Birth Name: Idina Kim Mentzel (pronounced “uh-DEE-nah men-ZELLE”)
Birthday: May 30, 1971
Birth Place: New York City, USA
Husband: Taye Diggs (2003-2013)
Children: Walker Nathaniel Diggs
Parents: Stuart and Helene Mentzel
Siblings: Cara (younger sister)
Tony Award-winning Broadway star Idina Menzel has a diverse career on the stage, in film and television, and in music.
Menzel currently stars as the voice of Elsa in Disney’s animated smash Frozen. The film’s Golden Globe and Academy Award nominated single “Let it Go” topped the singles charts around the globe and has been certified platinum. Menzel will perform the hit song live at the 86th annual Academy Awards on March 2, 2014. Coming on the heels of her Oscar debut is her highly anticipated return to Broadway in the original new musical If/Then, written by Pulitzer-Prize winners Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey.
Garnering huge critical acclaim, Menzel reached superstardom on Broadway with her Tony Award-winning performance as Elphaba, the misunderstood green girl, in the blockbuster Wicked and in her Tony-nominated role as Maureen in the revolutionary Rent. Menzel also appeared as Sheila in the Encores! production of Hair and starred as Amneris in Broadway’s Aida. In London, she originated the role of Elphaba in the West End production of Wicked and received the Theatregoers Choice Award for Best Actress in a Musical. Other Off-Broadway credits include Michael John LaChiusa’s musical See What I Wanna See, directed by Ted Sperling at The Public Theater, the pre-Broadway production of Rent, and The Vagina Monologues.
Lauded for her strong yet emotional performances, Menzel recently concluded a highly successful international tour. Accompanied by world-renowned symphonies, she played to sold-out audiences and demonstrated why she is one of the great performers of her time, earning her second Theatregoers Choice Award for Best Solo Performance in 2013. The Denver Post dubbed her “The Streisand of her generation,” while The New York Times praised her as “an entertainer with a phenomenal voice…Diana Ross with ten times the stamina and lung power.” As part of her tour, Menzel’s live concert at The Royal Conservatory’s Koerner Hall in Toronto, Canada was recorded for her CD and DVD entitled, Idina Menzel Live: Barefoot at the Symphony, led by legendary composer/conductor Marvin Hamlisch. The concert aired internationally, including a PBS special in the United States. A skillful songwriter, Menzel also performs and records her own music. Her albums include I Stand, produced by Glen Ballard, Home, and Still I Can’t Be Still.
Menzel’s film credits include Disney’s romantic fable, Enchanted, where she appeared opposite Susan Sarandon, Patrick Dempsey and Amy Adams; Rent, in which she reprised her role as Maureen; and a co-starring role in Robert Towne’s Ask the Dust, opposite Salma Hayek and Colin Farrell. Menzel’s television credits include a recurring role on Glee, Fox’s smash hit series, as fan-favorite Shelby Corcoran, Rachel’s biological mother. She has also appeared on Private Practice, Kevin Hill, and Rescue Me!
Philanthropy is also important to Menzel who created the A BroaderWay Foundation in 2010 with her husband Taye Diggs. This organization is dedicated to offering girls from underserved communities an outlet for self-expression and creativity through arts-centered programs. The emphasis is on building self-esteem, developing leadership qualities and striving for personal and social achievement. For more information, visit www.abroaderway.org.
PLAYBILL BIOGRAPHY (2014 – If/Then)
Idina Menzel made her Broadway debut as Maureen in the Tony and Pulitzer Prize Winner, Rent, for which she received a Tony Award nomination. She followed that with her Tony Award-winning performance as Elphaba in Wicked, which she subsequently brought to London’s West End. Other New York stage work includes See What I Wanna See (Public), The Wild Party (MTC) and Hair (Encores!). Menzel’s voice can be heard in the Disney animated musical Frozen, singing the Oscar-winning song “Let It Go.” She reprised her performance of Maureen in Chris Columbus’ film version of Rent and has appeared in movies as diverse as Enchanted and Ask the Dust. On television, Menzel had a recurring role over multiple seasons of “Glee” and has guest starred in numerous other shows. She starred in her own PBS special, “Barefoot at the Symphony,” with an accompanying live album of the same name. Menzel’s highly successful international concert tour recently included a sold-out performance at Carnegie Hall. In addition to cast albums, Menzel’s prolific recording career includes the solo albums Barefoot at the Symphony, I Stand, Here and Still I Can’t Be Still.
PLAYBILL BIOGRAPHY (2003 – Wicked)
Idina made her Broadway debut as one of the original cast members in Rent, receiving a Tony nomination for her portrayal of Maureen. She also earned a Drama Desk nomination for her performance as Kate in MTC’s The Wild Party. She originated the role of Dorothy in Summer of ’42 at Goodspeed, starred as Sheila in the Encores! production of Hair and appeared on Broadway as Amneris in Aida. Other Off-Broadway credits include Rent and The Vagina Monologues. In film, she has appeared in Summer of Sam, Still a Kiss, Kissing Jessica Stein, Tollbooth and Water. She performed at the 1998 Lilith Fair summer concert festival, had her debut album Still I Can’t Be Still released on Hollywood Records and continues to write and perform original music. Idina holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She would like to thank her friends, family and husband for their love and support.