Idina Menzel

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Idina Menzel
Idina Menzel Defense.gov Crop.png
Menzel performing at the U.S. Capitol in 2008
Born (1971-05-30) May 30, 1971 (age 50)
Alma materTisch School of Arts
Occupation
  • Actress
  • singer
  • songwriter
Years active1995–present
Spouse(s)
(m. 2003; div. 2014)

(m. 2017)
Children1
AwardsFull list
Musical career
Genres
Instruments
  • Vocals
  • piano
Labels[1]
Websiteidinamenzel.com

Idina Kim Menzel (/ɪˈdnə mɛnˈzɛl/; née Mentzel; born May 30, 1971[2][3]) is an American actress, singer, and songwriter. A winner of one Tony Award, and a nominee for two more, Menzel is known for her powerful mezzo-soprano voice and signature belting technique. Achieving success in stage and screen, she is one of the most prolific Broadway performers of her generation.

Menzel rose to prominence as a stage actress when she played Maureen Johnson in the Broadway musical Rent, her Broadway debut. Her performance earned her a nomination for the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical. After appearing in several smaller-scale stage and Off-Broadway productions, she originated the role of Elphaba Thropp in the Broadway musical Wicked in 2003, a performance for which she received critical acclaim, as well as the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical. The popularity of Menzel's character earned her a devoted following among theater enthusiasts. She reprised the role in West End productions of the musical until 2006. Menzel returned to Broadway as Elizabeth Vaughan in the 2014 musical If/Then, which earned her a third Tony Award nomination.

In the early 2000s, Menzel began transitioning to television and film roles, reprising her role as Maureen in Rent's film adaptation (2005), and playing the role of Vera Rivkin in the romantic drama film Ask the Dust (2006). She is known for playing Shelby Corcoran on the musical drama-comedy TV series Glee (2010–2013), and a non-singing role as Nancy Tremaine in the musical fantasy film Enchanted (2007). She also voiced Elsa in Disney's 3D computer-animated musical films Frozen (2013), in which she sang the Oscar- and Grammy Award-winning song "Let It Go", and Frozen II (2019). "Let It Go" reached number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, making Menzel the first Tony Award-winning actress to reach the top 10.[4]

As a solo music artist, Menzel has released six studio albums, including Still I Can't Be Still (1998), Here (2004), I Stand (2008), Holiday Wishes (2014), idina. (2016), and Christmas: A Season of Love (2019), with four of them being original albums.

Early life and education[edit]

Idina Kim Mentzel was born on May 30, 1971, in Manhattan, New York City.[n 1] She grew up in New Jersey until about age three, when her family moved to Syosset, New York, on Long Island.[7][8] Her parents are Helene Goldberg, a therapist, and Stuart Mentzel, a pajama salesman.[9] She has a younger sister named Cara. Menzel is Jewish,[10][11][12] and her grandparents emigrated from Russia.[13][14] Menzel attended J. Irving Baylis Elementary School in Plainview, New York, and then Syosset's H.B. Thompson Middle School and Syosset High School.[7][15]

When Menzel was 15 years old, her parents divorced, and she began working as a wedding and bar mitzvah singer, a job that she continued throughout her time at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, where she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in drama[16][17] in 1992.[18]

Idina changed the spelling of her surname to "Menzel" to better reflect the pronunciation that the Mentzel family had adopted in the United States.[19] She was friends with actor Adam Pascal before they worked together in Rent.[9]

In 2017, during an interview with Irish New York–based songwriter Jimmy Walsh, he revealed that, in 1992, Menzel recorded a demo for him of the song "In Your Eyes", which went on to win the Eurovision Song Contest 1993 for Irish singer Niamh Kavanagh. Menzel was paid $75 for the recording.[20]

Career[edit]

Theater career[edit]

Rent to The Wild Party (1996–2000)[edit]

In 1995, Menzel auditioned for Rent, which became her first professional theatre job and her Broadway debut. Rent opened Off-Broadway at the New York Theatre Workshop on January 26, 1996, but it moved to Broadway's Nederlander Theatre due to its popularity. For her performance as Maureen Johnson in the original cast of the musical, Menzel received a Tony nomination as Best Featured Actress in a Musical losing to Ann Duquesnay for Bring in 'da Noise, Bring in 'da Funk. Her final performance in the musical was on July 1, 1997.

Following the success of Rent, Menzel released her first solo album entitled Still I Can't Be Still on Hollywood Records, Menzel also originated the role of Dorothy in Summer of '42 at Goodspeed Opera House in Connecticut, starred as Sheila in the New York City Center Encores! production of Hair and appeared on Broadway as Amneris in Aida. Menzel earned a Drama Desk Award nomination for her performance as Kate in the Manhattan Theatre Club's 2000 Off-Broadway production of Andrew Lippa's The Wild Party. Her other Off-Broadway credits include the pre-Broadway run of Rent and The Vagina Monologues.[21]

Wicked, If/Then, to Skintight (2003–2018)[edit]

In 2003, Menzel starred alongside Kristin Chenoweth on Broadway in Wicked, a musical by Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holzman based upon Gregory Maguire's 1995 novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West. Shortly after a San Francisco try-out, Wicked began previews on October 8, 2003, with an official opening night on October 30. Menzel's performance as Elphaba, the misunderstood Wicked Witch of the West, garnered critical acclaim, for which she won the 2004 Tony Award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical.[22] Menzel's character also earned her a devoted fanbase, particularly among young girls.[22] She can be heard on the show's Original Broadway Cast (OBC) recording. During her penultimate performance on January 8, 2005, she fell through a trap door during the melting scene and cracked a lower rib. This injury prevented her from performing in her final show on January 9. Menzel did, however, make a special appearance, in a red tracksuit, at that performance, performed her last song, and received a five-minute standing ovation.[23] Menzel was replaced by Elphaba standby Shoshana Bean. In 2010, Broadway.com readers voted Menzel their favourite Elphaba performer out of the then-eleven actresses who had played the character on Broadway.[24]

