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Idina Menzel to star in new stage musical REDWOOD at La Jolla

Idina Menzel to star in new stage musical REDWOOD at La Jolla

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jacobsnchz14
#1Idina Menzel to star in new stage musical REDWOOD at La Jolla
Posted: 1/12/23 at 10:09am

Idina Menzel is making her way back to the stage.

The Tony winner will star in “Redwood,” a musical she first began developing almost 20 years ago, which will premiere as the final production of the 2023-2024 season of the La Jolla Playhouse. Directed by Tina Landau, who also wrote the book, the show tells the story of Jesse (Menzel), a woman who leaves the big city for a cross-country trip to Northern California. She finds unexpected connections and healing among the Redwoods.

Menzel initially conceived the show as a bio-musical about Julia Butterfly Hill, an environmental activist famous for living in a redwood for more than two years in the late ‘90s to prevent loggers from cutting it down. Menzel approached Landau two decades ago about collaborating on the project.

The new story is inspired by experiences that both Menzel and Landau have lived through over the years since they first met. “I subscribe to this feeling very often in my life of wanting to just escape,” Menzel told Variety in a joint interview with Landau on Wednesday. “I’m more of a recluse than people think I am… I definitely grapple with that a lot in my life, just like, ‘Can I just put it all down and leave and do something different?’”

With music by Kate Diaz and lyrics by Diaz and Landau, Menzel said, “What’s so exciting working with Tina is that she definitely knows how — and she’s guiding Kate in this as well — to write for me, but also how to challenge me and to put me in places that are not formulaic or not my typical go-to. It’s opening my vernacular and forcing me to find new colors and places in my voice that I think are just fun, and have different emotional connections for me to the character and hopefully open up different chakras, if you will, for other people when they’re listening.”

In some aspects, “Redwood” will be an interactive experience for the audience. “The design is not really a set as so much as it’s going to be making use of some really exciting, cutting-edge multimedia interactive technology that’s never been used in the American musical theater before,” Landau said. She also explained that it was quarantine in the early days of the pandemic that finally gave her the time to sit down to concentrate and work on writing the show.

https://variety.com/2023/legit/columns/idina-menzel-redwood-la-jolla-playhouse-1235486700/

Updated On: 1/12/23 at 10:09 AM

jkcohen626 Profile Photo
jkcohen626
#2Idina Menzel to star in new stage musical REDWOOD at La Jolla
Posted: 1/12/23 at 3:59pm

This sounds like a perfect part for Idina! A woman whose mid-life crisis is a cross-country road trip to see Redwoods is exactly her vibe. 

BETTY22
#3Idina Menzel to star in new stage musical REDWOOD at La Jolla
Posted: 1/12/23 at 4:26pm

I love these stories about never giving up. 20-years........this is inspiring. 

It is never too late. 

inception Profile Photo
inception
#4Idina Menzel to star in new stage musical REDWOOD at La Jolla
Posted: 11/14/23 at 6:55pm

Got email notification today that single seats went on sale today.  I got tickets for a couple nights for my planned trip to LA/ San Diego.  It has been extended until March 31. Some early dates already sold out, and many dates showing as limited seats remaining. Hopefully nothing comes up at work to wreck my plans. Also, I sure hope it is good. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Edit: sorry didn't see the other tread


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Updated On: 11/14/23 at 06:55 PM

Sutton Ross Profile Photo
Sutton Ross
#5Idina Menzel to star in new stage musical REDWOOD at La Jolla
Posted: 11/14/23 at 8:18pm

I'm getting a very Men in Trees vibe....

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veronicamae
#6Idina Menzel to star in new stage musical REDWOOD at La Jolla
Posted: 11/15/23 at 12:37pm

Relocating my comment to this thread as it has the clearer title:

I went to a reading of this last month and while I am definitely biased, it was a stunning piece of work.

I also googled Men In Trees - not entirely sure if I would agree that it has those vibes, but maybe on the edges. I recommend looking up Julia "Butterfly" Hill, which served as Idina's inspiration/source material for this ages ago. She wrote this song about Hill back in 2009.

