Let it Go!
Idina Kim Menzel (b. 1971) was born in New York to a Jewish family with grandparents from Russia and Eastern Europe. At 15, she began singing at weddings and bar mitzvahs, which later helped her get through Tisch School of Arts at New York University. Shortly after, she auditioned for the hit Broadway musical Rent, landing the role of Maureen Johnson, for which she was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical. She also starred in other hit shows like Hair and Aida, while releasing her first solo music album. Her greatest Broadway success began in 2003 when she started playing Elphaba in the musical Wicked, winning a Tony Award for Best Leading Actress. When the show opened in London, she became the city’s highest-paid female performer, earning $30,000 per week. Since 2008, she’s starred in Chess, Nero, and her latest, If/Then. The latter has now moved to Broadway, and Menzel has been nominated for another Tony for Best Leading Actress. Aside from her tremendous stage success, Menzel has also played roles in television and film, including a role on Glee. Most popularly, she lent the voice of Elsa in Disney’s Frozen, helping to make it the highest-grossing animated film of all time, and winning its theme song “Let it Go” an Academy Award. It also made Menzel the only Tony Award winner to ever hit the Billboard Top 10. Her most recent album, Holiday Wishes, hit the Billboard Top 10, as well. Menzel is heavily involved in charity work, and her ‘A BroaderWay Foundation’ helps disadvantaged youth make it in the arts through summer camps, scholarships, and workshops.
Words of the Week
…contrary to those who misunderstand or misrepresent this in terms of privilege, which smacks of chauvinism, this ‘chosenness’ [of the Jewish people] is primarily a matter of duty, and obligation to be a model people for the whole world to emulate; a people where form takes precedence over matter, the spiritual over the material, and the soul over the body, a people which was destined to be a “light unto the nations” (Isaiah 42:6).
– Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe