Idina Menzel is Elsa, the snow queen in “Frozen”
From the outside, Elsa looks poised, regal and reserved, but in reality, she lives in fear as she wrestles with a mighty secret—she was born with the power to create ice and snow. Broadway superstar and film actress Idina Menzel (“Enchanted”) provides the voice of Elsa, in Walt Disney Animation Studios’ stunning big-screen comedy-adventure “Frozen.”
Haunted by the moment her magic nearly killed her younger sister Anna (voice of Kristen Bell), Elsa has isolated herself, spending every waking minute trying to suppress her growing powers. Her mounting emotions trigger the magic, accidentally setting off an eternal winter that she can’t stop. She fears she’s becoming a monster and that no one, not even her sister, can help her.
Menzel brought warmth and likability to what might otherwise have been a cold character—by definition. “Idina has a sense of vulnerability in her voice,” says director Chris Buck. “She plays a very strong character, but someone who lives in fear—so we needed someone who could portray both sides of the character, and Idina was just amazing.”
Menzel says she finds her character unique. “Elsa is the Snow Queen; she could easily be perceived as a villain, but that’s not who she is. She’s extremely complicated and misunderstood. She actually banishes herself from her home to avoid hurting others, and in return, she finds the liberation to celebrate who she is.”
The celebration is marked by the song “Let It Go,” and the character undergoes a profound transformation—inside and out. “Before ‘Let It Go,’” says character design supervisor Bill Schwab, “Elsa is really buttoned up, her hair is up—everything is perfect. During the song, she gives herself permission to be who she is and everything changes—her hair is more wild, her gown is magical. She’s finally free—even if she is all alone.”
According to Paul Briggs, head of story, Elsa’s new-found freedom—and the journey Anna takes as a result—showcases one of the film’s key themes: family. “The one person Elsa most needs on her side when her secret is finally revealed is her sister,” says Briggs. “The strength of the family bond is what makes this story so powerful, because it’s her sibling who’s willing to look beyond her powers and stand between her and the world if that’s what it takes. She just has to find a way to let that happen.”
Tony® Award-winning Broadway powerhouse Idina Menzel has a diverse career on the stage, in film and television, and in music. Lauded for strong yet emotional performances, Menzel recently culminated a successful international orchestra tour.
She reached superstardom on Broadway with her Tony®-winning performance as Elphaba in the blockbuster “Wicked,” and in her Tony-nominated role as Maureen in the revolutionary “Rent.” Menzel also appeared as Sheila in the Encores! production of “Hair” and starred as Amneris in Broadway’s “Aida.” In London, she premiered in “Wicked” in the West End and received the Theatregoers Choice Award for best actress in a musical.
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