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Who's Talking to Chris Wallace

Interview With Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-CA); Chris Wallace Talks To Idina Menzel. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired January 22, 2023 - 19:00   ET



NATASHA CHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Continue to go out and celebrate today -- Jim.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: All right, Natasha Chen, thank you very much.

A press conference coming up in about half an hour from now. Lots of questions to answer but one question overriding everything of course is, why? Why does this keep happening in America?

Reporting from Washington, I'm Jim Acosta. We'll keep following the latest on the mass shooting in Monterey Park, California, tonight. Pamela Brown takes over at 8:00 but first, a new edition of "WHO'S TALKING TO CHRIS WALLACE?" starts right now.


Tonight, one of the most powerful women in American history sits down for a candid conversation. Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi like you've never seen her, not only talking politics but opening up about her family, her future, and the secret to her success.


Is that part of your superpower, just be tough and more relentless?

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): Just get it done.


WALLACE: And later, the voice every "Frozen" fan knows. Broadway star Idina Menzel reveals the changed "Let It Go" that helped make it a hit, and the eight seconds of panic that changed her career.


IDINA MENZEL, ACTRESS AND SINGER: Oh, my god. Why is this happening to me? This was my dream come true to be at the Oscars. Get over yourself. Stop having a pity party. Oh, my god. Brad Pitt is there emceeing.

WALLACE: We have two things in common.

HUGH JACKMAN, ACTOR: Do I get a hint? GARTIN: I always find cooking really hard. I find it really stressful.

WALLACE: Do you feel your life is in danger?

TYLER PERRY, ACTOR: And the love of my mother is what brought me here.

WALLACE: What was the worst investment?

MARK CUBAN, BILLIONAIRE ENTREPRENEUR: There is a long list of really bad ones.



PELOSI: Today we have broken the marble ceiling.

ACOSTA (voice-over): For many, she's a political trail blazer.


WALLACE: The first and only woman to hold her job. Nancy Pelosi wielded the speaker's gavel not once but twice, hoping Democrats past sweeping legislation.

PELOSI: The motion is adopted.

WALLACE: But it was her famous clap backs to Donald Trump.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: Crazy Nancy Pelosi, she's a nutjob.

WALLACE: That turned her into a target for the former president and his MAGA supporters.


WALLACE: Now while she's still in Congress.

PELOSI: For maybe ours from a new generation.

WALLACE: Pelosi has given up the gavel. What does she think of the chaos across the aisle? We'll find out.


WALLACE: Nancy Pelosi, welcome. Thank you for doing this. It's a pleasure to talk to you again.

PELOSI: My pleasure. Thank you.

WALLACE: First of all, how are you doing? How are you enjoying life not being speaker anymore?

PELOSI: I'm enjoying it very much. I love music. I love sports. Most of all, I love family and friends.

WALLACE: Do you miss being the speaker at all?

PELOSI: No. I sometimes wonder why I don't, but I think that I have done my time. I loved it. It was a great honor. Imagine to be speaker of the House, second in line to the presidency, which of course would never happen but nonetheless, the prestige of it all. I love my members. I love the institution and to use a Hugh Jackman phrase -- I saw him at a play.

WALLACE: One of our prior guests.

PELOSI: He said, I want to leave while I'm in love.

WALLACE: OK. Speaking of speakers, I want to start with the spectacle we saw on the House floor couple of weeks ago. Republicans taking 15 votes to elect Kevin McCarthy speaker. Forget the partisanship. Republican versus Democrat. As a political pro watching that, what did you think?

PELOSI: Well, I was sad for the institution. They should have had their act together. They should have gotten it done. And it was sad. It was nothing to be amused by or laugh at or anything. It was sad for the institution.

WALLACE: So was it worth doing it? I mean, yes, it was kind of ugly and not particularly dignified but he did get elected speaker in the end.

PELOSI: Well, 15 times. I mean, that's kind of historic. I'd hope that he would get it done right from the start. What's the challenge? Let's figure this out. Let's get it done. And if not, let's move on to someone else.

WALLACE: I'm going to pick up on that. Your daughter Alexandra has done a fascinating documentary about you called "Pelosi in the House" which is running right now on HBO Max and in it she shows you rounding up votes back in 2018 to be elected speaker. Take a look.


PELOSI: I have a good feel for where the votes are in my caucus.

