Whether on stage or screen, Idina Menzel’s unequivocal signature talents have shone through countless projects across her almost 30-year career.
She was born in Manhattan and grew up on Long Island, where her vocal chops appeared early. “I’ve been singing and acting and running around putting on shows in my living room since I was a little girl,” she has said. By age 15, she’d already begun working as a wedding and bar/bat mitzvah singer, a job she continued while attending New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, eventually earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in drama.
Idina’s life changed forever in 1995, when she earned her first professional theater job with Jonathan Larson’s ground-breaking musical Rent. The show premiered Off-Broadway at New York Theatre Workshop in January 1996 before transferring to Broadway’s Nederlander Theatre, where it became a cultural phenomenon. For her role as performance artist Maureen, Idina was nominated for her first Tony Award®, for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical.
It was after leaving Rent that Idina had her first brush with the worlds of Disney—recording her 1998 debut solo album Still I Can’t Be Still for Hollywood Records. In the years following, she also appeared on Broadway as Amneris in Disney Theatrical Group’s Aida.
In 2003, she defied gravity—literally and figuratively—when she starred as Elphaba in Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holzman’s musical Wicked, earning a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical.
Increasingly popular stage work has meant a transition to screens big and small—including several seasons as Shelby Corcoran on 20th Century Television’s Glee; a turn on ABC’s Private Practice; and costarring in Disney’s Enchanted (2007) as Nancy Tremaine, the girlfriend of Patrick Dempsey’s Robert Philip, who winds up getting caught in her own new fairy tale romance. And then in 2013 came Frozen…
Idina gave voice to Elsa, the conflicted queen of Arendelle who has to “let it go” and learn to love again, for Walt Disney Animation Studios’ global phenomenon. Frozen later won Oscars® for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song—for Elsa’s anthem, “Let It Go,” written by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez. The film became the fifth highest-grossing film of all time… And “Let It Go” became an international sensation, reaching No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. “People always ask me if I get tired of singing ‘Let It Go,’” Idina has said. “I don’t… It’s a reminder of this incredible experience in my life. It’s an opportunity to connect with young people in this really special way, and to sing about really important themes about self-empowerment.”
Idina reprised her role as Elsa in several Frozen-related shorts, including Frozen Fever (2015) and Olaf’s Frozen Adventure (2017). A feature-length sequel, Frozen 2, smashed more box office records when it was released in 2019. She can also be heard as Elsa in LEGO® Disney Frozen: Northern Lights (2016), Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018), and several video games.
Disney TV credits include Disneyland 60: The Wonderful World of Disney (2015), Mickey’s 90th Spectacular (2018), The Disney Family Singalong: Volume II (2020), and the recent Disney+ livestream Harmonious Live! Soon, Idina will be seen in Disenchanted—the much-anticipated feature film follow-up to Enchanted, premiering later this year on Disney+.
Her original song “Dream Girl,” from 2021’s Cinderella, recently made it to the Oscars’ Best Original Song short list. Up next, Idina will add author to her resume with the release of her first children’s picture book, Loud Mouse, which she co-wrote with her sister, Cara Mentzel. From Disney Publishing, the book is centered around self-acceptance and the importance of being true to yourself.
Along with performing, philanthropy is of paramount importance to Idina. In 2010, she co- founded A BroaderWay Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to offering girls from underserved communities an outlet for self-expression and creativity and to develop leadership skills through arts-centered programs. Variety magazine recognized Idina in 2014 as one of their Power of Women honorees for her work with the organization. She has also consistently championed LGBTQIA+ rights, partnering with groups including The Trevor Project, the “Give A Damn” campaign for Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors Fund, and the NOH8 Campaign.