I still remember the first time I officially met Idina Menzel like it was yesterday. It was the final round of callbacks for Wicked and there was one more Elphaba candidate left to see. Everyone was excited about this one, they had all, of course, seen her audition before, but this was my first time seeing what they saw.
I felt it as soon as she walked through the door. I was drawn to her fully and completely the moment I locked eyes with her. My heart started racing and I couldn't take my eyes off of her. After the introductions and quick chat with the creators and producers she started singing the song from the show they had asked her to prepare. The big Act 1 finale.
The sound that came out of her was unlike anything I had ever heard before. She'd been so soft spoken when she arrived that when she unleashed her big powerful voice on the room it was hard to comprehend that it was coming from her. Even when she messed up, her voice was clear and clean and seemed to fit the song perfectly. She had a fire inside her that didn't go unnoticed.
But it wasn't her voice that sealed the deal for me. Yes, it was fantastic and reduced me to tears every time I heard it after that day. It was everything else. Her thousand watt smile that seemed to light up the room. The mischievous sparkle in her one-of-a-kind gorgeous green eyes. The passion she had for her work and the people around her. She truly loved what she did and it made her radiant.
As I read from the script with her I couldn't help but be overwhelmed by her compassion and intensity, as well as admire her gentle nature that shined just as bright, as her words seemed to leap out at me from the page I was reading from. I sat in awe as I watched her completely and flawlessly embody this complicated character. She made it look easy.
When we finished the scene we sat in silence together for a moment until she looked straight into my eyes, staring into my soul, and smiled the sweetest most genuine smile I'd ever seen. We were interrupted by those I had forgotten were in the room as they explained to her what would happen next. With that her audition was over and she was gone. I melted. I was rendered speechless and couldn't process anything other than the fact that she had piercing green eyes.
When I was asked my opinion after she had left the only coherent thought I could find in the mess she had left me in was "yes". I still wonder, to this day, how a person in this industry can be so honest and open in everything they do. That was the moment I knew. Nothing I would experience after that day would be quite as magical as this. I knew it with everything I had, everything I believed in.
She was it.
She was the one.
My partner in crime on this crazy journey.
My new best friend.