Following Wicked, Menzel appeared Off-Broadway in the Public Theater's production of See What I Wanna See, a Michael John LaChiusa-penned musical whose run ended in December 2005, for which she received Drama Desk Award and Drama League Award nominations. She reprised her Tony Award-winning role as Elphaba in the West End production of Wicked when it opened at London's Apollo Victoria Theatre on September 27, 2006.[25] She starred alongside Helen Dallimore as Glinda and Adam Garcia as Fiyero. During her run, she was the highest-paid female performer in the West End at $30,000 per week. Menzel finished her West End run on December 30, 2006. She was succeeded by Elphaba standby Kerry Ellis.

Menzel played the role of Florence in the 21st-anniversary concert of the musical Chess at the Royal Albert Hall, London, from May 12 to 13, 2008, alongside Kerry Ellis, Adam Pascal, and Josh Groban. In 2008, she headlined the Powerhouse Theatre's reading of Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik's musical Nero from July 11 to 13, performing the role of Nero's mistress, Poppea.[26] She was joined by Glee costar Lea Michele as Claudia Octavia, Jeffrey Carleson as Nero, and Michael Arden as Octavia's brother, Brittanicus.

By February 28, 2013, Menzel was cast to star as Elizabeth in the new Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey Broadway musical If/Then. Directed by Michael Greif (whom Menzel previously worked within the original production of Rent), it had its world premiere at the National Theatre in Washington, D.C., starting with previews on November 5, 2013, until November 24, 2013. Following the out-of-town tryout, the show moved to the Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway and began previews on March 4, 2014. It officially opened on March 30, 2014.[27][28] For her performance, Menzel received her second Tony Award nomination for Best Leading Actress in a Musical and performed Always Starting Over, but lost to Jessie Mueller for Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.[29] If/Then closed on Broadway on March 22, 2015, after 29 previews and 401 regular performances.

Menzel reprised the role of Elizabeth (along with original Broadway cast members Lachanze, James Snyder, and Anthony Rapp) on the first seven stops of the show's national tour from October 2015 to January 2016.[30] She departed the show (along with LaChanze and Snyder) on the last day of the Costa Mesa, California engagement, on January 24, 2016. Her replacement was Jackie Burns (who previously served as Menzel's standby in the Broadway production) starting January 27, 2016, in Dallas, Texas.

Later, in 2018, Menzel was cast as Jodi in Roundabout Theatre Company's World Premiere production of Joshua Harmon's new play Skintight. The show premiered Off Broadway at the Laura Pels Theatre at the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre. It began previews on May 31, 2018, opened on June 21, 2018, and ran for strictly limited engagement till August 26, 2018. The play earned Menzel rave reviews and marking it her first major New York Theater non-musical role. A year later, she reprised her performance in Skintight marking its debut on the West Coast. The production played the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles, California running from September 3 - October 6, 2019

While appearing in Skintight, Menzel read for the role of Mary Jane in a workshop for the Broadway rock musical Jagged Little Pill.

Music career[edit]

Menzel performed at the 1998 Lilith Fair summer concert festival and continues to write and perform original music. She has toured extensively and frequently performs in various venues throughout New York City. She produced and released her debut album, Still I Can't Be Still, for Hollywood Records in 1998. One single from the album, "Minuet," made the Radio & Records CHR/Pop Tracks chart at number 48 in October 1998.[31] Following the album release, she embarked on a promotional tour, but after selling fewer than 10,000 copies in the US and missing the Billboard 200, Menzel's label put the album out of print, and she was dropped from the label. However, the album was re-released once she began to rise to greater fame with her Tony-winning performance in Wicked.

Her second album, Here, was released independently by Zel Records in 2004. Menzel contributed to the soundtrack of Desperate Housewives in 2005. She also appears on Ray Charles's album Genius and Friends, which was also released in 2005, on the track "I Will Be There." In 2007, she appeared on the Beowulf soundtrack singing the end credits song, "A Hero Comes Home." Also, in 2007, Menzel's powerful singing voice led her to be asked to accompany the baritone British X Factor runner-up, Rhydian Roberts, on his debut album, duetting on the song "What If".

Her third solo album, I Stand, was released on January 29, 2008. It includes many new songs, including the lead single, "Brave", the title track "I Stand," and a song released on EP, "Gorgeous." The album debuted at number 58 on the Billboard 200, making it the first solo album by Menzel to make the charts. There are five versions of this album: the original version, the special limited edition, the iTunes version, the Barnes & Noble edition, and the Borders edition. Menzel wrote 9 of the 10 songs on her album, with the song "Forever" writing only by herself.[32]

On April 1, 2008, Menzel kicked off her 2008–2009 I Stand tour in support of her new album performing four sold-out legs. The concert at Rose Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City was filmed for the PBS television series Soundstage. Menzel was joined by special guests, superstar Josh Groban and saxophonist Ravi Coltrane.

