Last year’s Super Bowl had a fair amount of Jewish highlights, what with the Seinfeld reunion, quarter-Jewish halftime performer Bruno Mars, the Mandy Patinkin-narrated commercial, plus that whole SodaStream thing. But this year promises something even more exciting: Idina Menzel singing the national anthem.
The Tony Award-winning Broadway star and powerhouse soprano behind the catchiest song of the year, Frozen’s smash hit “Let It Go,” is perhaps best-known as Adele Dazeem, which is how John Travolta pronounced her name while introducing her performance of the song at the Grammy Awards (it won; Travolta didn’t). The bizarre incident put Menzel, long a revered theater world staple, on the pop culture map. Plus, the wild success of Frozen, and “Let it Go” in particular, means that every child and teenager across America, and their parents, know exactly who Menzel is.
It’s a smart choice, and an exciting one. As Rachel Shukert pointed out after Travolta-gate, “For nearly 20 years, Idina Menzel has been poised to become the next big-haired, big-faced, gutsy, Midler-esque star,” but for some reason it never really happened. (“Always a Dazeem, never a Streisand,” Shukert lamented.) If the uber mainstream, high-profile Super Bowl gig is any indication, that’s already changed.
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Related: Why Didn’t John Travolta Know Who Idina Menzel Is?
Stephanie Butnick is deputy editor of Tablet Magazine and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.