Famous as :Singer, actress
Birth Name :Idina Kim Mentzel
Birth Date :May 30, 1971
Birth Place :Syosset, New York, USA
Claim to fame :As Maureen Johnson in Broadway musical "Rent" (1996)
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.
Upon pursuing her education, ...
Menzel chose to enroll at New York University's School of Arts and majored in music instead of drama. She earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and continued to be wedding singers within a couple of years. Her big break came in 1993 when she was cast in 'Rent', a musical production developed by Jonathan Larson loosely based on Giacomo Puccini's Opera
'La boheme'. The show's brilliant concept, its bold subject in mentioning sensitive issues like AIDS and homosexuality within young people in New York plus the tragic death of Larson before its premiere in early 1996 have garnered the attention of theater lovers. On April 29, 1996, the show was moved from an off-Broadway venue to the larger Broadway's Nederlander Theatre on 41st Street. Menzel played a struggling singer who dumped her boyfriend Mark Cohen for a woman. So extravagant was the ensemble cast that the production took in 10 nominations in prestigious award event for theater performances, the Tony Awards in 1996 and won six of it. Menzel did not win her nomination, Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical, but it opened the public eyes for her presence as a potential contender in the industry.