Marvin Hamlisch & Idina Menzel in concert


With the Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Sunday, July 8 at 5pm

At Ravinia Festival

A mixed bag with Marvin Hamlisch and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Broadway star Idina Menzel

A large crowd including  a filled Pavilion and a large gathering on the lawn greeted Composer Marvin Hamlish who conducted  the CSO doing  a long medley from his A Chorus Line and The Way We Were. Hearing the CSo perform A Chorus Line and a long tribute to My Fair Lady was a special treat. This set lasted 40 minutes.

After a 2o minute intermission. Broadway star Idina Menzel took over the concert and she proceeded to instigate a disaster. Menzel announced with a few F-word bombs that she  was suffering from a nasty cold so I was wondering why see rambled on for 5-10 minutes between songs saying things over and over again while pacing back and forth on the stage? Menzel sure seemed ill at ease despite being on the road doing concerts for sometime. She is in need of a director to organize her concerts and one to write a few bits for her.

When she sang, she sounded like she always does exuding the exact style of Broadway pop/rock that is her trade mark.  Her song book has Rent and Wicked songs. She also sang Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides, Now.”  My problem with Menzel’s style lies in her lack of articulation in expressing lyrics. But, her rambling for over 2 hours without saying much and her going into the audience and allowing 4-5 people to sing Wicked or Rent tunes turned her concert into a crude karaoke show. This lasted about 20 minutes. Folks came to hear Idina  Menzel  not some want-to-be audience member.  I think Menzel tried too hard to please and she wasn’t structured enough to keep the show moving. After over 2 hours, she kept doing more songs despite the audience leaving by the hundreds. Menzel needs to get her act together literally. More songs , less talking and no more audience participation. You would think that since she was sick, she’d do her show and then get some rest?

Somewhat Recommended

Tom Williams

Date Reviewed: July 8, 2012