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Witch Is Her Best?

March 26, 2006 By:
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How best to describe Idina Menzel's relatively brief appearance in "Ask the Dust" but to call it … bewitching?

The Tony Award-winning star of "Wicked" has left her wicked wiles behind, but not the torment of what it means to be an outsider.

Outside of Broadway, she's become a hot property, too, in Hollywood, the locus of this "Day of the Locusts"-style feature film.

It wasn't easy being green on Broadway as the wicked witch of Oz, but it may be odder to be the discolored and depressed diversion of author Arturo (Colin Farrell) in "Dust."

As Vera Rifkin, she veers onto the self-destruct side of a rail-less life. But it would take more than a pail of water to douse her impressions as the jaded Jewish anti-ingenue.

And like Elphaba the evil on Broadway, there is a certain "meltification" about this actress, whose audiences may be awash in tears after she leaves the screen.

Not bad for an erstwhile Bat Mitzvah band singer who once played the Four Seasons in Center City.

But that was … seasons ago. The seasoned star - still rocking at 34 with her own CDs and bands - doesn't need any one part to pay the rent since starring in that original production on Broadway (and movie version), and scooping up a Tony in "Wicked."

Life is very much a revved up 2006 supermodel broomstick - hey, the still down-to-earth and menschedick Menzel isn't about to sweep away the character who drove her to power and brought her to the party.

Witch medium serves her best? The stage or the movies? Maybe the magic dust of "Dust" is in the melding.

But the Long Island native with the gentle-sounding name - Idina is Hebrew for "gentle" (named after her grandmother) - is a must-see tease for Oscar-watchers who like to say "I told you so" a year early.

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