KELSEY L. SMITH, DIRECTOR OF SCHEDULING: Since the election, she has met in person with 67 members or members-elect.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So how do you get people's votes? Do you just break their knees and make them vote you?


PELOSI: No. I'm very respectful of people's views. So I want to hear what they are. I want to hear what people have to say. You count votes by listening.


WALLACE: So what would you have done if you were McCarthy and you got to the first day of the actual session, you know, you've gone through all of this stuff before, and you didn't have the votes?

PELOSI: Well, I would have had the votes. I knew I had the votes. I mean, I don't -- I had well over 200 votes in the caucus. Now I knew I would have the votes. It was never a question.

What happens, Chris, just so you know, is the press makes a big thing of opposition. You know, oh, so and so said this and so and so said that. But it is isn't as -- it's not as -- it may sell papers but it's not really the true picture of what is happening there.

WALLACE: McCarthy says that he is going to kick three Democrats off their committees. Here they are, Adam Schiff, Eric Swalwell, Ilhan Omar, and he says that you set the precedent because in the last session the Democrats kicked two Republicans, Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar, off their committees. Didn't you open the door to this?

PELOSI: No, but we set a precedent which I hope we will follow. If they have members, as they did, who threatened the security of our members on the committee, a danger to our members, threatening them, then they would go off the committee. So if they have that accusation about any of our members, let's hear what they have to say. It was clear that their members were a threat to our members. So this is about maintaining safety for our members. The fact that they want to take these people off the committee is philosophical.

WALLACE: During the long vote for speaker, millions of Americans were riveted by the action on the floor and they saw stuff they had never seen before as you can see up here on the screen now with the speaker talking to Matt Gaetz and then another pull back. I mean, it was fascinating stuff. The fact is, though, that normally, once the speaker is in charge, that C-SPAN is sharply limited in what it can show. It basically can show the speaker up on the podium. It can show whoever is talking, which member is talking in the well of the House.

There's been a push to change the rules to allow people to see what really is going on on the floor. Do you support that or not?

PELOSI: Well, it depends. I don't have any objection to transparency and the rest. And --

WALLACE: You didn't allow it when you were speaker.

PELOSI: But I don't -- I think it's supposed to be about following the procedure, the debate in the Congress and if there is more opportunity for that, fine. But I don't think it should be used as a tool against members. I saw you talking to so and so on the floor and this or that. That shouldn't be the case.

This was remarkable because when this was all going on, we have to remember, there were no rules in the House.

WALLACE: Right. Right.

PELOSI: Anything went, and sometimes they said terrible things on the Republican side but we couldn't challenge it because there were no rules on the House, and forgetting whether it's rules or not, for a potential speaker or anyone to go up to a member in that manner just does not bring dignity to the House of Representatives.

WALLACE: Let me see if I got this straight. Basically, you're saying you like the rules the way they are, follow the official proceedings if there is something going on in one of the aisles, you don't want that on TV?

PELOSI: Well, it depends on what it is. I don't know. I don't want it to curve the interparty action that might happen on the floor that might be positive. But by in large my view is more transparency the better.

WALLACE: We now have not one but two special counsels.


WALLACE: One investigating President Trump, former President Trump, one investigating current President Joe Biden for their handling of classified documents. Here is what you had to say about Donald Trump and his problems this summer. Take a look.


PELOSI: If the nature of this -- of these documents is what appears to be, this is very serious. Very serious.


WALLACE: Do you think that classified documents showing up in Joe Biden's office, home, six years after he was vice president, do you think that's also very serious?

PELOSI: Well, it depends on the nature of the documents. And what I said, as you were listening, was if the nature of these documents is what appears to be.


We don't know. But what we were talking about was the highest level of classification of the documents.


PELOSI: And -- but so I think you have to talk about the procedure. President Biden has said his lawyers are finding these and bringing them out. President Trump was obstructing, obstructing access to them. So I think you look at volume. You look at procedure and then you have to see what the nature of the document. But we don't know what the nature is.

But you said it perfectly in the beginning. There are two special counsels. Let the truth come forth by the two special counsels.

WALLACE: But you're talking about the nature of the documents if the documents turned out to be very sensitive, the Biden documents, that would be very sensitive.

PELOSI: Don't -- I said there if.



WALLACE: That would be very serious.

PELOSI: Well, we'll see what they are. I don't think that having a briefing on a meeting with somebody, you know.


PELOSI: We used to tease up in the Intelligence Committee and say be careful because they're going to stamp classified on "The Washington Post."

