Just hours before the second episode of “Glee’s” second season hits the airwaves, Zap2it talked with Idina Menzel, who returns Tuesday (Sept. 27) as Shelby Corcoran, erstwhile Vocal Adrenalin coach, Rachel’s (Lea Michele’s) birth mother and adoptive mother of Quinn’s (Dianna Agron’s) baby.
Without giving away too much, let’s just say Menzel will be around McKinley High for a while since she’s signed on as a teacher. In Tuesday’s episode — “I Am Unicorn” — she sings a heart-wrenching duet of “West Side Story’s” “Somewhere” with Rachel and does her best to blend in although (as will be made clear in the episode) she’s bound to shake things up a bit.
Outside of “Glee,” Menzel is keeping busy with a tour — she’ll be playing Los Angeles’ Greek Theater on Oct. 22 and is flying to London later this week for a symphony-accompanied show at the Royal Albert Hall.
Some excerpts from our spoiler-free interview:
Do you have some idea of where your character ends up at the end of this season?
Idina Menzel: “I have no idea. Are you kidding? I barely have any idea what my character is doing in the next episode. But there are good vibes on the set, everybody’s working well together.”
Quinn may be waffling on her decision to give up her baby, Beth. That’s serious stuff, eh?
“As a mother, I can’t imagine having done what I did to Lea’s character. You learn that you can’t judge your own characters. They may have similarities to who we are. I’m just happy to be doing a really great story line and working with so many different characters on the show.”
Any songs you’re just dying to sing on “Glee”?
I was telling Ryan Murphy I would love to bring back some classic Whitney Houston. Several of her songs I would love to try to do justice to. Also Olita Adams, “Get Here.” It’s one of my favorite songs.
What about show tunes?
“They’ve done “Rent,” “Wicked” and are touching on “West Side Story” — there’s some Sondheim we could do. The truth is that that’s what is really terrific about the show. It’s really, I think, educating the audiences on what goes into the life of someone who has an 8-shows-a-week kind of life. It’s not the theater, but they can see how much work these kids are doing.”
Who does your character identify with more: Rachel or Quinn?
“Rachel’s my daughter, but Quinn’s more of a bada**. The person who wants to be a star in me is obviously passed on in Rachel, but there’s a real regret in the character for giving up her child so she’s going to have a lot in common with Quinn and that anger and resentment.”
There was talk earlier this year of you having your own show in development at ABC. Is that still on the table?
“Yes, absolutely, but it’s been put on hold now. It’s sort of based on my own experience as a wedding singer when I was 15-16 years old and the idea that I never got out of there and that’s what I kept doing. But right now I’m trying to focus on my son and ‘Glee.'”