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Q&A: Kristin Chenoweth

The petite performer with the powerhouse pipes, Kristin Chenoweth, returns home to share a love letter.

Donna Leahey
April 29, 2017

Kristin Chenoweth — singer, dancer, actor, writer, star of stage, silver screen, and small screen, Emmy and Tony award-winning Oklahoma native — is coming home to Broken Arrow and bringing her love of Broadway with her.

Her Green Country roots have stayed with her throughout her impressive career. Chenoweth originated the role of Glinda in Wicked, won a Tony for her role in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, and racked up Emmy and People’s Choice award nominations for her recurring role on Glee. Her 2009 autobiography, A Little Bit Wicked, debuted on The New York Times best-seller list with a funny and inspiring take on her life so far.

Q: Your event at the Broken Arrow Performing Arts Center is called My Love Letter to Broadway. What can your fans expect from the show?

A: My Love Letter to Broadway has a surprise opening with new songs from my new album The Art of Elegance and other songs that I will always sing. It’s a very different show from before, and I’m honored to present it in my hometown for the first time since it was done on Broadway.

Q: What is it you love about Broadway?

A: Broadway is a community that’s different from any other. We’re hard on each other but would die for each other. And that’s just the people. Then there’s the music, which speaks for itself.

Q: You're an Oklahoma native, a Broken Arrow native. How has that influenced who you are and your career?

A: Your past can sometimes help form your music. Of course, I’m from the South, the Midwest, and I hold a lot of morals and values from the way I grew up. I’ve changed some too… I think in the show and it’s all there in the music.

Q: You're appearing in American Gods on Starz. What can you tell us about your role?

A: I play the goddess of Easter. This show is based on a book by Neil Gaiman. It’s a fictional account of the different kinds of “gods” of today and yesterday. For example, there’s a character of the goddess of Media [played by Gillian Anderson], which is a new god. The goddess Ostara, or Easter, is of the old gods. It’s all the worlds melded together.

Chenoweth sang gospel music as a child iand studied opera before deciding to pursue a career in musical theatre. (Photo: Gian Andrea Di Stefano)
Chenoweth sang gospel music as a child iand studied opera before deciding to pursue a career in musical theatre. (Photo: Gian Andrea Di Stefano)

Q: On top of everything else, you're working on a show for CBS [Perfect Citizen]. What can you tell us about that?

A: It’s written by the great Craig Turk (The Good Wife). Ed Snowden’s controversy is what inspired him to write this. I play a high-powered partner in a law firm. She has mixed feelings about Deck Pearson, played by Noah Wyle, coming into her world… it’s a little confusing for her. I love that I get to play a smart woman.

Q: You were great as Velma Von Tussle in NBC's production of Hairspray Live! What did you think about working on live television?

A: The process is very fast, like being shot out of a cannon. I love that NBC and other networks are doing it, and bringing musicals into televisions all across the country. I was so proud of our show, and I was so glad they chose Hairspray. The story is very perfect for our time.

Q: You play such a wide variety of characters. What is your favorite type of role? Good girl, bad girl, lead, character?

A: I like it when it’s all of the above at the same time. It’s very rare, but I got to do it in The Apple Tree and On the Twentieth Century on Broadway.

Q: If you had to pick, would you prefer stage, television or film?

A: I could never pick, because it’s all so different, but so rewarding and challenging. Of course, I’m a creature of the theatre, so I guess if I had to pick, it would be the theatre.

Q: How did you develop such a strong voice?

A: There’s only one way it could be, and that’s the good Lord above. He didn’t give me any talent for math or directions. I can’t remember history very good. I’m so glad I got the gift of music.

Q: What does the Kristin Chenoweth Foundation at the Broken Arrow PAC mean to you and to Broken Arrow?

A: I hope it means a lot to Broken Arrow that we are showing people the arts can really influence a child’s life. For me, it’s my legacy… It’s what I want to be remembered for.

Kristin Chenoweth: May Love Letter to Broadway
Broken Arrow Performing Arts Center
701 S. Main St. | Broken Arrow
May 6: 7:30 p.m.