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Curiocity: Q&A With Kristin Chenoweth

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(credit: Jeremy Cowart)

(credit: Jeremy Cowart)

Sara Boyd Sara Pelissero
Sara Pelissero joined the WCCO web team in August of 2009. You can...
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Update: Kristin Chenoweth’s concert has been canceled for Sunday, June 17. The show has been rescheduled for June 26 at 8 p.m. Tickets for the performance on Sunday June 17 will be honored at the door; no exchanging necessary. Refunds are available at the point-of-purchase.

It was nearly three years ago that Miss Kristin Chenoweth was in Minnesota. At the time, she was shooting a movie called, “Into Temptation,” and using every hour off the job to spend her earnings at the Mall of America.

“I did, every day off, I’d go to Mall of America,” she said. “I even rode the rollercoaster inside. I just loved it. I loved it.”

In the years following that film, her life has become something of a rollercoaster. She appeared in Promises, Promises on Broadway with Sean Hayes, was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame, was nominated for an Emmy Award for her guest role in the hit-show Glee, released her fourth album Some Lessons Learned and launched her very first world tour.

She’s played everything from a good witch to a sassy southern belle, but when Chenoweth comes to the State Theatre in Minneapolis on Sunday, she’ll have a slightly different role. This time, she’s just playing herself.

Chenoweth was kind enough to chat with us before she heads to Minnesota on everything from reliving her Twin Cities days to what’s left on her bucket list.

Q: Thanks so much for taking some time out to chat with us. We’re excited to have you in Minneapolis this weekend.

A: I can’t wait to come back!

Q: Good to hear it! When were you last here?

A: I was there shooting a movie, probably about two and a half years ago, with Jeremy Sisto and one of their own natives wrote it. It’s called “Into Temptation.” It was really a special experience and before that, I worked at the Guthrie many, many years ago when I first started out. And I just loved it there.

Q: Wonderful. Will you have any time to stop by the Guthrie when you come back?

A: I’m going to try to make time. I know it’s a new hall since I’ve been there. I drove by it the last time I was there, and I couldn’t believe how different it was. I was used to the old place so I’d love to see the inside and see what all they’ve done because I know it’s probably amazing.

Q: What show did you do at the Guthrie?

A: I just did one and it was Babes in Arms and it was headed to Broadway but when we auditioned for it, it said it was the pre-Broadway production. So it started at the Guthrie with the wonderful Garland Wright, who is no longer with us. It didn’t ultimately end up moving because one of the original composer’s daughter wasn’t really happy with some of the changes they made. But I always felt like it deserved to be on Broadway. It was such a wonderful production. We had Susan Hilferty design the costumes, who I ultimately did Wicked with. It was just really a first-rate, it was actually as extensive as a Broadway show. It was beautiful.

Q: You launched your world tour in May. How’s it been going so far?

A: Really good! I’m really enjoying the show so much and the audiences have been so welcoming. This is the first time I’ve ever committed to doing, you know, I’ve done concert work but I’ve never done a “tour.” It’s been a real fun journey and I’m having just a great time.

Q: So what made you want to do a tour?

A: Well I had an album come out over the fall and I wasn’t able to promote it very much because I was shooting “GCB” for ABC. And I knew that I wanted to get out on the road. And it’s not just songs from this latest album, it’s sort of songs I’ve always wanted to do and it’s all over the map. It’s opera and musical theater and country – and everything that I do in one show.

Q: You’ve said before that country music is the music of your heart and soul. How long have you wanted to release a country album?

A: Well I grew up in Oklahoma and always wanted to do that and I signed with Sony, I guess, 10, 11 years ago and I said, ‘will you just promise me you’ll let me release a country album at some point?’ So this fourth album, I got my way and I’m so happy with it.

Q: What have been your top three moments on a stage?