On November 11, 2008, Menzel released "Hope," written by Paul Hampton, benefiting Stand Up to Cancer. On November 27, 2008, she performed "I Stand" on the M&M's Chocolate float as part of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.[33][34]

On July 19, 2010, Menzel performed "Defying Gravity" and "What I Did For Love" in front of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at A Broadway Celebration: In Performance at the White House. The concert aired on PBS on October 20, 2010.[35]

In April 2010, Menzel returned to the concert stage embarking on her "Barefoot at the Symphony Tour" in which she was accompanied by major symphony orchestras. Her performances included collaborations with the New York Philharmonic, the Boston Pops Orchestra, and the North Carolina Symphony, and featured symphonic arrangements by New York composer and producer Rob Mounsey. In October 2011, Menzel returned to London to perform a one-night-only concert in the United Kingdom at the Royal Albert Hall with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra with Marvin Hamlisch conducting. Menzel's concert stop in Toronto was filmed at The Royal Conservatory of Music on November 17 and 18, 2011, for her second PBS special. She was accompanied by the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony with Marvin Hamlisch conducting and special guest Taye Diggs, Menzel's then-husband. Idina Menzel Live: Barefoot at the Symphony was released as a live CD and DVD and aired on PBS in March 2012, with Musical Director Rob Mounsey producing.[36]

Menzel announced she would continue live performances in 2012. The first date she announced was July 8, 2012, at Ravinia Festival near Chicago, Illinois.[37] She made her Carnegie Hall solo debut (originally on October 29, 2012).[38] However, due to Hurricane Sandy's impact on New York City, it was postponed until January 13, 2013.[39]

Menzel toured Australia in June 2013 with shows in South Australia, Melbourne, Brisbane, and two at the Sydney Opera House.

On June 17, 2014, during a concert at New York City's Radio City Music Hall, Menzel confirmed that she was working on a Christmas album that would contain original material to be released later that same year. In that concert, she performed one of the original tunes from the album, "December Prayer".[40] The album, Holiday Wishes, was released on October 14, 2014.[41] The album has so far peaked at number 10 on the Billboard 200, becoming her highest-charting album as a solo lead artist. Holiday Wishes also marked the first that a woman had three different albums (along with the cast recording to Frozen and If/Then) peak within the top 20 within ten months of the release date. Holiday Wishes also become the second-ever Christmas album to chart before Halloween during the SoundScan Era after Garth Brooks's 1992 album Beyond the Season.[42] On November 26, 2014, Menzel announced through her Facebook page that she would be touring during the summer of 2015, making it her first global tour and first time playing shows in Europe and Asia.[43]

Menzel was honored with the Breakthrough Artist award at the 2014 Billboard Women in Music awards ceremony.[44]

Menzel sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" a cappella at Super Bowl XLIX on February 1, 2015.[45][46] Menzel's rendition earned mixed reviews from critics, who praised the quality of her voice but questioned some of her stylistic choices, namely tempo and volume.[47][46][48] In a complementary review, Markos Papadatos of The Digital Journal felt Menzel redeemed her reputation as a strong vocalist after pundits had criticized her live performance of "Let it Go" at Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve the previous year.[49]

On August 5, 2016, Menzel announced she would release her eponymous fifth album, on September 23. Of the release, Menzel stated: "I poured my heart out and used my music as a place to kind of figure some things out. It's a really personal album."[50] Marking it as her first original Pop studio album in 8 years since I Stand, the album debuted at # 29 on the US Billboard 200. With the success of the album, Menzel embarked on a World Tour in 2017 that traveled to Asia, Europe, and North America.[51] Menzel's concert stop in Las Vegas was recorded for her second live album entitled idina Live and released on October 12, 2018.[52]

On March 12, 2018, it was announced that Menzel would join Josh Groban for his Bridges Tour. For this tour, she served as Groban's Opening act before joining him later during his set for 2 duets of Lullaby and Falling Slowly. Menzel only performed with Groban on the 1st leg of North America in various cities including Atlanta, Nashville, Dallas. Phoenix, Chicago, Boston, Pittsburgh, and a sold-out performance at New York's famed Madison Square Garden.[53] The New York City show (entitled Bridges Live From Madison Square Garden) was also filmed and released in Movie Theaters & later a Live CD & DVD release with an airing on PBS.[54]

On May 11, 2019, it was revealed that she had signed to Scooter Braun and SB Projects for music management.[1] On October 18, 2019, Menzel released her second holiday album entitled Christmas: A Season of Love from School Boy and Decca Records on October 18, 2019.[55] It debut at # 2 on Billboard's US Top Holiday Albums. In support of it, Menzel embarked on a three-city concert tour in the east coast including a sold out return to New York's Carnegie Hall.

Film and television career[edit]

After minor roles in Kissing Jessica Stein and Just a Kiss, Menzel had supporting roles in The Tollbooth and Water in 2004. Her first major role in a major film was in 2005 when she reprised her role as Maureen Johnson in the film adaptation of Rent. She was nominated for several critics circle awards for the part. In 2007, Menzel appeared in the musical romantic comedy film Enchanted as Nancy Tremaine, the fiancée of Patrick Dempsey's character Robert and Giselle's (Amy Adams) romantic rival.[56] Despite being a musical, Menzel famously does not sing in the film;[57] a duet songwriters Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz had written for her character was ultimately not used.[58] Menzel was offered the role without auditioning and was flattered that Disney cast her based solely on her acting abilities.[58][59] Menzel explained that having her character sing "wouldn't have made sense" narrative-wise, due to Nancy belonging to the reality-based New York world as opposed to the film's more fantastical characters.[58] She opted to portray her with vulnerability as opposed to "a typical mean girlfriend that everyone's going to hate."[59] Enchanted was a critical and commercial success,[60] but The Hollywood Reporter's Kirk Honeycutt accused the film of wasting Menzel's talent,[61] while Jim Lane of the Sacramento News & Review felt the actress was underused.[62] However, Screen Rant's Mel Hall found Menzel's performance compelling.[63]

