|Birth Name||Idina Kim Mentzel|
|Born||May 30, 1971|
|Hometown||Queens, New York, U.S.|
|Genres||Broadway, Pop, Vocal|
- Some content has been taken from the English Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idina_Menzel
Idina Kim Menzel (30 May 1971) is a American Tony-Award winning singer, actress, and, song-writer. Born Idina Kim Mentzel, Menzel is best known for originating the roles of Elphaba in Wicked, and Maureen Johnson in RENT.
Menzel is married to cast mate from RENT, Taye Diggs. The couple got married in 2003, and had a son, Walker, in 2009.
Menzel was born in Queens, New York. Her mother, Helene, is a therapist, and her father, Stuart Mentzel, worked as a pajama salesman. Her family is Jewish. Her family lived in Marlboro Township, New Jersey from when she was in kindergarten to third grade, but she was raised in Syosset, New York, with her younger sister Cara, and later changed her last name to Menzel to better reflect the pronunciation the Mentzel family had adopted in America. 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. She earned a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree in Drama at NYU prior to being cast in Jonathan Larson's rock musical Rent. She was friends with actor Adam Pascal before they worked together in Rent.
In 1995, Menzel auditioned for Rent, which became her first professional theater job and her Broadway debut. Rent opened off-Broadway at the New York Theatre Workshop on January 26, 1996, but it moved to Broadway's Nederlander Theatre due to its popularity. For her performance as Maureen Johnson in the original cast of the musical, Menzel received a Tonynomination as Best Featured Actress in a Musical. Her final performance in the musical was on July 1, 1997.
Following the success of Rent, Menzel released her first solo album entitled Still I Can't Be Still on Hollywood Records, Menzel also originated the role of Dorothy in Summer of ’42 atGoodspeed 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 aDrama 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-Broadwaycredits include the pre-Broadway run of Rent and The Vagina Monologues.
In 2003, Menzel starred with 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. Menzel 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 second-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 5 minute long standing ovation. Menzel was replaced by Elphaba standbyShoshana Bean.
Following Wicked, Menzel appeared off-Broadway in the Public Theater's production of See What I Wanna See, a Michael John LaChiusa-penned musical whose run ended in December 2005, for which she received Drama Desk Award and Drama League Award nominations. She reprised her Tony Award-winning role as Elphaba in the West End production of Wickedwhen it opened at London's Apollo Victoria Theater on September 7, 2006. During her run, she was the highest paid female performer in the West End at $30,000 per week. Menzel finished her West End run on December 30, 2006. She was succeeded by Elphaba standby Kerry Ellis.
Menzel's film roles include appearances in Just a Kiss, Kissing Jessica Stein, The Tollbooth, Water, Ask the Dust, Enchanted, and Rent, in which she and five other original cast members reprised their stage roles. As a singer, Menzel is known for her wide vocal range and her use of the 'belt' technique.
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.
Her second album, Here, was released independently by Zel Records in 2004. Menzel has contributed to soundtracks, including those for the film The Other Sister and the ABCtelevision dramedy Desperate Housewives. She also appears on Ray Charles's album Genius and Friends, which was released in 2005, on the track "I Will Be There." In 2007, she appeared on the Beowulf soundtrack singing the end credits song, "A Hero Comes Home". Also in 2007, Menzel's powerful singing voice led her to be asked to accompany the baritoneBritish X-Factor runner-up Rhydian Roberts on his debut album, duetting on the song "What if".
Her third solo album, I Stand, was released on January 29, 2008. It includes many new songs, including the lead single, "Brave", the title track "I Stand", and a song released on EP, "Gorgeous". The album debuted at #58 in the Billboard 200, making it the first solo album by Menzel to make the charts. There are five versions of this album: the original version, the special limited edition, the iTunes version, the Barnes & Noble edition, and the Borders edition. Menzel wrote many of the songs on her album.
On April 1, 2008, Menzel kicked off her 2008-2009 "I Stand" tour in support of her new album performing 4 sold out legs. The concert at the Fredrick Rose Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City was filmed for the PBS series "Soundstage". Menzel was joined by special guests, superstar Josh Groban and saxophonist Ravi Coltrane.