WALLACE: I understand that the cases are very different as you talk about the number of documents, where they were, the question of transparency and cooperation by the two men.

PELOSI: You said it very well.

WALLACE: Thank you. But as a practical matter, isn't it going to be impossible even if the facts were to bear out that Trump committed a crime and should be charged? Isn't it as a practical matter impossible given the fact that Biden had documents in his office, had documents in his home?

PELOSI: Well, it depends. It depends. And that's why you have the special -- I think that, again, I said, you said it perfectly to begin with. The attorney general asks someone to review, to see if a special prosecutor was recommended. He said yes. There is a special prosecutor for Joe Biden even though the cases are quite different. We don't know until the special prosecutor does all of the investigation. Is it -- when you say is it harder? I don't know. It just depends on what comes out of the investigations.

WALLACE: When we come back, we dig into Pelosi's handbook. How did she herd cats keeping disorderly Democrats in line for 20 years? And she gets emotional when I ask about her husband's health.


WALLACE: People want to know, how is your husband, Paul, doing after that vicious attack in October?




WALLACE: Whether you agree with her politics or not, there is no denying Nancy Pelosi has been one of the most effective politicians in Washington for the last two decades. I picked up our conversation asking the former speaker how she's done it.


WALLACE: One saying that you're known for in Washington is you're never given power. You have to take it.


WALLACE: In the HBO documentary, your daughter Alexandra shows you working members of the Democratic caucus to pass Obamacare.


WALLACE: Here it is.


PELOSI: We have a little disturbing report that you said expect to get it pass on this. There are passes especially on something as (INAUDIBLE). This is a defining moment for the Democrats. Now this is why we elect Democrats. This is (INAUDIBLE). And we can't just be able taking end of it, but this is the recognition and saying, I'm on this team.


WALLACE: What is the key to getting the members of Congress to take a vote they don't want to take?

PELOSI: We have an opportunity of a lifetime. And so when people would say to me, how do you want to do this? It looks impossible. I say it's not impossible. There is nothing -- we cannot let anything stand in our way. If there is a fence in front of us, we're going to push open the gate. If that doesn't work, we're going to climb the fence. If that doesn't work, we're going to pole vault in and if that doesn't work, we're going to parachute in.

But we are not going to let anything stand in the way of the health care of the American people. We just had to make sure that they had clarity about what actually was in the bill. And then there were some regional differences that we had to resolve.

WALLACE: But forgive me, respectfully, you talk about clarity. When you say on the phone to a member of Congress, you're not getting a pass on this.

PELOSI: That's right.

WALLACE: That's not clarity. That's basically saying we're calling in all the chips.


WALLACE: You're on the team?

PELOSI: No, I wouldn't have said that to the person if they didn't say -- they had a pass. This wasn't about what they do. It's what I do. I don't give passes.

WALLACE: We also see you negotiating with a member of the Senate over a COVID relief bill. Here that goes.


PELOSI: So here's what happens in negotiations. When you get toward the end people get tired and that's what he is. You can't get tired. You can never get tired. You want wear yourself down to the point, forget about it, just let's do it this way. They're terrible people. They're the worst. Never had (INAUDIBLE). They really make you some kind of a left-wing advocate.


WALLACE: Is that part of your super power? Just be tougher and more relentless and wear the other guy out?

PELOSI: Just get it done, baby. It's just the way it is. Just get it done. But here's the thing. It's interesting, I think, you tell me, of all the things that people have said to me about Alexandra's --

WALLACE: Documentary.


PELOSI: Documentary. They talk about this. That was the best advice, not to tire. Because it does happen in negotiations. You get to a point where you think OK, this is it. No. You have to compromise, that a negotiation. But you cannot lose the fight. You cannot tire. Resting is rusting. You got to stay there.

WALLACE: This is a difficult subject to bring up, but people want to know, how is your husband, Paul, doing after that vicious attack in October?

PELOSI: He's doing OK. It's going to take a little while for him to be back to normal. I feel very sad about it because of what happened but also more sad because the person was searching for me and my dear husband who's not even that political actually paid the price. He's been out a bit because the doctor said he has to have something to look forward to, and so, again, one day at a time. But thank you for asking.

WALLACE: I'm just going to press this a little. We see him out in public but when I've talked to you, when I've talked to your daughters, when I've talked to one of your granddaughters, you're all confusing the expression, long haul. And so at the risk of prying because people are concerned, is it physical? Is it emotional? Is it cognitive? What's the long haul mean in terms of recovery?