Menzel had a recurring guest star role in the television series Glee playing Shelby Corcoran, the coach of the rival glee club Vocal Adrenaline. When the series first premiered, Glee fans (known collectively as 'Gleeks') had noted a strong physical resemblance between Menzel and Lea Michele, who portrays the character of Rachel Berry. According to her then-husband, actor Taye Diggs, Menzel had expressed interest in possibly guest-starring as the biological mother of Rachel.[64] The character was introduced in the episode "Hell-O". Lea Michele and Idina Menzel sing together "I Dreamed a Dream" from Les Misérables and "Poker Face" originally by Lady Gaga. Menzel returned to Glee in season 3 episode "I Am Unicorn", her role this time as a teacher causing trouble for Rachel, Quinn, Puck, and former flame Will Schuster.[65]

In 2013, Menzel starred as Elsa in the animated musical film Frozen.[66] Menzel's performance received praise from film critics. The film became the highest-grossing animated film of all time, and one of the highest-grossing films of all time. Menzel gained particular notice for her song "Let It Go", which won an Academy Award and a Grammy Award and was nominated for a Golden Globe Award. She is also featured in the song "For the First Time in Forever" and its reprise. She has since reprised her role of Elsa in most of her appearances including video games such as the Disney Infinity series and Kingdom Hearts III,[67] the 2015 short film Frozen Fever, the 2017 featurette short film Olaf's Frozen Adventure, the 2018 film Ralph Breaks the Internet, and for the 2019 sequel Frozen II.[68][69][70][71]

Menzel was invited to perform "Let It Go" at the 86th Academy Awards in March 2014, where the song won the Academy Award for Best Original Song. When John Travolta announced her before she sang the song, he incorrectly introduced her as "Adele Dazeem". The slip-up became a popular Internet meme.[72] According to a source for E!, Menzel was not upset about the mishap.[73] In response to the misnaming, she reportedly printed up satirical playbills that promoted her name as Adele Dazeem, noting her past work in Nert (Rent), Wicked-ly (Wicked) and Farfignugen (a play on the word Fahrvergnügen, referring to Frozen).[74][75] Three days after the ceremony, Travolta publicly apologized to Menzel for mispronouncing her name.[74] At the 87th Academy Awards, Menzel presented the award for Best Original Song alongside Travolta where she jokingly introduced him as "Glom Gazingo". Travolta then finally pronounced her name correctly when he appeared on stage.[76]

Menzel starred as C.C. Bloom in the Lifetime TV movie remake of the film Beaches,[77] which aired on January 21, 2017.[78]

She was announced to star on the Ellen DeGeneres-produced sitcom Happy Time,[79] but, as of October 15, 2019, this project appears to have been shelved.

In November 2019, Menzel and Kristen Bell, who play sisters in Disney's Frozen franchise, received neighboring stars—Menzel's was the 2682nd and Bell's was the 2681st—on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.[80][81]

She starred alongside Adam Sandler playing his wife Dinah Ratner in the 2019 crime film Uncut Gems.

She is set to co-star opposite Camila Cabello in Kay Cannon's upcoming new film adaptation of Cinderella playing Vivian, the stepmother who is, according to the director, not evil.[82] The film is expecting to be released February 5, 2021, from Columbia Pictures, but then postponed to July 16, 2021.[83][84] She will also star in American Murderer directed by Matthew Gentile.[85] In March 2021, it was announced that Menzel would reprise the role of Nancy in the upcoming Disney+ movie Disenchanted, the sequel to Enchanted.[86]

During the ongoing time of the COVID-19 pandemic, Menzel created and launched a brand new YouTube web series for children entitled Idina's Treehouse. The series featured Menzel from her treehouse out in her Los Angeles home that originally was built for her son Walker Nathaniel Diggs. It features a full set of songs, stories, and appearances from Menzel's family and friends.[citation needed]

Artistry and legacy[edit]

Menzel is usually classified as a mezzo-soprano.[87][88] For the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Sharon Eberson wrote "Possessing a voice that could be categorized as coquettish to flat-out belter and everything in between—and with a stage presence to match—she usually is labeled a mezzo-soprano. But why pigeonhole someone so intriguingly offbeat?" Eberson continued that the singer "interprets songs as much as an actress as a singer, and therein lies her connection to the music and her fans."[87] Describing Menzel as a loud, "full-volume soprano" similar to Broadway actress Ethel Merman, Stephen Holden of The New York Times wrote "The sound she creates when she belts in her high soprano register is a primal cry embedded in her being that insists that we listen and pay attention." Holden continued, "Depending on the song, [her voice] can sound babyish and demanding, or it can sound grand and imperial."[89]

Menzel is known for her signature high belting style; The Kennedy Center website cites Menzel and her character Elphaba as prime examples of "The Broadway Belter" employing the belting technique to their advantage.[90] Describing Menzel as a singer with a "husky voice, which sometimes veers toward shrieking until she effortlessly reins herself in or, amazingly, kicks it up another notch," Melissa Ruggieri of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution concluded that she possesses "a superior instrument" both in-studio and live.[91] On her own vocal technique, Menzel revealed that she avoids moving her shoulders while singing, telling The Philippine Star, "I actually try to take a smaller breath for a bigger, longer note because there's less air that will come pummeling out."[92] Despite live performances earning consistent acclaim from both critics and audiences,[93] Menzel's technique and signature belting have received criticism from some commentators who have deemed it "screechy".[94] Schuyler Velasco of The Christian Science Monitor observed that, for two decades, the singer "made a career out of belting notes that would fry the vocal chords of mere mortals", but felt the emotion of her performances sometimes suffer at the hands of her vocal proficiency, citing her rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" at Super Bowl XLIX as an example of Menzel opting for technique over excitement or inspiration, yet still delivering an adequate performance.[48] Menzel addressed such criticisms during a 2014 concert, explaining that she wishes to sing loud, proud and "from the heart", likening herself to Merman and Aretha Franklin.[94]

