The Jewish actress was born Idina Kim Mentzel on May 30, 1971 in Long Island, New York to a pajama salesman named Stuart Mentzel and his therapist wife, Helene. She has younger sister named Cara whom she grew up with in Syosset, N.Y. Menzel had been exposed to the wonderful world of performance since she was really young. At the age of 9 she had watched the popular musical 'Annie' and was impressed by the performance of its leading actress, Andrea McArdle. She became a fan of the production and often sang the songs featured in it to the top of her lungs. Seeing a potential and great will from her little daughter, Menzel's mom brought her to a singing teacher who quickly channeled her talent to useful traits. Menzel went on studying classical music and performed at weddings and bar mitzvahs. She also earned the help of vocal coach Tanya Travers in emphasizing on singing techniques that later proved useful for her theater career. Upon reaching teen phase, Menzel also wrote her own songs but never got the opportunity to showcase it. But she was indeed following her heart to move into that artistic direction.