Emmy and Tony winner Kristin Chenoweth has seen highs and bigger highs throughout her career, including originating the role of Glinda in “Wicked” on Broadway, performing a recent concert in Rome with Andrea Bocelli and becoming a household name through roles on hit TV shows like “Glee.”
Energized for her New Year’s Eve concert at The Smith Center, Chenoweth shared insights about her incredible career with us.
What has been your most challenging role of the stage or screen?
Probably Lily Garland in (Broadway musical) “On The Twentieth Century.” It was operatic and had comedy and dance. It required me to do everything technically at such a high level.
You sing a broad range of melodies at your concerts, from pop to Broadway and beyond. How do you choose the songs you perform?
It sounds pretty crazy to say, but it’s about my mood. I’ll change up my program all the time, depending on what’s happening in our world immediately, or something new I want to say or some old song I want to sing because it means something. That’s the beautiful thing about music.
Do you have a preference between singing solo concerts, or performing as a character in TV and theater shows?
When I’m concertizing, it’s just me as myself and I’m not hiding behind any part. That can be very scary sometimes. But I’m also enjoying it so much, and I feel there’s been a lot of growth last year especially with me as an artist and as a soloist.
I’ve been lucky in this career with good parts to play, I want to continue to challenge myself so I can keep getting better.
Are there any particular songs that you have a very personal connection with?
Of course! There are songs I have a personal connection with because I’m known for them - an example would be “Popular” from “Wicked.” It’s very cool to have a song associated with you personally, it’s what every artist dreams about. But there are other songs that have an even more deeper meaning because of an experience I’ve had in my life or a certain joyful time in my life or a certain heartbreak in my life. That’s why I sing them.
Can you give an example?
There’s a song I sang when I was younger that I quickly put away because I just didn’t relate to it. But of course all these years later it rings true to me, which is why I put it on (my recent album) “The Art of Elegance.” It’s a classic, beautiful Hoagy Carmichael and Johnny Mercer piece, “I Get Along Without you Very Well.” It’s probably one of my favorites.
What projects are on your plate now that you’re really excited about?
Definitely my next record with my producer Steve Tyrell. I’m starting to ruminate on what that’s going to be, especially all the different influences I’ve had in my musical life - I’d like that to be represented here.
I’m also shooting a pilot for ABC called “The Real Fairy Godmother,” and I’m super excited about that because I really like the subject, a woman who has a life change and has to start really putting good things in the world and all the magic that comes with that. Those are two things I’m excited about.
What kind of experience can audience members expect at your New Year’s Eve show?
I think Vegas continues to want to be healed. And I want to be a part of that journey for their healing. Of course we’ll get deep, because we have to. We must reminisce and think on this year’s past events. But also I want it to be a time of joy and a time of new beginnings and excitement and hope.
Go See the Show
Kristin Chenoweth performs at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, December 31 at The Smith Center.
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