Professionally trained as a classical singer from age eight, Menzel decided to pursue other genres, specifically R&B and jazz, when she entered high school. Upon becoming a wedding singer, Menzel was eventually exposed to a wide variety of genres, ranging from jazz and rock to Motown.[95] Her set lists tend to incorporate an eclectic combination of original songs and covers of pop, rock and musical theatre material, as well as popular stage and film songs.[96] Jay Handelman of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune opined that Menzel's choice of songs "reinforce her own offbeat personality."[96] Menzel often opts to perform barefoot in her solo concerts, which has become a trademark of her live performances.[94] On her stage stage presence, The Denver Post critic Ray Mark Rinaldi wrote that Menzel delivers "the kind of self-assurance that can only come from beating out Kristin Chenoweth for a Tony. She comes out on stage, dressed like she doesn’t care, acting a little dizzy, but knowing all along she’s gonna hit the right notes."[97] Menzel's vocal style has drawn comparisons to singer and actress Barbra Streisand, whose song "Don't Rain on My Parade" Menzel often performs and covered in tribute to her at the 2008 Kennedy Center Honors.[93][98] Menzel said she had long aspired to have a career as successful as Streisand to whose Jewish upbringing Menzel has also been compared, with fans deeming her "the next big Jewish icon in music".[93] Similar comparisons have been drawn between Menzel and Bette Midler.[93] Menzel was particularly inspired by Streisand's performance in the film A Star is Born (1976).[99]

Menzel is considered to be among the greatest Broadway performers of her generation, possessing one of the most recognizable and sought-after voices in the industry.[63] In 2020, Cleveland.com's Troy L. Smith named Menzel the best vocalist of 2013, writing that the year's popularity of "Let it Go" only cemented Menzel's reputation as "one of Broadway’s greatest stars of all time".[100] Time Out ranked Menzel Broadway's 19th greatest "diva" of all-time, recognizing that the performer established a "stratospheric reputation" solely on the popularity of Rent and Wicked, having only starred in one Broadway musical since Wicked.[101] The previous year, BroadwayWorld recognized Menzel among "10 Broadway Stars Who Ruled the Decade".[102] Examining the endurance of "Defying Gravity" from Wicked, Vulture.com's Jackson McHenry attributes the song's popularity to Menzel's "pneumatic lungs and the powerhouse performances of the divas that followed"; McHenry believes few singers can service the song as successfully as Menzel.[103]

Personal life[edit]

Menzel married Taye Diggs on January 11, 2003. They met in 1995 during the original production of Rent, in which Diggs portrayed Benjamin Coffin III, the landlord.[104] On September 2, 2009, she gave birth to their son.[105] In late 2013, it was reported that Menzel and Diggs had separated after 10 years of marriage.[106]

Menzel began dating actor Aaron Lohr, and in August 2015, they bought a home together in Encino, Los Angeles, California.[107] On September 23, 2016, Menzel announced that she and Lohr were engaged.[108][109] They were married over the weekend of September 22, 2017.[110]

Menzel identifies as a feminist, saying, "I love that I play all of these strong women. But they're not just strong—they're women who have a really deep vulnerability and need to go through a journey in order to harness their power."[111]

Philanthropy[edit]

Menzel was an honorary chair of the Imperial Court of New York's Annual Charity Coronation Ball, Night of A Thousand Gowns, on March 21, 2009, sharing the title with Elton John, Patti LuPone, John Cameron Mitchell, Joan Rivers, and Robin Strasser.[112]

On May 17, 2009, Menzel performed at a special benefit concert in Atlanta, Georgia, to raise money for the Pace Academy Diversity Program in coordination with the Ron Clark Academy.[113] The event resulted in the funding of two scholarships for Ron Clark Academy students to attend Pace Academy. The event was organized and hosted by Philip McAdoo, a former Rent cast member and current Diversity Program Director at Pace Academy.[114][115]

In 2010, Menzel founded the A BroaderWay Foundation with then-husband Taye Diggs as a means of supporting young people in the arts. A BroaderWay sponsors camp programs, theater workshops, and innovative educational programming, and offers scholarships and opportunities to experience professional performances. In Summer 2011, Camp BroaderWay welcomed girls from under-served metro New York communities to a 10-day performing arts camp, run by Menzel and a team of acclaimed professional Broadway artists including Taye Diggs. During this camp, the girls collaborated with Broadway artists to write an original musical that was performed at a theatre in New York. The camp was held at Belvoir Terrace Summer Camp in Lenox, Massachusetts.[116]

Menzel has long-championed LGBT rights by partnering with organizations like The Trevor Project,[117] the Give A Damn Campaign (filming a public service announcement[118] and designing a T-shirt[119]) and the NOH8 Campaign, posing for one of their trademark duct-taped silence photos.[120]

In April 2014, Menzel presented at Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS Easter Bonnet Competition with Bryan Cranston, Fran Drescher, and Denzel Washington, after raising donations at her Broadway show If/Then.[121]

