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Menzel: Songcraft, not witchcraft

Best known as Elphaba in “ Wicked,” Tony-winning Broadway star Idina Menzel is stepping off of the stage and hitting the road this summer to promote her debut album, “ I Stand.”

She'll do a show Monday, July 21, at the McGlohon Theatre as part of her 20-city tour.

Menzel wrote nine tracks for “I Stand,” which was produced by Grammy winner Glen Ballard and released by Warner Bros.

The album is filled with ballads and pop songs that showcase Menzel's voice outside of the musical theater genre. I spoke with Menzel briefly about her new status as a singer:

How difficult is it to sing a song that you wrote yourself? On the one hand, there is a sense of vulnerability that comes with singing your own music because you're putting your own thoughts and your own stories out there for people to pass judgment on. On the other hand, there's a real sense of creative freedom. I can sing them however I want and develop them.

Is it intimidating to be on stage without the cover of a costume or character? As a performer you're always putting yourself out there whether you're in character or not. I always find a connection between myself and my character. I just feel that it's a vulnerable place to be as a performer in the first place; to get up there and be open enough is a scary place to be.

What should people expect from your shows, and is there any choreography involved? The shows will be very organic, very spontaneous. There will be lots of songs from my album, a couple songs from the theater that we reworked and some cover tunes. … The song lineup is not going to be the same every time. But I will definitely not be dancing. I'm not a great dancer in the first place.

Do you prefer theater or singing more? Singing is something I love to do, and I'll keep writing music and touring. But simultaneously I'm developing new shows for the stage. I just want to do everything that feels good and to do work that I respect. I like vacillating between the two genres. I think it keeps me fresh.