PELOSI: Anyone who's had a head injury knows that you have to be very careful. You have to be careful about movements, you have to be careful about lights, you have to be careful about sound. And it just takes a while. You get very tired but, you know, without going so further into it but it takes -- it will take probably another three or four months, according to the doctors, for him to be really himself.

WALLACE: But we're all thinking of him.

PELOSI: Thank you.

WALLACE: And we're all thinking of you and we're all thinking of your family.

PELOSI: Thank you.

WALLACE: In the documentary, we see two of your nine grandchildren who happen to be the children of Alexandra, Paul and Thomas, at big events in the Capitol, big events in your office. Do you treat them as kind of out of control members of your Democratic caucus?

PELOSI: It's a civics lesson always. The saddest civics lesson was on January 6th when my grandson came to see the peaceful transfer of power.


PELOSI: And then what happened to our country, to our Capitol, to our Congress, to our Constitution. That was -- who would have ever thought? Who would have ever thought that that could happen in America?

WALLACE: What do your grandchildren call you?

PELOSI: They call me Mimi.

WALLACE: Because?

PELOSI: Mimi. Because when my first grandchild was born, Alexander, in Arizona, see, I was praying for grandchildren, Paul and I, but we forgot to pray that they live down the street. Some were in Arizona, some were in Texas, some were in New York. But nonetheless, we have them. So when he was born, so he had the window there, and there was a cafe, and it said Cafe Mimi. So I thought that's what I'll be, Grand Mimi.

WALLACE: At the end of the documentary, you quote an African folk tale about how when you go to meet your maker, you show him your wounds because that shows the fights that you've had. After 35 years in Washington, how would you enumerate the wounds that you would show your maker?

PELOSI: Well, I'd say that we took considerable laceration on the Affordable Care Act. They liked to criticize me for being from San Francisco, which for me is a great honor but they misrepresent where you are on issues. They try to attack your personal integrity and the rest. I'd rather not go through it but if you want, maybe I'll write a book about it and say what they are but I'd rather not think about them but it's constant. Constant.

And I say to women, when you run, you can't worry about that. You cannot worry about that because you are the only person in the history of the world who was you. Your authenticity, your uniqueness, your specialness, your sincerity is so special, and we need you to bring that to the table.



WALLACE: From a powerful political voice to a voice that took Disney by storm. Singer and actress Idina Menzel on her biggest hit "Let It Go" and we'll have some fun digging into the true meaning of that song.



WALLACE (voice-over): It's the voice every mom, dad and tiny "Frozen" fan knows. Broadway superstar Idina Menzel belting one of the biggest hits in Disney movie history. Whether she's on the big screen or on the great white way, Menzel has defied expectations for decades.


Now we explore her remarkable career, that time John Travolta mangled her name at the Oscars and raised the curtain on what's next.



WALLACE: Idina Menzel, welcome. I am delighted to get the chance to talk with you.

IDINA MENZEL, AMERICAN ACTRESS AND SINGER: Thank you so much. I'm honored to be on your show. I have to say, it is really exciting for me.

WALLACE: Well, thank you. We could end the interview right there.


WALLACE: You have a nickname, the Broadway Belter, and whether it is on Broadway in "Wicked," or movies in "Frozen" or TV in "Glee," you have this amazing ability to belt out showstoppers. Does that come naturally to you?

MENZEL: I work hard. Probably there's -- it's been natural, but I study, I've had the same voice coach for 25 years ever since college. I warm up and vocalize a lot. So, I kind of see myself a little bit as an athlete who needs to always stretch and do her physical therapy in order to stay at my highest level. But yes, I've always had a big mouth.

WALLACE: Well, I want to pick up on the athlete comparison because I understand that musical performers often have microphones. But what does it take physically to fill a Broadway theater with your voice, as you are able to do to hit the rafters?

MENZEL: Well, it is interesting because back in the day, they didn't have amplification. So, I think that's where the idea of a Broadway singer, that volume, that projection came from, because they did have to hit the back row.

Now as more -- as technology developed, we do have little mics, we have a mic that sort of sits right here in our head, or sometimes it's here. And so that's tricky.

Actually, I found that to be a tricky for me, because sometimes songs are written in a range that you can be in the studio with a mic really close and not have to project and get that really nice, intimate character in your voice and that texture.