Acting credits[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2001 Kissing Jessica Stein Bridesmaid
2002 Just a Kiss Linda
2004 Water Jessy Turner
The Tollbooth Raquel Cohen-Flaxman
2005 Rent Maureen Johnson
2006 Ask the Dust Vera Rivkin
2007 ShowBusiness: The Road to Broadway Herself Recorded "Lullaby of Broadway" for the end credits
Enchanted Nancy Tremaine
Beowulf Herself Recorded "A Hero Comes Home" for the end credits
2013 Frozen Elsa (voice)
2015 Frozen Fever Short film
2017 Olaf's Frozen Adventure
2018 Ralph Breaks the Internet
2019 Uncut Gems Dinah Ratner
Frozen II Elsa (voice)
2021 Cinderella Vivian Post-production
2022 Disenchanted Nancy Tremaine Filming
TBA American Murderer Melanie Post-production

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1998 Hercules: The Animated Series Circe (voice) 1 episode
2004 Rescue Me Carol
2005 Kevin Hill Francine Prescott 2 episodes
2009 Soundstage Herself Season 7, episode 2
Private Practice Lisa King 2 episodes
Great Performances: Chess in Concert Florence Vassy 1 episode
2010 A Broadway Celebration: In Performance at the White House Herself PBS Special
2010–2013 Glee Shelby Corcoran 12 episodes
2010 Wonder Pets The Queen of Hearts (voice) Episode: "Adventures in Wonderland"
Sesame Street Herself 1 episode
2011 The Glee Project Episode: "Theatricality"
Idina Menzel Live: Barefoot at the Symphony PBS Special
2015 Arthur Dr. Paula (voice) Episode: "Shelter from the Storm"
2016 Lego Frozen Northern Lights Elsa (voice)
2017 Beaches Cecilia Carol "C. C." Bloom Television film
Julie's Greenroom Herself Episode: "The Show Must Go On"
Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway Guest announcer Series 14, episode 7
2018 A Very Wicked Halloween Herself / Elphaba
2019 Rent: Live Herself [122]
2020 The Disney Family Singalong: Volume II Herself Television special
2020 Into the Unknown: Making Frozen 2 Herself Disney + Docuseries

Theatre[edit]

Year Production Role Venue Dates Notes
1994 Rent Maureen Johnson New York Theatre Workshop October 27 – November 6, 1994
1996 Nederlander Theatre April 29, 1996 – July 1, 1997
2000 The Wild Party Kate Manhattan Theatre Club February 24 – April 9, 2000
Summer of '42 Dorothy Norma Terris Theatre August 10 – September 3, 2000
2001 Hair Sheila New York City Center May 3–7, 2001
Aida Amneris Palace Theatre September 13, 2001 – January 27, 2002
2002 The Vagina Monologues Performer Westside Theatre March 5 – April 14, 2002
Funny Girl (concert) Fanny Brice New Amsterdam Theatre September 23, 2002 (Performed "Cornet Man")
2003 Wicked Elphaba George Gershwin Theatre October 8, 2003 – January 8, 2005
2005 See What I Wanna See Kesa /
The Wife (Lily) /
The Actress (Deanna)
The Public Theatre October 30 – December 4, 2005
2006 Wicked Elphaba Apollo Victoria Theatre September 7 – December 30, 2006
2008 Chess in Concert (concert) Florence Vassy Royal Albert Hall May 12–13, 2008
Nero Poppaea Sabina Powerhouse Theater July 11–13, 2008
2014 If/Then Elizabeth Vaughan Richard Rodgers Theatre March 30, 2014 – March 22, 2015
2015 N/A October 13, 2015 – January 26, 2016 National tour
2018 Skintight Jodi Isaac Laura Pels Theatre May 31 – August 26, 2018
2019 Geffen Playhouse September 3 – October 12, 2019 LA production of Skintight
2021 Wild TBA American Repertory Theater December 2021 – TBA 2022 World premiere of musical

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role
2013 Disney Infinity[123] Elsa (voice)
2014 Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes[124]
2015 Disney Infinity 3.0[125]
2019 Kingdom Hearts III

Other[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2015 Super Bowl XLIX Herself National Anthem
2015 – 2016 Sirius Satellite Radio Guest DJ Radio show;
20 episodes
2018 Celebrity Undercover Boss Undercover as Helen Gold Stars in episode 2
2020 GEICO Tax Attorney Commercial Herself Singing to GEICO customer
Idina's Treehouse[126] Herself Host; YouTube

Discography[edit]

Concerts[edit]

