Idina Kim Menzel (born Idina Kim Mentzel on May 30, 1971 in New York City) is a Jewish American actress, singer and songwriter who is best known for her Tony Award-winning performance in Wicked and her Tony-nominated performance in Rent.
Beginning in high school and throughout college, Menzel often played and sang at weddings. She grew up in Syosset, New York and graduated from Syosset High School. Menzel holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Drama from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.
While in Rent, Menzel met her future husband, actor Taye Diggs, who played the role of Benny. The two were married on January 11, 2003. The couple was nicknamed 'Tidina' by Rentheads, or avid Rent fans.
Her professional life changed greatly when she auditioned for a rock musical based upon Puccini's La Bohème. That show, the late Jonathan Larson's Rent, was Menzel's Broadway debut. For her performance as Maureen Johnson in the original cast of the 1996 musical she received a Tony nomination as Best Featured Actress in a Musical. She left the show on July 1, 1997.
Following the success of Rent, she 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.
Menzel appeared on Broadway in Wicked, the musical by Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holzman that was based upon the popular 1995 Gregory Maguire novel. She received the 2004 Tony Award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical for her portrayal of Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West. During a matinee performance of Wicked on January 8, 2005, she fell through a trap door and cracked a lower rib. The January 8 show was supposed to be her third-to-last performance of Wicked, but the injury prevented her from performing in the January 9 show. Menzel did, however, make a special out-of-costume appearance at that performance, performed her final song, and received a standing ovation.
Menzel recently appeared off-Broadway in the Public Theater's production of See What I Wanna See, a controversial Michael John LaChiusa-penned musical whose run ended in December 2005. For her role as various characters, she received Drama Desk Award and Drama League Award nominations.
Menzel's film roles include appearances in Just a Kiss, Kissing Jessica Stein, Tollbooth, Water, Ask the Dust, and Rent, in which she and five other original cast members reprised their stage roles. She also made an appearance in the movie Camp, which features a cameo appearance by legendary Broadway composer Stephen Sondheim.
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. Her sophomore album, Here, was released by Zel Records in 2004. Menzel has contributed to soundtracks, including those for the film The Other Sister and the ABC television dramedy Desperate Housewives.
Singer Ray Charles invited Menzel to duet with him on one of the tracks of his album Genius & Friends. The tracks were recorded in 1998 but were never produced, and it was one of his dying wishes that the album be made, a wish which was fulfilled posthumously.
Menzel has appeared on the cast recordings of Rent and Wicked, two of the best-selling cast recordings, as well as the recordings of Lippa's The Wild Party and LaChiusa's See What I Wanna See, and the soundtrack of the film Rent. She recently signed a record deal with Warner Bros. Records.
In 2006, she filmed the movie Enchanted, due in theatres in November 2007.
- RENT (1996)....as Maureen Johnson (Original Cast)
- The Wild Party (2000)....as Kate
- Summer of '42 (2000)....as Dorothy
- Aida (2001)....as Princess Amneris
- Hair (2001)....as Sheila
- The Vagina Monologues (2002)....Performer
- Wicked (2003)....as Elphaba Thropp (Original Cast)
- See What I Wanna See (2005)....as Kesa/The Wife (Lily)/The Actress (Deanna)
- Wicked (London Production) (2006)....as Elphaba Thropp (Original Cast)
- Kissing Jessica Stein (2001)....as Bridesmaid
- Just a Kiss (2002)....as Linda
- The Tollbooth (2004)....as Raquel Cohen-Flaxman
- RENT (2005)....as Maureen Johnson
- Ask The Dust (2006)....as Vera Rifkin
- Enchanted (2007)....as Nancy
- Rent - Original Broadway Cast (1996)
- The Wild Party - Original Off-Broadway Cast (2000)
- Wicked - Original Broadway Cast (2003)
- See What I Wanna See - Original Off-Broadway Cast (2005)
- Still I Can't Be Still (1998)
- Here (2004)
- TBA (2007)
- The Other Sister (1998)
- Desperate Housewives (2005)
- Rent (2005)
- Genius and Friends (2005)
- Disney's Enchanted Soundtrack (2007)
Nominations & AwardsEdit
See What I Wanna SeeEdit
- 2006 Drama Desk Award (Best Lead Actress in a Musical)
- 2006 Drama League Award (Distinguished Performance)
Rent: The MovieEdit
- 2005 Northeastern Critics Award (Best Supporting Actress)
- 2005 Northeastern Critics Award]] (Best Ensemble)
- 2005 Broadcast Film Critics Award (Best Ensemble)
- 2005 Washington Film Critics Award (Best Ensemble)
- 2004 Tony Award (Best Lead Actress in a Musical) WINNER
- 2004 Drama Desk Award (Best Lead Actress in a Musical)
- 2004 Outer Critics Circle Award (Best Lead Actress in a Musical)
- 2004 Drama League Award (Distinguished Performance)
- 2004 Broadway.com Audience Award (Best Lead Actress in a Musical) WINNER
- 2004 Broadway.com Audience Award (Best Diva Performance) WINNER
- 2004 Broadway.com Audience Award (Best Onstage Pair) WINNER (with Kristin Chenoweth)
- 2004 Broadwayworld.com Theater Fans' Award (Best Lead Actress in a Musical) WINNER
The Wild PartyEdit
- 2000 Drama Desk Award (Best Featured Actress in a Musical)
- 1996 Tony Award (Best Featured Actress in a Musical)
- Idina Menzel - Official site.
- MusicMoz: Idina Menzel - Submissions for music related information.
- IBDB: Idina Menzel - Broadway credits, nominations and awards from the Internet Broadway Database.
- 2006 Interview with Idina Menzel on Theatre.com
- IMDb: Idina Menzel - Filmography, mini-biography, and photos from the Internet Movie Database.
- Idina Menzel ~ HERE - Fan site, news, videos, audio, and photo gallery.
- So Beautiful, an Unofficial Fan Club - Large forum for Idina fans.