Discover: Idina Menzel

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Everybody knows the name Idina Menzel because she’s the voice of Elsa in Frozen…

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^^^ Elsa working that dress ^^^

But do people really know Idina before Frozen? I’m not so sure!

Just to be clear, Frozen is an animated movie from Disney that has generated $1 billion in global ticket sales since November 22nd!!! And then on March 30th, Frozen became the HIGHEST-GROSSING ANIMATED MOVIE OF ALL TIME with $1.072 billion to date!

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Frozen surpassed Disney’s Toy Story 3 which makes it the first billion-dollar movie to come out of Disney Animation Studios!

If Frozen continues scoring big overseas, it could knock The Dark Knight Rises ($1.084 billion) down a notch…if that gives you any idea of how amazing this film has been for Disney! 😀

After incredible success for this Disney film, it only goes to show that Idina Menzel has now become a household name for many homes with young children!

But who is she really? and what is her background?

IDINA MENZEL FACT SHEET

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Name: Idina Menzel

Birthday: May 30th, 1971 (age 42)

Hometown: Queens, New York

Musical past: When she was 15 years old, her parents divorced and she began working as a wedding and bar mitzvah singer. She continued that job throughout her time at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts where she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Drama.

Marital status: Married to actor Taye Diggs for 10 years and recently separated in the end of 2013 due to allegations of cheating by Taye. The couple is headed towards divorce 😦

Ninth Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards - Backstage and AudienceTaye & Idina in happier times :/

Children: 1 son named Walker Nathaniel Diggs (4 years & 7 months old)

Fun fact: She changed the spelling of her surname to Menzel to better reflect the pronunciation that her Jewish family “the Mentzels” had adopted in America.

 

IDINA’S CAREER PATH: 

1995: Idina auditioned for the Broadway musical “Rent”, which became her first professional theatre 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.

poster_maureenIdina as Maureen Johnson in the original cast of “Rent”

Idina received a Tony nomination as Best Featured Actress in a Musical losing to Ann Duquesnay for Bring in ‘da Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk. But hey! It’s still an honor to be nominated! 😉

July 1, 1997: Her final performance in the musical “Rent”

tumblr_l47wdsYOUF1qcoideo1_500Notice a familiar face? Yes that’s Taye Diggs…Idina & Taye met on the set of Rent!

September 15, 1998: Idina released her debut solo album “Still I Can’t Be Still” VIA Hollywood Records

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2003: Idina starred alongside Kristin Chenoweth on Broadway in “Wicked”

February 24, 2004: Idina released her second album “Here” VIA Zel Records

idina-menzel-hereJune 6, 2004: Idina received the Tony Award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical for her portrayal of Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West.

1a3b4d077f59ce75abaf182b0dc2518cOh the tears! 🙂

January 8, 2005: Idina fell through a trap door and cracked a lower rib which prevented her from performing in her final show on January 9! 😦 However she did make a special out-of-costume appearance at that performance, performed her final song, and received a 5 minute standing ovation!

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December 2005: The off-Broadway production of “See What I Wanna See” ended and Idina received a Drama Desk Award and Drama League Award nominations.

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September 7, 2006: Idina reprised her Tony Award-winning role as Elphaba in the West End production of Wicked at London’s Apollo Victoria Theatre. During her run, she was the highest-paid female performer in the West End at $30,000 per week! 😀 Idina finished her West End run on December 30, 2006.

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2007: Idina was on the Beowulf soundtrack singing the end credits song, “A Hero Comes Home” and in the same year she lent her voice to X-Factor runner-up Rhydian Roberts on his debut album for a song called “What If”.

January 29, 2008Idina’s third solo album, “I Stand” was released and debuted at #58 in the Billboard 200, making it the first solo album by Menzel to make the charts!

p1uzh53qyzay35yuI own this album and it’s AMAZING! 😀

April 1, 2008: Idina started her 2008-2009 “I Stand Tour” in support of her new album performing four sold-out legs of the tour!

May 12-13, 2008: Menzel played the role of Florence in the 21st-anniversary concert of “Chess” at the Royal Albert Hall in London with fellow cast members Kerry Ellis, Adam Pascal, and Josh Groban!

May 18, 2010: Idina played Rachel’s biological mother in the “Dream On” episode of Glee!

October 6, 2011: Idina returned to London to perform a one night only concert in the London at the Royal Albert Hall with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the famous Marvin Hamlisch conducting!

March 2012: “Idina Menzel Live: Barefoot at the Symphony” was released as a live CD and DVD and aired on PBS!

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January 2013: “The show must go on” and it did for Idina in January after an original date for her debut at Carnegie Hall was set for October 29, 2012. It was postponed due to Hurricane Sandy and rescheduled for January 13, 2013.

idina-popupIdina with a little help from two audience members! 😀

June 2013: Idina toured Australia with shows in South Australia, Melbourne, Brisbane and two at the Sydney Opera House!

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November 2013: Idina Menzel voiced the character of Queen Elsa in the Disney-animated film Frozen and the movie was released to theaters on November 22nd.

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She received praise from film critics, who focused on her performance of “Let It Go”.

November 2013: Idina made her return to the Broadway stage, starring as Elizabeth in the new musical “If/Then”. The musical had its world premiere at the National Theatre in Washington, D.C., starting with previews on November 5, 2013 through November 24, 2013.

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March 2, 2014: Idina performed “Let It Go” on the 86th Annual Academy Awards

Now it wouldn’t be a blog about Idina without mentioning John Travolta…it was the shot heard ’round the world the next day about how he butchered her name and called her “Adele Dazeem” although Idina claims that John has apologized profusely and even wrote her a “gorgeous email” so she agreed to ‘let it go’ 😉

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March 4, 2014: “If/Then” moved to Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway with previews and then officially opened on March 30, 2014.

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So as you see, Idina is a girl that rules Broadway and thanks to “Let It Go” has scored the #5 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart! The peak position for that song is #5 and I’d love to see it become her first #1.

I got the chance to see Idina on her I Stand tour and she was wonderful! Such a class act and a very funny lady! 🙂

I’m sorry to hear about her divorce and I hope everything works out for the best in her personal life!!

I hope to see Idina going strong in the music world even after “Let It Go” fades out.

She deserves to have a really successful album with a voice as powerful as hers! 😀

To roll out this week’s Discovery day…here is my favorite version of “Let It Go”:

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