Music ReviewsREVIEWSTom Williams

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

5 thoughts on “Marvin Hamlisch & Idina Menzel in concert

  • GlendaKing

    Totally agree! I never leave a concert before it is over, but she’s lost it! She’s a has been. I think her “sick” excuse is just that! She can’t hit the high notes anymore and is making up excuses. Hamlisch was great. He has to be embarrassed to be on the same stage as Menzel! Sorry I spent $97 to see this disaster. At least dinner at the Mirabelle was good!

  • I checked the Internet for reviews of Ms. Menzel’s performance in Chicago out of curiosity. I attended Ms. Menzel’s concert in Minneapolis on Saturday evening. It was obviously the same disappointing show. And curiously our local paper gave her a good review. I’m so relieved Mr. Williams got it right. Her weekend performances should have been canceled and rescheduled until she was able to perform at her best. I spent $250 to see that disaster in Minneapolis where she sang about 6 songs over 90 minutes and popped cold medicine. I’m a mental health provider I felt as if I was at work watching someone ramble and pop pills.

    I would have loved to have seen Mr. Hamlisch and the Chicago Symphony at least the evening would have had one highlight.

  • Glenjamin

    I saw the show on Sunday. It was my first time seeing her live so I didn’t know what to expect. Since she announced she was not feeling well at the start, I cut her some slack. I found her to be genuine, funny, a bit of a potty mouth, and mostly, a talented performer. Yes, the audience participation was a bit inappropriate, and a bit too long, but a lot of it was down right enjoyable. If I just wanted hear her sing, I would not have bothered with that god-awful traffic of getting out to Ravinia, and just put on a CD. I wanted to see her personality. I think the illness brought out her vulnerability. I found it truly moving. I am glad I went.

  • As someone who has seen Idina Menzel perform 4 times in the last 4 years, I can assure you she hasn’t lost it and she isn’t a has been. If she had canceled because she was sick, I’m sure you would have been complaining about that. Idina fans love her for her rambling style, f-bombs and interaction with the audience. If her singing For Good didn’t touch your heart and Defying Gravity didn’t thrill you, you definitely bought tickets for the wrong concert. Don’t blame a performer who is just doing her thing because it isn’t your thing. I will be seeing her again three weeks from today and I can’t wait. I’m hoping she isn’t sick, but I’ve seen her perform with a cold and I would take that over most other singers any day.

  • Maestra4

    That was my first and last time attending Idina’s concert.
    I was appalled that at 5pm Sunday show (w/tons of children
    In the audience), Idina was going on and on with
    swearing…in spite of hints by Hamlisch. And I found it truly
    Disturbing that many guests approved of that kind of behavior.
    I’m sorry, but her talent, fame, and money shouldn’t excuse such
    low and disrespectful (although cool in her perception, I’m sure)

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