symphony, while on the small screen, the tireless actress has become a regular on popular television series, Glee.
Live: Barefoot at the Symphony was filmed & recorded during Menzel's 2010-13 tour of the same name. This performance in particular was filmed in Toronto, Canada at the Royal Conservatory of Music, where Menzel was backed by the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony with the late, great conductor Marvin Hamlisch. This is the first time that the performance, which originally aired on PBS, will be available as a multi-disc, CD/DVD set.
Coming out just in time for the holidays, this collection will be a must-have for the multi-generational fans of Menzel's, and features some of the moved beloved songs in the history of Broadway, as well as pop tracks, such as Lady Gaga's "Poker Face" and The Police's "Roxanne."
Personnel: Andrew Doolittle (guitar); Rob Mounsey (piano); Craig MacIntyre (drums).
Audio Mixer: Elliot Scheiner.
Recording information: Koerner Hall, The Royal Conservatory, Toronto, Canada.
Photographer: Robin Wong.
Arranger: Rob Mounsey.
Stage, film, and television star Idina Menzel's Live: Barefoot at the Symphony, was recorded in Koerner Hall at the Royal Conservatory of Music headquarters in Toronto. Backed by the 52-piece Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony conducted by the legendary Marvin Hamlish, the 16-track set features some of Broadway's biggest hits. ~ James Christopher Monger