On November 11, 2008, Menzel released a new single in conjunction with Koerner Hall. The single entitled "Hope" was written by Paul Hampton and all the songs proceeds go to Stand Up 2 Cancer.
Menzel has a recurring guest star role in the television series Glee, playing Shelby Corcoran, the coach of the rival glee club Vocal Adrenaline. When the series first premiered, Glee fans had noted a strong physical resemblance between Menzel and Lea Michele who portrays the character Rachel Berry. According to her husband, actor Taye Diggs, Menzel expressed interest in possibly guest starring as the biological mother of Rachel. The character was introduced in the April 13, 2010 episode "Hell-O", and it was revealed in the May 18, 2010 episode, "Dream On", that Shelby is, in fact, Rachel's biological mother, having answered an ad from Rachel's two gay dads looking for a 'mother' to help them have a baby. Lea Micheleand Idina Menzel sing "I Dreamed a Dream" from Les Misérables and "Poker Face" originally by Lady Gaga together. Menzel will be returning to Glee in Season 3 episode "I Am Unicorn", and will appear in at least 12 episodes. She will come back as a teacher causing trouble for Rachel, Quinn, Puck, and former flame Will Schuster.
On July 19, 2010, Menzel performed "Defying Gravity" and "What I Did For Love" in front of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at A Broadway Celebration: In Performance at the White House. The concert aired on PBS October 20, 2010.
In April 2010, Menzel returned to concert stage embarking on a tour with different Symphony Orchestras. Her tours included collaborations with the New York Philharmonic, The Boston Pops Orchestra, and the North Carolina Symphony. Menzel continues her Symphony tour throughout the United States. In October 2011, Menzel returned to London to perform a one night only concert in the UK at the Royal Albert Hall with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra with Marvin Hamlisch conducting. Menzel's upcoming concert stop in Toronto will be filmed atKoerner Hall on November 17th and 18th, 2011 for her second PBS special. She will be accompanied by the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony with Marvin Hamlisch conducting. The concert will also be recorded for a Live album set to be released in early 2012.
Menzel will be a part of a brand new musical drama series created by Bob Kushell on ABC about a single mother with a teenage daughter struggling to make ends meet by working at a diner and as a wedding singer, which Menzel actually worked as prior to Rent. The series is in development and is hopeful to be picked up for the Fall 2011 television season.
She has also said that she will be going back to the studio to work on new songs and is also looking into a PBS or other TV special based on her current concert work.
Menzel is married to actor Taye Diggs, her co-star from the original Broadway production of Rent. They have a son, Walker Nathaniel Diggs, born in 2009. They have a Yorkshire Terrier named Sammy Davis Jr. and two cats named Ella and Coltrane, also known as their "Jazz Cats" because they were named after jazz performers Ella Fitzgerald and John Coltrane.
Menzel was an Honorary Chair of the Imperial Court of New York's Annual Charity Coronation Ball, Night of A Thousand Gowns on March 21, 2009. Other Honorary Chairs for the evening's charity event included Sir Elton John CBE, Patti LuPone, John Cameron Mitchell, Joan Rivers and Dame Robin Strasser.
On May 17, 2009, Menzel performed at a special benefit concert in Atlanta, Georgia to raise money for the Pace Academy Diversity Program in coordination with the Ron ClarkAcademy. The event resulted in the funding of two scholarships for Ron Clark Academy students to attend Pace Academy. The event was organized and hosted by Philip McAdoo, a former Rent cast member and current Diversity Program Director at Pace Academy.
In 2010, Menzel founded the A BroaderWay Foundation with husband Taye Diggs as a means of supporting young people in the arts. A BroaderWay sponsors camp programs, theater workshops, innovative educational programming and offers scholarships and opportunities to experience professional performances. In Summer 2011, Camp BroaderWay welcomed young girls from under-served metro New York communities to a 10-day performing arts camp, run by Menzel and a team of acclaimed professional Broadway artists including Taye Diggs. During this camp the girls collaborated with Broadway artists to write an original musical that was performed at a theatre in New York. The camp took place at Belvoir Terrace Summer Camp in Lenox, MA.