Tours
First Date Last Date Title # of Performances Notes
November 3, 1998 November 24, 1998 Still I Can't Be Still Tour 12
April 1, 2008 March 28, 2009 I Stand Tour 50 Special guest appearances from Josh Groban and Ravi Coltrane. The January 15, 2009 concert at the Lincoln Center was filmed for a special on the PBS series Soundstage.
April 24, 2010 July 21, 2013 Barefoot at the Symphony Tour 101 Menzel was often accompanied by Marvin Hamlisch, as well as various symphonies including the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, and the San Francisco Symphony. Some concerts featured guest appearances from Taye Diggs and various audience members. The performance in Toronto on March 6, 2012, was filmed for a PBS special and DVD and recorded for a live album.
May 30, 2015 October 3, 2015 World Tour 54 This is her first world tour. She held concerts in South Korea, Japan, the Netherlands, the Philippines, the UK, Ireland, the US, Belgium, and Canada.[127][128]
March 29, 2017 September 3, 2017 Idina World Tour 57 Performances in the US, Belgium, Netherlands, Ireland, Canada, Japan, and the UK.
October 18, 2018 November 18, 2018 Bridges Tour 18 Menzel was the Opening Act for the first North American leg. She later joined Josh Groban on 2 duets during his set.
December 6, 2019 December 11, 2019 A Season of Love Tour 3 In support of her second holiday album Christmas: A Season of Love
Other Concerts
Date Title Notes
August 1998 Lilith Fair August 6 show in Cleveland, August 8 show in Cincinnati, August 9 show in Pittsburgh, and August 10 show in Hershey.
December 7, 2000 SH-K-Boom's Cutting Room
May/June 2001 Joe's Pub Shows on May 12, 19, and June 2.
Oct. 7, 2002 Ars Nova
December 13, 2004 The Zipper Factory Here promotional concert.
August 2005 Provincetown Theatre & Regatta Bar August 18–21 in Provincetown, and 26 and 27 in Boston.
September 4, 2005 The Hot Tin Roof
September 17, 2007 Hulu Theater
January 29, 2008 Virgin Megastore
July 19, 2010 A Broadway Celebration: In Performance at the White House Other singers included Brian D'Arcy James, Elaine Stritch, Audra McDonald, and the touring cast of Hairspray. The concert aired on PBS on October 20, 2010. Menzel sang Defying Gravity and What I Did For Love.
June 16, 2014 Radio City Music Hall Concert
November 27, 2014 iHeart Radio: Holiday Wishes iHeart Radio had Menzel perform a concert that they used a TV/Radio special. The concert features a guest appearance from Menzel's fellow If/Then cast member Tamika Lawrence and promoted her new album, Holiday Wishes.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Theater[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated Work Result
1995 Obie Award Special Citations Rent Won
1996 Tony Award Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical Nominated
2000 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical The Wild Party Nominated
2004 Tony Award Best Actress in a Musical Wicked Won
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Actress in a Musical Nominated
Drama League Award Distinguished Performance Nominated
Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding Actress in a Musical Nominated
Broadway.com Audience Award Best Lead Actress in a Musical Won
Best Diva Performance Won
Best Onstage Pair (w/ Kristin Chenoweth) Won
2005 Drama Desk Award Best Lead Actress in a Musical See What I Wanna See Nominated
Drama League Award Distinguished Performance Nominated
Broadway.com Audience Award Favorite Diva Performance Nominated
Favorite Ensemble Performance Nominated
2006 Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers Choice Award Best Actress in a Musical Wicked Won
2014 Tony Award Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical If/Then Nominated
Drama League Award Distinguished Performance Nominated
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Actress in a Musical Nominated
Broadway.com Audience Award Best Leading Actress in a Musical Won
Best Onstage Pair (w/ James Snyder) Won
Best Diva Performance Nominated
2018 Drama League Award Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theatre Honoree

Film[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
2005 Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Best Ensemble Rent Nominated
Broadcast Film Critics Association Award Best Acting Ensemble Nominated
Best Song Performance Nominated
2013 Alliance of Women Film Journalists Best Animated Female Frozen Nominated
2014 World Music Award Best Song Written for Film Won
Satellite Award Best Original Song Nominated
Teen Choice Award Choice Music: Single Nominated
Choice Actress: Voice Won
Billboard Music Award Top Streaming Video Nominated
Top Soundtrack Won
American Music Awards Top Soundtrack Won
2020 Teen Choice Awards Favorite Voice Actress Frozen II Nominated

Television[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
2010 Teen Choice Award Choice Music: Group Glee Nominated