But then Broadway people also want you to hit the back row. So there's different styles of singing, and I try to encapsulate all of that and still keep an intimacy about my approach to singing.

WALLACE: I want to spend some time on what I think most people would agree is your biggest hit, and that is as the voice of Elsa in "Frozen." And here you are singing, "Let it go."


WALLACE: Idina, when you recorded that song, did you have any inkling how huge it would be?

MENZEL: No. I knew it was really -- it was an accomplishment. Great get to be a Disney Princess, you know, to be welcomed into the Disney family and be in a musical. I knew that that was pretty epic, but I had no idea it would become the phenomenon that it did.

So I came in once and I sang it, and then I came back another time because they had written another part to it and they had changed some of the lyrics, and I realized that I felt like my voice sounded too mature in order to really embody this young woman that you see in the movie.

And so I asked them to take it up, I don't know why I did that, because then when I'm in concert all over the world, and I have a cold and I just want to kill myself. But I asked them let's take it up a half step and see because then that sounds a little bit more innocent and my voice a little younger, I think.

And so as I was watching it, just now, I was thinking geez, what was I -- what was I thinking there? But I'm glad because she sounds a little younger and a little bit more vulnerable and you know, not like, I'm smoking 20 cigarettes before I get up there.

WALLACE: No, Elsa not smoking a pack.

MENZEL: That I smoke but...

WALLACE: So, you sing the song at the Oscars and it wins, and of course what many people remember about that night is that John Travolta introduces you --


JOHN TRAVOLTA, ACTOR: Please welcome the wickedly talented one and only Adel Dazim.


WALLACE: And here is the question, I have.


WALLACE: What was your immediate reaction when you heard that? And when did you realize what a huge gift he had given you?

MENZEL: Okay, so I had done a lot of preparation because I was super nervous about that night and I knew that it was going to be Meryl Streep and Brad Pitt sitting in the front row.


MENZEL: I had done a bunch of meditation about, you know, visualizing, manifesting that that night would go well for me, and I had also told myself, I was just going to sing to my son, and just make it about singing to my son, Walker, and nothing else.

And so I had all this preparation going on and they get me out there and they set me and the spotlight comes on and he says that and I have about eight seconds to get my --

WALLACE: Together --

MENZEL: "S" together. And what goes through my head all in those eight seconds is: Did he just screw up my name? Oh, my God. Why is this happening to me? This was my dream come true to be at the Oscars. Get over yourself. Stop having a pity party. Oh my god, Brad Pitt is there -- and sing. You know, it was all in eight seconds.

And then it was just like, "Sing to Walker, sing to Walker," to get you know, be serious. So, and then yes, I came offstage and then I realized that what a great gift it would be because I had all these followers in sort of the Broadway world and people that were saying, how could he screw up her name?

But then there were all these people that didn't know me from other demographics and walks of life that maybe hadn't been to the theater and don't know that side, who said: Who is this girl they're talking about?

So then I -- you know, it actually widened my audience and ended up being a great thing. And now, it is fun to just laugh about and have you ever messed up somebody's name that badly?

WALLACE: Yes, but not at the Oscars and maybe not quite that badly.

All right, here is where this interview is about to get a little weird.

I want -- I want to spend some time talking about "Let It Go" because I don't get it. And here is -- you're looking at me like, oh my gosh -- I didn't get it when I saw the movie. I didn't get it when every one of my grandchildren were singing the darn song.

I mean, it's a great song, but it's supposed to be about woman or a girl's empowerment. But in fact, it's about a girl who is so messed up with her curse that she decides to give into it. And you know, as the line goes, "Let the storm rage on." And in fact, I even, preparing for this interview, I even read an interview with the songwriters who said when they wrote that song, they didn't know whether you, Elsa, was a villain or a hero. So...


WALLACE: All right, I'm going deep here.

MENZEL: That's a lot of things and some things that I've thought about before.

Okay, so why do you think it's not a song of empowerment? "Let the storm rage on," she has been holding these -- all of her power, she has to hold it back, she has to wear these gloves, because if she really allows herself to be herself, and to unleash this power, she might hurt people in her life.

She has already hurt her sister. She should have been holding on to it and keeping it and concealing it and keeping it aside.

And so to me, it's about you know, especially as women, letting our -- embracing that thing that makes us so powerful, that makes perhaps even ferocious, that makes us extraordinary in the world and not being afraid to share that and be ourselves. That's empowerment.

