Idina Kim Menzel (/ɪˈdiːnə mɛnˈzɛl/; born Idina Kim Mentzel; May 30, 1971) is an American actress and singer.
Menzel rose to prominence when she originated the role of Maureen Johnson in the Broadway musical Rent, a performance for which she earned a Tony Award nomination in 1996. Menzel returned to the role in the musical’s 2005 feature film adaptation. In 2004, Menzel won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her performance as Elphaba in the original production of Wicked. Menzel returned to Broadway in the 2014 production of If/Then, earning her third Tony nomination. She was honored later that year with the Breakthrough Artist Award at the Billboard Women in Music Awards.
Menzel is also known as the voice of Queen Elsa in the 2013 Disney film Frozen. Additionally, she portrayed the recurring role of Shelby Corcoran on the Fox musical comedy-drama TV series Glee, as well as Nancy in the 2007 Disney film Enchanted. Holiday Wishes (2014), her first album in six years, reached number six on the Billboard 200 albums chart. Menzel is the only competitive Tony Award-winning actress to ever reach the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100. Menzel began an ongoing world concert tour in May 2015 and is to do a national tour of If/Then starting in October 2015. She will reprise in her role of Elizabeth in selected cities.
Menzel’s birthplace is varyingly reported as either Queens or Syosset, New York. She grew up in Syosset, the daughter of Helene, a therapist, and Stuart Mentzel, a pajama salesman. She has a younger sister named Cara. Menzel’s family is Jewish, and her grandparents emigrated from Russia and elsewhere in Eastern Europe.
When Menzel was 15 years old, her parents divorced and she began working as a wedding and bar mitzvah singer, a job which she continued throughout her time at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Menzel attended Syosset High School.
She changed the spelling of her surname to Menzel to better reflect the pronunciation the Mentzel family had adopted in America.
She was friends with actor Adam Pascal before they worked together in Rent
Menzel married actor Taye Diggs on January 11, 2003. They met in 1995 during the original production of Rent, in which Diggs portrayed the role of Benjamin Coffin III, the landlord. They have a son, Walker Nathaniel Diggs, born on September 2, 2009. In late 2013, it was reported that Menzel and Diggs had separated after ten years of marriage. Their divorce was finalized on December 3, 2014.
In her appearance at the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner in April 2015, Menzel brought actor Aaron Lohr as her date and are now currently in a relationship. In August 2015, Menzel and Lohr bought a home located in Encino, Los Angeles, California in which they plan to live together. They both starred in the 2005 film adaptation of the Tony and Pulitzer Prize winning Broadway musical Rent as well as the off-broadway musical See What I Wanna See.
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.”