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Creator / Idina Menzel

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"You can't be the vulnerable, transparent, raw person required to be an artist, and then cover that stuff up and meet the world with some kind of armor on. It just doesn't go."
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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 that role in the 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.

Had a recurring role in Glee as Shelby Corcoran and is currently best known as the voice of Queen Elsa of Arendelle in Disney's Frozen, songs included. She was formerly married to 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.

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Selected theatre:

  • 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)

Selected filmography:

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Discography:


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 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 never does anything wrong.
  • Ascended Meme:
    • On Glee it was long noted that Lea Michele (Rachel) resembled her. It eventually was revealed that Shelby (Idina's character) was Rachel's biological mother.
    • 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:
    • In Frozen (2013), a 42-year-old Menzel voices 21-year-old Elsa, with a nine year age gap between her and her onscreen sister - Kristen Bell - who was 33 years old when voicing 18-year-old Anna.
    • She reprises her role as Maureen in the film version of RENT - a full ten years after the show's heyday.
    • She starred in Wicked at age 33, playing Elphaba as a college freshman in the first act.
  • 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. Obviously also as Nancy in the animated portion of Enchanted. To a less extent, the shape of Elsa's eyes and mouth and the way her mouth forms words being based on Menzel's natural speaking voice.
  • Irony as She Is Cast:
    • Nancy Tremaine in Enchanted doesn't sing at allnote . Menzel said she felt flattered to be hired only for her acting talents.
    • Olaf's Frozen Adventure makes Elsa into a case of this since the story is about Elsa and Anna's first Christmas in Arendelle since the coronation, and Menzel is Jewish.
  • Large Ham: In terms of her singing, her most beloved songs ("Defying Gravity", "Let It Go," and "Into the Unknown") includes moments where she just belts it out.
  • Romance on the Set: She met her ex-husband Taye Diggs on the set of Rent. They also starred together in Wicked and The Wild Party.
  • Sequel Gap: Her 2014 album "Holiday Wishes" was released six years after her previous one.
  • Separated-at-Birth Casting: Her role as Rachel's mother on Glee was mainly because she resembled Lea Michele so much.
  • 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 and Adam Pascal, Lea Michele, Jonathan Groff, Kristin Chenoweth, Kerry Ellis.

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