Idina Menzel was born Adena Kim Mentzel on May 30, 1971 in New York City. She is a Jewish American actress, singer, and songwriter. Starting in high school and continuing through college, she performed at weddings. Her professional life took a turn for the better when she auditioned for the late Jonathan Larsonâ€™s play Rent, which became Menzelâ€™s Broadway debut. She played the role of Maureen Johnson in the original cast in 1996, and for her work as Maureen, she received a Tony nomination. It was in this time period that she met her husband, actor Taye Diggs. The couples got married on January 11, 2003 and currently have no children. Following the success of Rent, she starred as Sheila in the Broadway Encores! Production of Hair and appeared on Broadway in Aida playing the role of Amneris. Idina Menzel won a Tony Award in 2004 for her role in the Broadway musical Wicked as Elphaba. The musical was based off the popular 1995 novel by Gregory Maguire, telling the stories of how the story of how the witches in The Wizard of Oz came to be. Ray Charles invited Menzel to sing a duet with him on his album Genius Loves Company. The tracks were recorded, but never released. However, it was one of Rayâ€™s dying wishes to have sung with her. Menzel has appeared on the cast records of Rent and Wicked. She holds a degree from New York University.
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