A: Oh. Definitely probably the first time I opened on Broadway in a musical, which was called Steel Pier. It was short lived, but it was a gorgeous score by Kander and Ebb and that’s a night I won’t forget. Definitely performing on the Tonys on the night I won for Charlie Brown in 2000 is definitely another night I won’t forget. Just getting to perform on the Tonys to me was like the best ever. That was a really special night. And then I’d probably say, you know it’s all these landmark nights that you remember, but on stage, I’d probably say when I did the Kennedy Center Honors performance in D.C. for Julie Andrews. She’s one of my idols and that was really fun because I got to sing her music, for her, in honor of her.

Q: What TV character that you’ve played would you relate to the most: Olive Snook (Pushing Daisies), April Rhodes (Glee) or Carlene Cockburn (GCB)?

A: Oh man. It’s sort of a sad trilogy of all three. Probably I’m most like Olive. I mean I would say I relate to her character, I always want to figure things out and she wasn’t a very good waitress, she wanted to be included, she was in love with a man she couldn’t have, more realistic issues. However, Carlene, I’m pretty sure I’m related to her and April Rhodes, you know, there’s a very fun part of her that just lets go and I have that too. So I don’t know, I guess an amalgam of all three of them.

Q: Do you know if you’ll be appearing in any more Glee episodes?

A: I don’t know. That’s a question for the writers. I just don’t know.

kristin chenoweth vines 153 hi Curiocity: Q&A With Kristin Chenoweth

(credit: Jeremy Cowart)

Q: Well you’ve done TV, film, Broadway, music. Is there anything you haven’t done that you’d like to?

A: Oh goodness. You know, everyone always has their bucket list things. I’m going to get to sing in London soon and I’ve been there before but I’d really like to go all over Europe and do some touring over there. I get a lot of fan mail from all over and I’d love to go meet them, to be honest. There’s still a lot places in the world that I haven’t gotten to see.

Q: Do you think you’ll do another country album in the future?

A: I don’t know. I’m just kind of enjoying the ride. I definitely think the next album will be a live album. So obviously country music will be in there always. It’s just been such an interesting road. I think it’s a very inclusive world, which I understand. I certainly didn’t think I would just come in and say, “Scoot over, I’m here.” I did want to do a concert tour that had some of the music of the albums in it and there’s certain songs that people want from me — that they’ll get — but there’s also part of an artist where you always want to grow and get better and change and challenge yourself.

That’s what this whole concert is, one big challenge. It’s incredibly difficult to do all the styles that I’m doing but it’s so rewarding when you look at something and say, ‘I’m going to try to do that’ and you’re actually able to pull it off, you think, ‘oh my gosh, I’m actually doing what I set out to do.’ That’s a goal that certainly has been met but it’s not over – I have six more dates to play. I’m just so happy. I really enjoy the whole aspect of touring and meeting my fans from all over the country.

Q: I’m sure it’s a different experience, too, to see your fans now and not during a Broadway show.

A: Yeah, yeah. And I’m in there turf. And they’re proud. I meet so many people who are so proud of where they live and I understand that because I’m very proud of being from Oklahoma. I just love it when people say, “have you checked out such-and-such?” I was just in Toronto and they’re like, “you have to go eat at such-and-such.” People want you to experience their world. I’ve been trying. I should call it shopping across America instead of touring. I’ve been having a great time.

Q: So any plans yet for Minneapolis?

A: I only have one whole day there so I definitely want to go by the Guthrie and I enjoy walking around downtown, that’s where we were shot ‘Into Temptation’ and I just love that area. I know that it will be on a Sunday so it’ll be a little quiet, so that will be nice. I just want to be out and enjoy and maybe catch a nice dinner out after the show.

Q: Anything your fans should know about the show?

A: They should be ready – it’s all over the map. Like I said, opera, musical theater, country, probably some disco. It’s really eclectic and a fun, fun evening. They should leave entertained, I hope!

Kristin Chenoweth will perform at 8 p.m. Sunday, June 17 at the State Theatre in Minneapolis. Tickets are on sale and are between $39 and $125. For more information or to purchase tickets, click here.

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