 

jacobsnchz14 Profile Photo
jacobsnchz14
#7Idina Menzel to star in new stage musical REDWOOD at La Jolla
Posted: 1/5/24 at 3:16pm

https://www.broadwayworld.com/article/DeAdre-Aziza-Zachary-Noah-Piser-More-Join-Idina-Menzel-Led-REDWOOD-at-La-Jolla-Playhouse-20240105

In addition to Idina Menzel in the role of “Jesse,” the cast features De’Adre Aziza as “Mel,” Nkeki Obi-Melekwe as “Becca,” Michael Park as “Finn,” and Zachary Noah Piser as “Spencer,” along with understudies Giovanny Diaz de Leon and Lance Arthur Smith.

The Redwood creative team includes Kimberly Grigsby, Music Supervisor; Haley Bennett, Music Director; Jason Ardizzone-West, Scenic Designer; Toni-Leslie James, Costume Designer; Scott Zielinski, Lighting Designer; Jonathan Deans, Sound Designer; Hana S. Kim, Media Designer; Melecio Estrella, BANDALOOP: Vertical Movement and Staging; The Telsey Office, Patrick Goodwin, CSA/Jacole Kitchen, Casting; Lora K. Powell, Stage Manager; Topaz Cooks, Assistant Stage Manager.

EDSOSLO858 Profile Photo
EDSOSLO858
#8Idina Menzel to star in new stage musical REDWOOD at La Jolla
Posted: 1/5/24 at 3:23pm

Solid cast. 

And FYI, Haley has said she is returning to & Juliet after this run concludes. The show’s original music director, Dominic Fallacaro, is now working on Hell’s Kitchen


Life is the most precious gift in the world... embrace every moment

jacobsnchz14 Profile Photo
jacobsnchz14
#9Idina Menzel to star in new stage musical REDWOOD at La Jolla
Posted: 2/13/24 at 10:40am

https://www.playbill.com/article/idina-menzel-stars-in-world-premiere-of-redwood-musical-beginning-february-13

The La Jolla Playhouse world premiere of the new musical Redwood plays the Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre February 13-March 31. Tony nominee Tina Landau, who penned the book and co-wrote the lyrics, also directs.

Wicked Tony winner Idina Menzel—who conceived the project with director Landau—heads the cast in the role of Jesse, joined by Tony nominee De'Adre Aziza (Passing Strange) as Mel, Nkeki Obi-Melekwe (Tina) as Becca, Michael Park (Dear Evan Hansen) as Finn, and Zachary Noah Piser (Dear Evan Hansen) as Spencer, along with understudies Giovanny Diaz de Leon, Lance Arthur Smith, and Aja Simone Baitey.

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veronicamae
#10Idina Menzel to star in new stage musical REDWOOD at La Jolla
Posted: 2/13/24 at 1:29pm

Can't wait to see what the first audiences think!

I'm going next weekend.

inception Profile Photo
inception
#11Idina Menzel to star in new stage musical REDWOOD at La Jolla
Posted: 2/13/24 at 7:07pm

I will be down in San Diego in 3 weeks.  I don't suppose anyone has yet seen the version of The Age of  Innocence now playing at the Old Globe?


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emo_geek Profile Photo
emo_geek
#12Idina Menzel to star in new stage musical REDWOOD at La Jolla
Posted: 2/16/24 at 8:44pm

Has anyone seen it yet? I have closing night tickets and I can't wait to hear what people think.


"I never had theatre producers run after me. Some people want to make more Broadway shows out of movies. But Elliot and I aren't going to do Batman: The Musical." - Julie Taymor 1999
Updated On: 2/16/24 at 08:44 PM

bruzson
#13Idina Menzel to star in new stage musical REDWOOD at La Jolla
Posted: 2/16/24 at 9:51pm

We are subcribers but won't see it til March.   THey sent us the digital program however and it talks about the aerial tree climbers in the show.  It's in their black box theater so that must allow for unusual staging.

veronicamae Profile Photo
veronicamae
#14Idina Menzel to star in new stage musical REDWOOD at La Jolla
Posted: 2/16/24 at 10:10pm

This video was shared today - Idina and Tina Landau discussing (and showing) how Idina learned to climb trees and rappel down walls.

inception Profile Photo
inception
#15Idina Menzel to star in new stage musical REDWOOD at La Jolla
Posted: 2/17/24 at 3:15am

I wonder what Ethel Merman would have said if she had been asked to climb a tree or rappel down a building in preparation for a show?


