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Idina Menzel

Real name: Idina Kim Mentzel
Birthdate: N/A
Status: Single
Partner: Taye Diggs (January 11, 2003 - present)

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Biography

Idina Menzel (born Idina Kim Mentzel on May 30, 1971 in New York City) is a Tony Award-winning American actress, singer and songwriter who is best known for her performances in Wicked and Rent.

Idina Menzel was born in Queens, New York to Stuart and Helene Mentzel in 1971. She grew up in Syosset, New York and earned a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree in Drama from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. She has a younger sister named Cara as well as two nephews.

Menzel started working as a wedding singer when she was 15 years old. At NYU she enrolled as a music major, later switching to the Drama program.

In 1996, Menzel auditioned for rock musical Rent, which became her Broadway debut. For her performance as Maureen Johnson in the original cast of the 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, Idina 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.

In 2003 Menzel starred alongside fellow actress and singer Kristin Chenoweth on Broadway in Wicked, a musical by Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holzman 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. On her third to last performance of Wicked on January 8, 2005, she fell through a trap door and cracked a lower rib. 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.

She reprised her Tony Award-winning role as Elphaba in the West End production of Wicked when it opened at the Apollo Victoria Theatre, London, 7 September 2006, and finished her run on December 30, 2006.

Menzel's film roles include appearances in Just a Kiss, Kissing Jessica Stein, Tollbooth, Water, Ask the Dust, and Rent, in which she and eleven other original cast members reprised their stage roles.

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. One single from the album, "Minuet," made the Radio & Records CHR/Pop Tracks chart at #48 in October 1998 (1). Her second 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.



 


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