It was a February morning, and Kristin Chenoweth was driving through the snow somewhere in New York state. But she’s as cheerful as you can possibly hope to be.
“I’m driving to the airport and then I’m flying to Tampa!” Chenoweth said. There seems to be an exclamation point at the end of every sentence she speaks. “I have some new necklaces that I’m going to be showing off on HSN! I’m going to get to sing this time, so it’s really exciting!”
She seems extremely sincere. The Broadway superstar, winner of a Tony Award and an Emmy Award, and star of a couple of dozen movies and several TV series is really excited about coming to Florida and being a guest on the Home Shopping Network in Pinellas County, hawking the jewelry line she created.
I was just glad to be in something that didn’t close. All I wanted was to be in a show that would go on for more than a couple of weeks.
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That was a couple of weeks ago. She’ll be back in Florida soon, in Sarasota this time, for a show titled “An Intimate Evening With Kristin Chenoweth” on March 12 at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall.
Chenoweth can and has done it all, from such acclaimed dramas as “The West Wing,” to such extremely low-brow comedies as the Robin Williams slapstick movie “RV,” to opera (she has a master’s degree in opera performance) to award-winning Broadway roles as Glinda in “Wicked” and Sally in “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.” But for her “Intimate Evening,” she’ll be focusing on singing, offering her take on the songs she loves and the Broadway numbers she helped make famous.
You can count on a healthy dose of songs from her latest album, “The Art of Elegance,” which came out this past fall. The album, her fifth, is packed with songs by such writers as the Gershwins, Hoagy Carmichael, Burt Bacharach and Hal David and Rodgers and Hart.
The album, her fifth, is packed with songs by such writers as the Gershwins, Hoagy Carmichael, Burt Bacharach and Hal David and Rodgers and Hart.
“There’s a reason they call it ‘The Great American Songbook,’” she says.
She’ll also be doing some of her songs from “Wicked,” which could probably be considered her star-making role. She had already won a Tony for the revival of “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown” before she originated the role of Glinda in the “Wizard of Oz”-based musical. But “Charlie Brown” only ran for a few months, and didn’t have the impact that “Wicked” still has.
In fact, “Wicked” didn’t have an immediate impact. It garnered some scathing reviews (along with some effusive ones) and it didn’t win the Tony Award for Best Musical. (That honor went to the relatively obscure “Avenue Q.”) But Wicked has become legendary, and its touring productions sell out major theaters across the country. (It just ended a long run at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa.)
Chenoweth said she didn’t know “Wicked” would become such a lasting hit. But she wasn’t really thinking in those terms.
“I was just glad to be in something that didn’t close,” she said. “All I wanted was to be in a show that would go on for more than a couple of weeks. That was my first one. I still feel a connection to that. Anytime it’s playing somewhere that I’m traveling to, I always make a point of dropping them a note and telling them I’m excited for them them because they’re part of that show.”