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Before They Were Famous: Idina Menzel!

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Before Frozen propelled Idina Menzel to international stardom, she was one of Broadway's darlings, but not as well known outside of our theater community. Now, the whole world knows Menzel as being the Ice Queen, Elsa, in the Frozen films, and the theater world knows her for starring in RENT, Wicked, and If/Then, but she also had many roles on television and in films before she was a household name!
BroadwayWorld has rounded up some of the TV shows and movies you can watch the Tony winner before she was a star!

Kissing Jessica Stein

Idina Menzel had a small role in the 2001 film Kissing Jessica Stein playing a bridesmaid in the character Dan's wedding. The film is based on a scene from the 1997 off-Broadway play by Jennifer Westfeldt and Heather Juergense called Lipschtick. The film was released a month before Menzel starred in the Broadway production of Aida!

Just a Kiss

Menzel had an uncredited role in the 2002 film Just a Kiss, playing Linda. Patrick Breen wrote the film's screenplay adapted from his own off-Broadway play. The film also starred Taye Diggs, whom Menzel went on to marry a year later. This was Menzel's last film role before her breakout role as Elphaba in the Tony-winning musical Wicked.

The Tollbooth

In 2004, while Menzel was performing in Wicked, she had a supporting role in The Tollboth, a film that follows Sarabeth (played by Marla Sokoloff), who is a young artist struggling to forge her own identity in the big city, while her Jewish parents keep watch from just over the bridge in Brooklyn. Menzel played Sarabeth's recently pregnant sister Raquel Cohen-Flaxman.


Idina Menzel reprised her role as Maureen Johnson in the 2005 film adaptation of the hit Broadway musical Rent, the musical that she made her Broadway debut in 1996. Menzel was able to star in the movie following her departure in Wicked in January of 2005. The film features five other original Broadway cast members reprising their roles!

Kevin Hill

Also in 2005, Menzel guest starred on two episodes of the UPN legal drama Kevin Hill, which starred her husband at the time, Taye Diggs. Menzel played a trial lawyer during her two-episode stint on the series, which stars DIgs as the title character, a lawyer who has to balance his professional career and his love life with having custody of Sarah, his 10-month-old cousin.

Ask the Dust

While Menzel reprised her role as Elphaba for the West End production of Wicked in 2006, she could also be seen in a supporting role in the feature film Ask the Dust starring Colin Farrell and Salma Hayek. Menzel played Vera Rivkin, who is described as a 'desperately insecure Jewess' who develops an odd bond with Ferrell's character, Arturo.


Before Menzel was a Disney queen, she had a supporting role in the hit 2007 live-action film Enchanted! Ironically, she doesn't have a single song in the musical film! She does get a glimpse of her future, however, when at the end she turns into an animated princess!

Private Practice

Following her I Stand Tour, Menzel was featured in two episodes of ABC drama PRIVATE PRACTICE in 2009 playing Lisa King, a love interest of character Pete Wilder. The drama series chronicles the life of Dr. Addison Montgomery, played by Kate Walsh, as she leaves Seattle Grace Hospital in order to join a private practice, located in Los Angeles. The series also starred fellow Broadway veteran, Audra McDonald!


From 2010-2013, Menzel guest-starred in 12 episodes of the popular FOX musical dramedy Glee. She played Shelby Corcoran, the coach of Vocal Adrenaline and the biological mother of Rachel Berry (Lea Michele). During this time, Menzel was also touring her Barefoot at the Symphony Tour.

BroadwayWorld can't wait to see what Idina Menzel does next on stage and screen, but until then keep up with her on social media at @IdinaMenzel, and stay tuned for future 'Before They Were Famous' stories!

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From This Author Kaitlin Milligan