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If/Then is a love letter to New York: the places, people and moments that change our lives and link us together. If/Then's "A Map of New York" series documents the pivotal locations of its stars and creators. This week: Idina Menzel.


As told to James Snyder

The Plaza Hotel
768 5th Ave. at 59th St.
"My first job in New York was a wedding singer. I used to come into Manhattan to sing at people's weddings and bar mitzvahs. It was either the Plaza or the Waldorf! That whole phase of my life taught me how to perform, how to grow a thicker skin, how to perform when people don't listen to you. It taught me how to sing all kinds of music."

Voice Lessons
Riverside Drive and 106th St.
"I've taken voice lessons here for twenty years. My voice teacher really wanted me to sing as close to how I speak as possible, because that's how you find the true identity of your voice and your individual sound. She taught me how to be a professional and how to ask for what I need in the right way. She's good at keeping me disciplined even at this time in my life, keeping me balanced, knowing when I'm doing too much, so she's a real pillar for me."

Bernard Telsey Casting
145 W. 28th St. at 7th Ave.
"I went on an audition for Michael Greif [director] and Bernie Telsey [casting agent]. The next thing you know I'm in a Lower East Side Off-Broadway theater doing Rent. It turned out pretty well."

New York Theatre Workshop
79 E. 4th St. between 2nd and 3rd Ave.
"I was sitting in the New York Theatre Workshop [RENT's Off-Broadway birthplace]. They sat us all down and said 'We're moving to Broadway!' and we all flipped out."

Film Forum
209 W. Houston St. between 6th Ave. and Bedford St.
"The most beautiful thing about Manhattan to me is in the wintertime. If it snows on the weekend when the snow plows aren't as ready and everyone's not treading through dirtying up the snow, it makes the city get really, really quiet and softens the sound. And, if you have the right boots on, are with the right friends and go to the right pub and see the right movie, it's kind of like a perfect New York moment for me."


If/Then is looking for your best New York moments to put on the map. Tell them about a pivotal place in your life and what happened there, from falling in love to getting a job to meeting a lifelong friend for the first time.

4 ways to submit:
1. Post it on Facebook
2. Send a tweet to @IfThenMusical
3. Share it on Tumblr
4. Or email:

Check back on Dec. 17 for a new map featuring stories from If/Then bookwriter and lyricist Brian Yorkey and stars Anthony Rapp, LaChanze and James Snyder.