Idina Kim Menzel (born Idina Kim Mentzel, May 30, 1971) is a Broadway icon born in New York City, New York. Her breakout role came in the form of Maureen in RENT, which earned her a Tony nomination for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical. She went on to reprise her role in the 2005 movie adaptation. Later, she won a Tony for playing the main character of Wicked, Elphaba, opposite Kristin Chenoweth's Glinda. She was nominated for a Tony for a third time for playing the main character of If/Then.
After Wicked, she began her screen acting career; she played Nancy in Enchanted and played Shelby Corcoran, who went on to be a recurring character, on Glee. However, her best-known screen role is Queen Elsa of Arendelle in Disney's Frozen franchise.
She was formerly married to her RENT costar Taye Diggs, with whom she has a son; they divorced in December 2014. She has been married since 2017 to Aaron Lohr, whom she costarred with in the 2005 film adaptation of RENT as well as an Off-Broadway production of See What I Wanna See.
- RENT (1994/1996 Broadway) as Maureen Johnson (original)
- Aida (2001 Broadway) as Amneris
- Wicked (2003 Broadway, 2006 West End) as Elphaba (original)
- If/Then (2014) as Elizabeth Vaughan (original)
- Kissing Jessica Stein (2001) as Bridesmaid
- RENT (2005) as Maureen Johnson
- Enchanted (2007) as Nancy Tremaine
- Glee (2010 — 2013) as Shelby Corcoran
- Frozen as Elsa (voice and songs):
- Beaches (2017) as C.C. Bloom
- Uncut Gems (2019) as Dinah Ratner
- Cinderella (2021) as Vivian
- Still I Can't Be Still (1998)
- Here (2004)
- I Stand (2008)
- Live: Barefoot at the Symphony (2012)
- Holiday Wishes (2014)
- idina. (2016)
- Christmas: A Season of Love (2018)
Her roles provide examples of:
- Actor Allusion: On her Christmas: A Season of Love album in 2019, "We Wish You the Merriest" is a duet between Idina and Josh Gad (Olaf). So in the bridge between the first and second verses:Gad: Look at us, Idina, we're like Barbara, and Bette, and Cher
We're like Crosby and Hope, Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney
Or Elsa, and Olaf
- Actor-Inspired Element: As is widely documented, Elsa was originally written to be a villain. "Let It Go" was her Villain Song, after she embraced a Then Let Me Be Evil attitude. When Idina recorded the song, she sang it with such a yearning vulnerability that the directors were compelled to change Elsa to a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds who only has good intentions.
- Ascended Fancast: During the first season of Glee it was long noted that Lea Michele (Rachel) resembled Menzel, and that Menzel should play Rachel's mom. It eventually was revealed that Shelby (Idina's character) was Rachel's biological mother.
- Ascended Meme: The infamous "Adele Dazeem" gaffe made by John Travolta at the 2014 Oscars when he misread Idina's name was added to the playbills for her new play If/Then, listing her as the star of Farfignugen and Nert. Has also become a Running Gag to claim it was "Adele Dazeem" singing when Idina doesn't hit every note in a song.
- Dawson Casting:
- Menzel was 25 when she first played Maureen in RENT on Broadway and 34 when she reprised her role in the movie adaptation. Maureen (and the majority of the show's main characters) are written as being in their early twenties, so by the time the movie was filmed, Menzel was no longer the right age. (The same goes for all the members of the original cast who reprised their roles for the film).
- She starred in Wicked at age 33, playing Elphaba as a college freshman in the first act; however, Act 2 takes place many years after Act 1, so most of the actors who have played Elphaba have been in their late 20s or early 30s anyway.
- Heaven Above: Her song "I Stand" includes the lyric "I don't know if the sky is Heaven, but I pray anyway." Menzel seems to find any non-vertical prayer entirely ludicrous, in large part because of this ancient connection between the sky and the divine.
- "I Am Becoming" Song: "Defying Gravity". "Let It Go". She belted them both out of the park.
- Ink-Suit Actor: Her guest spot as Circe on Hercules: The Animated Series and as Nancy in the animated portion of Enchanted. To a lesser extent, the shape of Elsa's eyes and mouth are based on Menzel's own face.
- Irony as She Is Cast:
- Large Ham: In terms of her singing, her most beloved songs ("Defying Gravity", "Let It Go," and "Into the Unknown") include moments where she really belts it out.
- Romance on the Set: She met her ex-husband Taye Diggs on the set of Rent. They also starred together in Wickednote and The Wild Party.
- Sequel Gap: Her 2014 album "Holiday Wishes" was released six years after her previous album.
- Separated-at-Birth Casting: She was cast as Rachel's mother on Glee mainly because she bears a striking resemblance to Rachel's actor, Lea Michele.
- Star-Making Role: Rent gave her a following, Wicked pushed her into the public spotlight, and Frozen made her a cultural phenomenon. She even commented on the latter when she was told that songs in musicals just didn't get radio airplay anymore, and now "Let It Go" is a radio hit that includes "frozen fractals" in the lyrics, all thanks to playing Elsa. It's especially impressive because it was Menzel's own in-movie version of the song that hit it big, not the over-the-credits version by Demi Lovato. Usually with Disney hits it's the pop-music cover version at the end of the movie (see Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King) that would get radio airplay.
- Those Two Actors: With Anthony Rapp, Adam Pascal, Lea Michele, Jonathan Groff, Kristin Chenoweth, and Kerry Ellis.