WALLACE: Idina, I promise to let it go, go after this, but she locks herself and an ice castle. Why is that a good thing?

MENZEL: I love that you're telling me the plot in this interview. Okay, so yes, she locks herself in her ice palace because she feels like an outsider. She has been ostracized. No one loves her. She's alone. So she puts herself in this ice castle.

You're right. I'm faltering here. I think, she's just one of those lonely people at the top.


WALLACE: We're finally letting it go and moving on to Menzel's teenage career and the one song that started it all.


WALLACE: So you killed on the Long Island wedding circuit with that song.

MENZEL: I killed it.




WALLACE: While Idina Menzel might be known to our youngest fans as the Snow Queen in "Frozen," she spent years on Broadway amassing a crowd of so-called fanszels. But her road to success started more simpler, and that's where our conversation continued.


WALLACE: There is now a documentary out on Disney+ called "Idina Menzel: Which Way to the Stage" and it shows you growing up in Long Island and yes, it shows you as a kid belting out songs. Here you are.


WALLACE: You wanted to be a child star, and as we can see, you wanted to play "Annie" on Broadway and your parents said no, why?

MENZEL: That was sort of my mom's -- she just wanted me to be a kid and she also didn't want to be a stage mom. She didn't want to be schlepping me around.

But I'm really glad and no offense to anyone that's had different experiences, but I am glad that I had that, that she made that choice for me although I fought it tooth and nail for a long time. I thought I was going to miss out on all of my opportunities, but being in the school plays and working with different teachers and then studying in college and then getting out there feel like I was a more well-rounded human being.

WALLACE: But you're skipping --

MENZEL: And more prepared for this industry.

WALLACE: You're skipping one important part, which is at the age of 15, you were on the local bar mitzvah circuit, and as I understand it, driving illegally on your junior license. What did you learn from that experience singing and why didn't you get arrested?

MENZEL: So by grab one of my mom's sophisticated dresses, and I went to this audition, and I remember I sang, "Evergreen," "Flashdance," some other song, and I went, and I lied. I said, it was 18 because I thought that would be more professional and I got the job.

And so then I started going to all of these temples and catering halls all over the tristate area, as we like to say, on the East Coast and I really got my education, I feel like in that world, and I drive around, and I had my junior license, and I never got caught. I don't know, I was just lucky.

I've gotten a lot of tickets in my life, too. So I don't know. WALLACE: In 1996, it all paid off, because in 1996, you finally make it to Broadway, in the original cast of the classic musical "Rent." Take a look.


WALLACE: But instead of becoming a star, and you've said this to yourself, you fade into obscurity for basically the next seven years. How come?

MENZEL: Well, okay, so it was my dream, when I started doing all of those weddings and bar mitzvahs, my dream really was to get a recording deal and make an album at that point, and so it was less about Broadway, and more about doing my own music and being a rock star.

And so "Rent" was this wonderful opportunity. My first professional gig was this phenomenon, then I got a record deal from the opportunities and the accolades we got from "Rent."

And then I worked on that for about a year and a half. And I wrote all this music and I went in a recording studio, and then I got out there and then the album just didn't take off. The song didn't get on the radio. I didn't get a lot of promotion. I'd show up at these different venues and there'd be like three people there.

So then I got dropped from the record label, and then by then my momentum was gone with the "Rent" thing, and I've kind of just had to start all over again.

WALLACE: Well, finally, you get your big break in the musical "Wicked" playing one of the lead characters, Elphaba, and here is your showstopper from that shot.


WALLACE: And you win the Tony for Best Actress at a musical, so was that where the takeoff started?

MENZEL: Yes, the relaunch. I was just looking at that and it makes me -- it fills me with a lot of emotion. I feel like -- I remember what I was experiencing at that time and how I was insecure about a lot of things and so the casting of that role and getting to live inside of that character and what I needed to learn as a human being at that time were kind of synonymous and I was just really trying to -- similar to the Elsa stuff was just like step into my own power and really believe in myself and own the space that I was in.

I was always worried I was going to get fired in all of those workshops leading up to "Wicked" to the Broadway run of "Wicked." Each one of those steps I was always wondering: "Am I just going to get fired?"

So I was watching that and there is such a sense of pride that I did win that award and that she did change my life, that character and that she means so much to people and -- did I answer your question? WALLACE: Yes, you did.

So, the next time I remember seeing you was on the TV show "Glee," where you play the biological mother of Lea Michele, and not surprisingly the two of you sing this duet.