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Updated On: 2/17/24 at 03:15 AM

emo_geek Profile Photo
emo_geek
#16Idina Menzel to star in new stage musical REDWOOD at La Jolla
Posted: 2/17/24 at 5:38pm

Any recommendations for where to have dinner before the show? 


"I never had theatre producers run after me. Some people want to make more Broadway shows out of movies. But Elliot and I aren't going to do Batman: The Musical." - Julie Taymor 1999

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CarlosAlberto
#17Idina Menzel to star in new stage musical REDWOOD at La Jolla
Posted: 2/17/24 at 6:25pm

inception said: "I wonder what Ethel Merman would have said ifshe had been asked to climb a tree or rappel down a building in preparation for a show?"

If the role guaranteed her a Tony she would have climbed that tree faster than a squirrel....

bruzson
#18Idina Menzel to star in new stage musical REDWOOD at La Jolla
Posted: 2/17/24 at 7:33pm

Limited as you are on a university campus. The restaurant at the theater is fine but a little pricey.  There is a strip mall you could drive to in 5 minutes with a few choices or the UTC mall, 10 minutes away which is beautiful and has excellent restaurant choices

rg7759
#19Idina Menzel to star in new stage musical REDWOOD at La Jolla
Posted: 2/18/24 at 9:21pm

People are on this board because we're anxiously awaiting the first reviews of the show, and we're being forced to sift through reviews of a nearby strip mall.

inception Profile Photo
inception
#20Idina Menzel to star in new stage musical REDWOOD at La Jolla
Posted: 2/18/24 at 10:22pm

I thought it was good info.  I've never been to La Jolla before.  In so many places where the theatres are located are far from other services.  In June when I saw Patti Lupone at Stanford it was the same situation - a college campus with the closest restaurants at a strip mall a 10-15 minute walk away.


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Updated On: 2/18/24 at 10:22 PM

Broadway Flash Profile Photo
Broadway Flash
#21Idina Menzel to star in new stage musical REDWOOD at La Jolla
Posted: 2/19/24 at 12:45pm

Michael park said he has to climb trees in the show and that it’s so physically demanding 

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Highland Guy
#22Idina Menzel to star in new stage musical REDWOOD at La Jolla
Posted: 2/19/24 at 1:02pm

rg7759 said: "People are on this board because we're anxiously awaiting the first reviews of the show, and we're being forced to sift through reviews of a nearby strip mall."

You're not being "forced" to do anything.


Non sibi sed patriae
Updated On: 2/19/24 at 01:02 PM

bruzson
#23Idina Menzel to star in new stage musical REDWOOD at La Jolla
Posted: 2/19/24 at 1:18pm

For whatever it's worth, we bought some tix for yesterday's matinee for some friends.  The only reponse I got from them was 'great show', and they're in their 70s and have seen a lot.  So that is promising and if I get more details I'll pass them along.

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veronicamae
#24Idina Menzel to star in new stage musical REDWOOD at La Jolla
Posted: 2/19/24 at 1:35pm

Broadway Flash said: "Michael park said he has to climb trees in the show and that it’s so physically demanding"

Makes sense given on the video of Idina learning how to climb trees.

As I mentioned back in November, I've already seen a presentation, but I am very excited to see it staged/choreographed! Counting down the days.

The music is wonderful and feels cinematic. Kate Diaz, the composer, is not a theater composer - she's scored TV, trailers, and a video game (did the theme for Fortnite) - so it doesn't sound like traditional musical theater; it's very modern, but not in the 'mainstream pop' way that such a moniker might evoke. She's also very young which is as impressive as it is refreshing.

 

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BroadwayBaby6
#25Idina Menzel to star in new stage musical REDWOOD at La Jolla
Posted: 2/19/24 at 2:30pm

I saw the shows in previews. It's a mixed bag. The creative staging and the cast are all wonderful. Idina does not disappoint. The show's book is well written and moving. The music is monotonous and lacks melody but it is beautifully orchestrated. I can definitely see this show going off-Broadway. It has a small cast, a small band and easily replicated sets.


"It does what a musical is supposed to do; it takes you to another world. And it gives you a little tune to carry in your head. Something to take you away from the dreary horrors of the real world. A little something for when you're feeling blue. You know?"


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