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ While her birthplace has been varyingly reported as either the New York City borough of Queens or the town of Syosset, New York,[5][6] Menzel clarified in 2019, "[M]y parents lived in Queens and I was born at NYU Hospital in Manhattan."[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Menzel, Idina [@idinamenzel] (May 10, 2019). "Revealing Time magazine's June cover story... Idina Menzel joins forces with @scooterbraun & @SB_Projects for music management" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  2. ^ "Idina Menzel Biography". Biography.com (FYI/A&E Television Networks. Archived from the original on November 16, 2018. Retrieved June 21, 2014.
  3. ^ "Idina Menzel: Streisand, Hamlisch and me". The Jewish Chronicle. October 4, 2012. Retrieved June 29, 2014. [...]she is convinced her father—Stuart Mentzel (she changed the surname to make the pronunciation easier)—had singing potential.
  4. ^ "'Let It Go' Helps Idina Menzel Make Hot 100 History". Billboard. Retrieved April 11, 2016.
  5. ^ Neumaier, Joe (November 15, 2005). "Rent Control. One part original, one part newcomer". Daily News. Retrieved March 17, 2014.
  6. ^ Ankeny, Jason. "Idina Menzel Idina Menzel". Allmusic.com. Retrieved November 14, 2014.
  7. ^ a b c Lovece, Frank (November 15, 2019). "Idina Menzel talks her LI school days, 'Frozen II,' more". Newsday. New York City / Long Island. Archived from the original on November 16, 2019. Retrieved November 19, 2010.
  8. ^ Weber, Bruce (October 26, 2003). "The Wicked Young Witches". The New York Times. p. 3. Retrieved November 13, 2014.
  9. ^ a b Kachka, Boris (October 23, 2005). "Something Wicked This Way Comes". New York. Retrieved February 18, 2008.
  10. ^ Susman, Gary (December 6, 2004). "Witch Hunt". Entertainment Weekly.
  11. ^ Lewis, Barry (July 31, 2010). "Broadway sensation Menzel has Catskill roots". Times Herald-Record.
  12. ^ Bloom, Nate (December 22, 2014). "All those Holiday/Christmas Songs: So Many Jewish Songwriters!". Jewish World Review.
  13. ^ "Jew of the Week: Idina Menzel | Jew of the Week". Jewoftheweek.net. Retrieved March 28, 2020.
  14. ^ Bigus, Ruth Baum (November 3, 2011). "'Wicked' and 'Glee' star flies into Kansas City for benefit". The Kansas City Jewish Chronicle. Archived from the original on August 10, 2017.
  15. ^ Saslow, Linda (November 27, 2005). "Revolving Roles". The New York Times. Retrieved November 13, 2014. Mr. Pascal ... graduated from Syosset High School in 1988.... [In 1995] he got a call from a friend and former Syosset classmate, Idina Menzel....
  16. ^ Cairns, Dan (August 31, 2008). "Idina Menzel: from Broadway belter to pop star". The Times. London. Retrieved August 31, 2008.(subscription required)
  17. ^ Boyle, Kelly. "Menzel delivers a Wicked good performance". Boston Music Spotlight. Archived from the original on November 29, 2014. Retrieved November 15, 2013.
  18. ^ "Noted Alumni". New York University Tisch School of the Arts. Archived from the original on November 13, 2019. Retrieved November 13, 2019.
  19. ^ Ouzounian, Richard (November 29, 2005). "Gig was weddings before Rent called; Menzel's big voice 'discovered' at age 5". The Toronto Star. Retrieved March 6, 2008.
  20. ^ "Irish Eurovision Winners DVD: Interviews with Jimmy Walsh and Niamh Kavanagh". Rokit Entertainment. December 12, 2017. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
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  22. ^ a b "Idina Menzel – Biography". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved October 13, 2020.
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  26. ^ "Idina Menzel highlights casting for Nero". Powerhouse Theatre. Vassar College. June 30, 2008. Retrieved July 26, 2008.
  27. ^ Idina Menzel to Return to Broadway Next Spring in a New Musical. The New York Times. February 28, 2013.
  28. ^ New Musical If/Then, Starring Tony Winner Idina Menzel, Will Arrive at Broadway's Richard Rodgers Theatre in March 2014.
  29. ^ 2014 Tony Award Nominations - The Complete List; 'A Gentleman's Guide' Leads With 10! broadwayworld.com, Retrieved April 30, 2014
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  32. ^ I Stand (CD). Idina Menzel. Warner Bros and Reprise. 2008. p. 1. 2061-62638
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  34. ^ Gans, Andrew (November 27, 2008). "Macy's Parade Features White Christmas, In the Heights, South Pacific, Hair, and Mermaid". Playbill. Archived from the original on September 9, 2012. [...]and Tony winner Idina Menzel will offer "I Stand" on the M&M's on Broadway float.
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  44. ^ "Ariana Grande & Idina Menzel to Receive Honors at 2014 Billboard Women in Music Awards". Billboard.
  45. ^ "Idina Menzel to sing National Anthem at Super Bowl". NFL.com. NFL. Retrieved January 16, 2015.
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  47. ^ Yang, Rachel (January 23, 2020). "Most memorable Super Bowl national anthem performances, from Whitney Houston to Christina Aguilera – Idina Menzel, Super Bowl XLIX (2015)". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 25, 2020. [Menzel] showed off her spectacular voice, although some viewers questioned her stylistic choices, like speeding up certain parts of the anthem.
  48. ^ a b Velasco, Schuyler (February 1, 2015). "Idina Menzel: Are the best singers best for the national anthem?". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved October 25, 2020.
  49. ^ Papadatos, Markos (February 1, 2015). "Review: Tony winner Idina Menzel nails national anthem at Super Bowl". The Digital Journal. Retrieved October 25, 2020.
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  61. ^ Honeycutt, Kirk (November 18, 2007). "Enchanted". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 25, 2020.
  62. ^ Lane, Jim (November 22, 2007). "Enchanted". Sacramento News & Review. Retrieved October 25, 2020.
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  65. ^ "Glee's Lea Michele and On-Screen Mother Idina Menzel Sing 'Somewhere'". Running Lip. Mersion Media. September 26, 2011. Retrieved September 26, 2011.
  66. ^ Breznican, Anthony (June 11, 2012). "Disney's 'Frozen': Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel to voice animated tale". Entertainment Weekly.
  67. ^ "Star-Studded Voice Cast Unveiled For Disney And Square Enix's Kingdom Hearts III" (Press release). Square Enix. PR Newswire. September 26, 2018. Archived from the original on September 26, 2018. Retrieved September 26, 2018.
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  71. ^ Asl, Nasim (December 13, 2013). "Frozen Melts Viewers' Hearts". The Oxford Student. Retrieved December 15, 2013.
  72. ^ VIDEO: Idina Menzel, Julie Andrews Talk Frozen on B'way, SOM, Adele Dazeem & More broadwayworld.com, Retrieved May 5, 2014
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  79. ^ Weinstein, Shelly. "Idina Menzel to Star in Comedy From Ellen DeGeneres" Variety, January 30, 2015
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  118. ^ "Idina Menzel, Elton John and More 'Give a Damn' Against Hate Crimes". Broadway.com. October 5, 2010.
  119. ^ The Give A Damn Campaign Launches Celebrity T-shirt Project Presented By Van Gogh Vodka Archived August 6, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, wegiveadamn.org
  120. ^ "Idina Menzel Joins NOH8 Campaign's Gay Rights Protest". On Top Magazine. March 21, 2012.
  121. ^ "PHOTOS: James Franco, Idina Menzel, and Fran Drescher Get Into the Easter Bonnet Competition". Queerty. April 28, 2014.
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  124. ^ Avalanche Software. Disney Infinity 2.0: Marvel Super Heroes. Scene: Closing credits, 2:55 in, Featuring the Voice Talents of.
  125. ^ Avalanche Software. Disney Infinity 3.0. Scene: Closing credits, 5:29 in, Featuring the Voice Talents of.
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External links[edit]