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Q&A With Idina Menzel

The actress and singer talks about her new movie, 'Frozen,' plus food, fitness, and family.

continued...

"You eat those M&M'S, you'll see them on your derriere."

When you're trying to lose 5 pounds, what's the first thing that goes and why?

"First is soda like Diet Coke or ginger ale. I want to avoid sugar, too, so even though I try to have natural sodas, they're not really that much better when made with cane sugar."

What's the first thing you add and why?

"Chocolate."

What cause is near and dear to you?

"It's the foundation and performing arts camp I created in 2010, A BroaderWay. My husband and I started it with close friends from college. We invite inner-city girls to the Berkshire Mountains in the country, and they sing and dance and swim for 10 days. Then we have a concert that includes their poetry, lyrics, thoughts, and feelings. It's held in New York City for their friends and family.

"This is our third summer, and we want to expand and grow, even though we've gotten great advice about 'going slowly.' We're having the same 30 girls who started with us when they were 12 and they're turning 14, plus we're bringing in 15 10-year-old girls this year. We want this to be a 4-year program. The emphasis is on building self-esteem, developing leadership qualities, and striving for personal and social achievement."

Tell us more about the new movie and the show.

"I'm so excited about playing a Walt Disney Animation Studios character for the first time in Frozen. Her name is Elsa, the Snow Queen, and she's blond. The release date is Nov. 27.

"Then we're putting up a new Broadway show that's been developed for me during the past couple of years.  It's called, If/Then. We open Nov. 5 in Washington, D.C., without all the critics. Then we begin previews on March 4 in New York. I'm playing Elizabeth, who's turning 40 and starting over, moving back to New York City and making new choices as she experiences a collision of chance and choice -- it's about fate.

"I love the process of being in the room with composers when they're developing a show. I'm reuniting with my director from Rent, Michael Greif, my producer from Wicked, David Stone,and composer Tom Kitt and lyricist and book writer Brian Yorkey, both from the musical Next to Normal. It's so nice when they write a character around you, so a part of you is as organic as can be on stage."

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Reviewed on September 13, 2013

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