Q&A with Kristin Chenoweth

If you could roll everything amazing about Broadway into one small, super-cute package, you’d get Kristin Chenoweth. In 1999, the Oklahoma native received a Tony Award for her portrayal of 5-year-old Sally Brown in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. She then originated the role of Glinda the Good Witch in the blockbuster musical Wicked before earning an Emmy Award for her take on a lovesick waitress in the TV series Pushing Daisies. Throughout it all, she’s won fans the world over for her contagious spunk and powerhouse voice. She’ll visit the Kravis Center February 15 to sing Broadway hits and songs off her latest record, The Art of Elegance. Below, she shares insight into the album, her career, and a few little-known facts about herself.

Photo by Gian Andrea di Stefano

PBI.com: Your most recent album honors the Great American Songbook. Why did you want to showcase that genre?

Chenoweth: Because I’m still a girl who thinks they don’t write them that way anymore. It’s really hard to beat Gershwin, Sinatra, Porter, and Chaplin. This is the music I grew up on and learned on.

What musical do you recall being most inspired by as a child?

My all-time favorite musical is The Sound of Music. I’m forever inspired by Julie Andrews twirling on a hill, singing soprano.

Was it difficult to tailor your classically trained voice to a Broadway sound?

It’s really all one voice. I like to experiment with different colors and timbres. I had a great teacher who taught me strong technique for all different styles.

Who would you love to do a duet with?

My dream duet partner is Dolly Parton. She’s my favorite and she’s got a big heart.

What are your pre-show rituals?

Prayer and popping all my knuckles

One of your first Broadway roles was as Sally in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. What did you most enjoy about bringing that character to life?

It was fun to play a 5 year old with no inhibition. Sometimes, as adults, inhibitions hold us back.

In Pushing Daisies, your character worked at a pie shop and then opened a macaroni and cheese restaurant. If you could open an eatery dedicated to one food what would it be?

For sure donuts. I love them so much and I’m not partial to any kind—though I do love a good old-fashioned glaze.

In the musical On the Twentieth Century, you portrayed a larger-than-life actress. How did the idea of playing an actress affect your approach to the role?

Obviously I’m an actress myself and I’ve been watching actresses for a long time, both good behavior and bad—let’s just say I used both.

In December, you appeared in Hairspray Live! on NBC. What was your favorite thing about that experience?

Bonding with the kids, that was everything. Watching them learn and grow and be so excited to be together. It was pretty cool.

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