PASADENA, Calif. >> Idina Menzel prefers creating roles rather than following in someone else’s footsteps. Yet when it came to a remake of “Beaches,” the Broadway veteran couldn’t turn it down.
Menzel tackles the role played by Bette Midler in the 1988 theatrical film for the Lifetime TV version co-starring Nia Long that airs Jan. 21. She also recorded Midler’s No. 1 hit from the movie “Wing Beneath My Wings,” a 1990 Grammy Award winner.
“I have been singing this song my whole life, ever since I was a wedding singer and bar mitzvah singer,” she told a television critics gathering on Jan. 13. “Every single 13-year-old boy danced with his mother to ‘Wind Beneath My Wings.’ I was trying to find my own spin on it.”
Menzel first gained fame for Tony-nominated roles she originated in “Rent” and “Wicked,” for which she won a best-actress Tony. After leaving those shows, Menzel was replaced by other actresses.
“I have learned that the show goes on without you; that people are very talented, and that if something is written beautifully, you can be great, but there’s always somebody right there that’s just as good,” she said. “Sometimes that’s hard for me.”