×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Power of Women NY Honoree: Idina Menzel

Summer camp was always a magical time for future Broadway star Idina Menzel. “I loved being able to reinvent myself during the summer, and not be judged by the same group of kids I saw in school,” she says. So when she grew up and found success as an artist, Menzel regularly talked about finding a way to make that opportunity available to other girls. Fortunately, she talked about it with her college pal Heather Zuckerman, a “type-A business person,” who eventually said, “I’m done talking about this, let’s do it.”

Fast forward to 2010, and the inaugural summer camp of A Broader Way, which Menzel founded with her husband, Taye Diggs, (from whom she is separated). The organization takes a small group of girls from urban communities out to the Berkshires and gives them a place to express themselves, and learn self-confidence through performance. Menzel and other stage veterans are also there with the girls during the camp’s 10-day program, working on songs, poems, writing and stagecraft.

“There’s a beautiful intimacy about the camp,” she says. “The counselors perform that first night, to show the girls they can make themselves vulnerable.” And by the end of the 10 days, the campers themselves are prepared for a performance staged for their parents.

This is not a performing arts camp; Menzel says they take everyone who auditions. For now, finances mean the group still has to remain small — they started with 30 girls and have worked up to just about double that, with a lot of repeat campers. But there are big plans to hopefully expand to other cities in the coming years.

“It’s about using the arts to help girls find their own voice,” says Menzel. “There’s a lot of young women who don’t know how to use their voice literally and figuratively. These girls get to be the authors of their own life.”

More Legit

  • Ali Stroker Oklahoma

    Ali Stroker on 'Oklahoma!': 'This Show Doesn’t Follow the Rules and That Is So Who I Am'

    Ali Stroker is no stranger to rewriting history. With her 2015 Broadway debut in “Spring Awakening,” she became the first actor in a wheelchair to perform on the Great White Way. Three years later, she’s back onstage in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma!” as Ado Annie, the flirtatious local who splits her affections between a resident [...]

  • Hadestown Broadway

    'Hadestown': Inside the Musical's 12-Year Odyssey to Broadway

    “Hadestown’s” 12-year journey to Broadway was an odyssey in its own right.  Singer-songwriter Anaïs Mitchell’s buzzy musical, a folk-operatic retelling of the Greek myth of Orpheus, a musician who ventures to the underworld to rescue his fiancée, Eurydice, was in development for more than a decade before arriving on the New York stage. The show [...]

  • Elaine May in The Waverly Gallery

    Playwright Kenneth Lonergan on the Genius of His 'Waverly Gallery' Star Elaine May

    When Elaine May agreed to be in my play, “The Waverly Gallery,” naturally I was ecstatic. I had admired her as a director, writer, actor and sketch comedian since high school, when my friend Patsy Broderick made me listen to the album “Nichols and May Examine Doctors.” I didn’t know then that I had already seen Elaine’s [...]

  • Lisbeth R Barron Investment Banker

    Investment Banker Lisbeth R. Barron on How She Became a Broadway Deal Specialist

    If you want to get a deal done on Broadway, call Lisbeth R. Barron. Barron is a veteran investment banker who launched her own shingle, Barron Intl. Group, in 2015. She has brokered a slew of deals throughout her career — which has included stops at S.G. Warburg and Bear Stearns — involving companies and [...]

  • The Lion King Frozen Disney on

    Disney Theatrical Celebrates 25 Years on Broadway

    The Disney brand is known worldwide for its family-friendly entertainment with a flair for magic, music and spectacle, but when its adaptation of “Beauty and the Beast” hit Broadway in 1994, success wasn’t guaranteed. Variety’s positive review by Jeremy Gerard noted, “It will almost certainly be met with varying levels of derision by Broadway traditionalists.” [...]

  • The Prom Broadway

    'The Prom': How the Little Show That Could Found Its Way to the Tonys Dance

    Does a Broadway musical still count as an underdog if it’s got über-producer Ryan Murphy in its corner? It does if it’s “The Prom,” the labor of love from a team of Broadway veterans that’s carving out a place for itself as an original story on a street full of familiar titles and well-known brands. [...]

  • King Lead Broadway BTS Photo Essay

    Go Behind-the-Scenes of Broadway's 'King Lear' Starring Glenda Jackson

    Pedro Pascal lets out a shout of pure joy.  “Yes!” he exclaims, looking down at his text messages. “He did it.” It turns out that the “Game of Thrones” star’s younger brother has just been accepted into Juilliard, the prestigious performing arts conservatory. Pascal’s excitement temporarily halts this Tuesday dress rehearsal for a new Broadway [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content