Glee star Idina Menzel was the star of the 16th annual Symphony at Salk on Saturday evening, where she showed off her vocal prowess to a thrilled San Diego crowd sitting outside under the night sky.
The event is an annual fundraising event set at the Salk Institute, across the way from UC San Diego in La Jolla. This year’s fundraising dinner and concert featured the Tony-award winning vocalist, Idina Menzel, who was accompanied by the San Diego Symphony, which was conducted by Maestro Thomas Wilkins. While Idina was primarily known for her iconic roles in the Brodway hits Rent and Wicked, that fame has been superceded by a recurring guest role in the megahit show Glee.
The Symphony at Salk began with an afternoon champagne reception. As the sun began to set, patrons were ushered into the Theodore Gildred Courtyard, where they were seated for dinner prepared by the chef Jeffery Strauss of Pamplemousse. Just as the sun faded over La Jolla horizon and the stars started to peek out, the evening program began with an ovation for Idina Menzel, who graced the staged in a glowing chartreuse dress.
Idina’s set covered everything from Broadway show tunes -- including "Don't Rain on My Parade" and "Funny Girl" --to original songs to some unexpected covers like the Police's "Roxanne" and Lady Gaga's "Pokerface."
During a brief intermission, a video explaining the importance of the Salk Institute’s research into the roles that cell biology and genetics, and plants, play in combating diseases was shown, then Idina returned and reprised songs from her Broadway roles, notably her powerful rendition of Rent's "No Day but Today," and "Defying Gravity," from Wicked.
Idina closed with an encore of "Tomorrow" (from Annie) before accepting roses from Qualcomm founder Irwin Jacobs, all while the crowd delivered a standing ovation.