WALLACE: You sound great, but I have to ask you, is it true that you weren't thrilled about playing the mom when there was really only a 15-year age difference between you and Lea?

MENZEL: Yes, is there 15 years? I mean, she was playing so young, but I think I was a little hormonal, Chris. I had just had my son and I was feeling really emotional and large. And I was -- yes, so when they called me to play the mom, I was just -- that was just, you know, the cherry on the top there.

And I remember being in the trailer breastfeeding -- is that okay to talk about it in your show?

WALLACE: Yes, it is fine.

MENZEL: And there are all these cool young new hot stars, you know, Lea and the whole cast, and I'm stuck in the trailer trying to freeze my breast milk and they're knocking on the door, "Miss Menzel, come to the set," you know.

And I just never -- I just did not feel good at that time, and like, what's funny about that song, "I Dreamed a Dream" just to bring everything full circle in this interview is that used to be the song that when we were doing weddings, they'd say, "Ladies and gentlemen, please take your seats enjoy your main course," and then my band leader would say "Idina stay on stage with the piano player," and we would do "I Dreamed a Dream," and that was one of the only times where the audience actually listened because it was quiet and they were eating their fish or their prime rib.

WALLACE: So you killed on the Long Island wedding circuit with that song.

MENZEL: I killed it. I mean, a Jewish girl singing a Broadway song, I mean, come on.

WALLACE: You have been called the Queen of Broadway, but I checked, you have not played on a Broadway musical stage in the seven years. Do you have any plans to return?

MENZEL: Yes, it is -- it is what I love the most. I mean, people have asked me what do you love, you know, film, TV, stage -- and I love it all. I love that I can have the balance and I can leave one when it gets tiring and sort of, you know, exercise a different muscle.

But when you ask me that, there is nothing like putting a play on, you know, with a cast of people that I love so much. I love the community of it. I love the different audience every night. I love the spontaneity of that.

I love the grind of it. I love going to my dressing room, which is like my office every night. I love it. I miss it so much. I just -- you know, I came out to LA for other reasons, some work reasons, and I want to get back when it's the right time and I am working on a few new projects, mainly original pieces.

I feel like I really -- I want to keep supporting young composers and I've had my best luck with original characters and it's just something I love to do so much.

Standing at the piano with a composer and they've written a brand new song with you in mind and to just start learning notes and inflections and the melodies and the rhythm of the song and just -- that to me -- that's like my most happy place.


WALLACE: Up next, something you saw on this show, which is now a viral dance sensation.


WALLACE: Finally tonight, there's a song on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart that caught our attention and apparently the notice of millions of TikTok video makers.

I'm talking about Meghan Trainor's "Made You Look" with its catchy chorus.

Meghan told me last fall how she came up with it.


MEGHAN TRAINOR, SINGER: Okay, so "Made You Look," I was in the shower, and I was like I need myself love confidence song, but I want it to feel like then doo-doo-doo-dum-dum like that world and I'll literally be dancing in the shower and I was like, I've got in my Gucci on, Gucci on --

And I was like, I wanted to dance like that, but what's word with sound good with that and it's a fancy brand and I was like Louis Vuitton, and so --

WALLACE: That's so great.

TRAINOR: And I was like, but even I don't need all that stuff to be gorgeous. So I was like even with nothing on, I made you look, and I knew background goes, I made do look, and scream in your face.

WALLACE: And it literally is just coming to you like that in the shower.

TRAINOR: Yes, yes, yes. WALLACE: Did you get a little water line, while this is going on?

TRAINOR: Yes, dancing, and it was great. And then I remember I was in the gym with my older brother and we were on the treadmill warming up and I sang it to him and I was like, "Is this trash or is this great?" He was like, "That's fire, bo." And then the rest of the day. He was like I could have my Gucci on, and I was like, okay, there's something there it's catchy.

WALLACE: Gucci on. Louis Vuitton.

TRAINOR: Louis Vuitton. Yes.


WALLACE: Well, "Made You Look" is now a hit in no small part because of more than three million TikTok videos of people dancing to it, including celebrities like Kevin Bacon with his daughter.


WALLACE: You can watch my full conversation with Meghan Trainor as well as tonight's interviews with Nancy Pelosi and Idina Menzel anytime you want on HBO Max.

And we will see you back here on CNN next Sunday.

Thank you for watching. Good night.