KRISTIN CHENOWETH: On Her Career, Worst Audition Moment & A Broadway Return
It would be hard not to love Kristin Chenoweth. Whether you know the Emmy and Tony Award winning actress/ singer from her critically acclaimed Broadway performances or her numerous television and movie roles, her charming presence is a rare and distinguished force to be reckoned with.
With her highly anticipated return to Carnegie Hall just around the corner, Chenoweth was gracious enough to take some time out of her hectic schedule to chat.
Needless to say I was pretty excited...
RP: First of all, congratulations on your upcoming Carnegie Hall concert! What inspired you to create the Evolution of a Soprano?
KC: It’s really about the evolution of me as a person and as a woman and as an artist. There have been many journeys and roads I’ve traveled and that include music, different types of music. It shows sort of how it all started for me which includes me visiting music I haven’t sung since I was a little child into music no one would expect me to sing. So it’s really truly an evolution.
RP: You’ve worked very hard on this. It must be amazing to be able to develop your own projects. Have you ever considered writing a musical?
KC: I have considered writing a musical, a very loosely based story on my life; however, I think I might be the only person that would find it interesting.
RP: We would all love that! What would you call it?
KC: “Short and sweet”
RP: What’s the best vocal advice you ever received?
KC: Rest, don’t talk, rest.
RP: Well, it’s perfectly clear that you an incredible singer, but, what really gets me is how you’re an equally talented and unique actress. What type of roles are you typically drawn to?
KC: I’m always drawn to more of a character role, which is why The Apple Tree was so perfect for me because it was four roles but all very different vocally. I look for roles that are not on the nose for me. If you go back and look at the role of Sally in Charlie Brown, she was acerbic and the challenge was to not make her a brat, but also make her watchable. With Glinda in Wicked, it was the same. I look at roles that have opportunity for growth, just for me as an artist to get better and to build a really great character arc. I was excited to do Promises Promises for that reason, especially when no one expected me to do that. It was a very different role for me but probably closer to home than anything I’ve played. I continue to look of roles that will challenge me and make me a better actress. A lot of people can sing, and sing really well, but I really am all about the role and becoming the character.
RP: Are there any musicals that you are dying to be in?
KC: I like My Fair Lady, but I think my time has passed. I had always wanted to do that one. Of course there’s Hello Dolly and I look at the greats like Mame and Gypsy.
RP: You’d be great in all of those. Of course on the other end of the spectrum, we all have our lows. Could you share with us your most terrible audition or stage moment? That is if there is one.
KC: There’s so many I don’t even know where to start, but I’ll give you an audition story. I was new to New York. I auditioned for Smokey Joe’s Café for Jerry Zaks. We had to sing a Lieber and Stoller song. I chose “Great Balls of Fire.” I still question this decision. I got nervous and it flipped into an opera sound so I sang “Great Balls of Fire” with an opera take. Jerry Zaks was a good sport. What can I say? It just wasn’t my show.
RP: I don’t think I can picture a show that you wouldn’t be fantastic in. Are there any future projects you would like to tease us with?
KC: I think Tammy Faye Bakker are three words that I find very interesting.
We find that very interesting as well. Surely she is hinting at the new musical Rise based on the life of the late Tammy Faye Bakker. She participated in a reading of the show back in 2011, and it is now supposedly bound for Broadway. I guess we’ll have to hang tight and see what happens.
Kristin's 3 nuggets of advice for aspiring actors: save your money, get a temp job where you have the flexibility to audition for things, and audition for anything and everything (even if you don't think you fit the description).
Kristin's program, 'The Evolution of a Soprano' debuts on May 3rd at Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium/ Perelman Stage.