Idina Menzel
Taghi Naderzad/Contour by Getty Images


“Don’t talk to me about the mommy guilt.”


It’s 12:30 on a breezy Saturday afternoon, and Idina ­Menzel is hailing a cab, lamenting another weekend day lost to rehearsals when she could be exploring New York City — where she and husband Taye Diggs recently replanted — with their 4-year-old son, Walker. “It gets me every time,” she says. “It’s constant. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. Deep down, I know I’m doing a good job, and it’s important to be that role model for Walker. So even though he says, ‘Mommy, don’t go,’ he needs to see me chase my passions.”

For Menzel, a Broadway veteran who originated roles in Rent and Wicked, that means returning to the stage for next spring’s If/Then, a show she says totally hits home for her. “It’s so on the nose with where I am now, with motherhood and being a woman,” she says. “And I realized there’s a big, gaping hole in my heart for the theater community. It’s just who I am.”

Still, she says, the grueling eight-shows-a-week schedule can take a toll — not to mention adjusting to life in Manhattan after the couple, who met while working on Rent more than a decade ago, spent the last several years living in Los Angeles. “We’re die-hard, cocky New Yorkers, Taye and I,” Menzel explains. “But we’ve spent all of our years as a family — ever since Walker was born — in California. We don’t know how to tackle New York with a stroller. Still, we’re excited. Every day, Walker gets to see amazing new things here.”

And these days, Menzel admits, her work also caters a bit to her biggest fan. Case in point: Her Disney flick Frozen, which hits theaters this month. “He’s so excited about it,” Menzel says of her son. “But really, being a Disney animated character is a dream come true for me too.”

Menzel found herself fascinated by the animation process and the care illustrators took to make the characters — including her Snow Queen Elsa — come to life in such a real way. “They had me come in and talk and sing and examined my technique and how my mouth and body work when I sing,” she says. “Taye saw some of it — he said, ‘Oh, it really captures the way you do this and that.’ But then again, she’s so completely different than me. It’s my first time playing a blonde, and what they say is right: Blondes do have more fun!”