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Kristin Chenoweth on touring, cartoons and 'American Gods'
by Jerry Nunn, Windy City Times
2017-11-01

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The petite powerhouse Kristin Chenoweth continues to keep up a grueling touring schedule. Through the years she has crossed over from theater to film to television. Early in her career she won a Tony for You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown that led to a standout stint with Wicked as Glinda.

Television credits include Glee and the current Starz television series American Gods; movies range from The Peanuts Movie to Bewitched.

Windy City Times: Hi, Kristin. First off, describe this current tour.

Kristin Chenoweth: I will be performing songs from this latest album. I released it about a year ago. It seems to be going over pretty well on the tour. I am constantly changing the material and putting songs in that I have always wanted to sing for some reason.

When I come there, I will be doing some new Dolly Parton, which makes me happy. I have a new original piece that Mary-Mitchell Campbell wrote. It is message to all of us about having hope.

I was just listening to Lee Ann Womack's album yesterday. I'm thinking about putting a song of hers in there. I have a new Henry Mancini song that I will do. You know how I am. I just change things all the time. It just never stops. It is just the fun of being onstage.

WCT: Should ticket holders start practicing the song "For Good," from Wicked? You usually call someone onstage to sing it with you.

KC: Sometimes I do that, and sometimes I won't. When people start expecting it I don't do it anymore. I take breaks from it.

It does make the audience so happy. I always decide that night how I am feeling. [Musical director] Michael Orland never really knows what is going to happen, bless his heart.

WCT: He just follows you…

KC: Exactly, which is why he is so good at his job.

WCT: You must have to take care of your voice to hit those high notes.

KC: That is one of the biggest challenges, to be honest with you. I feel tired a lot. I am on the road a ton.

My biggest and greatest challenge is to stay healthy. My days off are really important. That is why the key to a good performance is to rest.

WCT: You take your dog on the road, don't you?

KC: You bet. Unless I am in Europe I will take her. She's my baby. I have to take her with me!

WCT: Speaking of babies, we were both adopted babies. Have you ever wanted to adopt a child?

KC: Of course. I have met some relatives. It has really completed my life. I love them and it explains a lot. I have been under the radar with it. You know me and I have never really led with that out of privacy for them. I did meet them and overall it has been the perfect scenario.

WCT: I went to Oklahoma to write a travel story and saw your video about the bombing at Oklahoma City National Memorial. Was that tough to make?

KC: It was very hard. I wanted it to be me, but not be me, because I wanted to take the right tone. It is a peaceful place. I feel a vibe there that I definitely respect, but yet I want to get the message across. When they first called me I was scared, but it was something I had to say "yes" to. I'm glad I did it.

WCT: Did you read the book before accepting American Gods?

KC: I hadn't read the book but Bryan Fuller called me and asked me about the show. It was on my list to read since it was a New York Times best-seller. I began to read it and it took me a long time. I wanted to make sure I had all the families and groups straight so I took notes as well.

After I read it, Bryan said he had a part for me. He wanted to part to be different than in the book. I wasn't which part it would be because I knew there was no way I could play Laura Moon because I was too old. When he told me Easter I said, "No way." She is described very differently than me in the book. He said that I had to do it.

I found myself on set with Ian McShane and Ricky Whittle. It is just great fun and I love it.

WCT: When is the next season coming out?

KC: The networks make us wait so long now. I think we start in the spring.

WCT: Has Ryan Murphy ever asked you to be on American Horror Story?

KC: No, he hasn't. Isn't it good? That whole show is so well done.

WCT: Would you ever want to write another book?

KC: Yes, I do. Maybe in the winter of my life. I am still learning and growing. I make little notes to remember things for the book. I don't think it would necessarily be a tell all. It would be about my truth and things I have learned. That is not always pretty. [Laughs]

WCT: You have a couple of new cartoon movies. My Little Pony was just released. What is The Star?

KC: I get to work with animators and they start drawing you. We work together as a team. The Star comes out in two weeks. It is the story of Mary, Joseph, and Jesus told through the eyes of the animals. I thought it would be interesting so I did it.

WCT: Don't you have some upcoming concerts with Andrea Bocelli?

KC: Yes, and I am a little nervous. We did Celebrity Fight Night. I wanted to get to know him so I could see how he does it with his charity and where he puts the emphasis. We did "The Prayer" in Rome and it just worked. Now I will join him for a couple of his shows and sing.

WCT: I am interviewing his son Matteo at an upcoming red carpet.

KC: Here is the problem with Matteo. He has an amazing voice just like his dad, he's tall and handsome. Those are his problems. Good luck—he's incredible. You are going to love him.

WCT: What was your project Class Rank [about]?

KC: It was an independent film. I am very proud of it. It is about kids finding their rank in school and life. I played a mom. Since I am not a mother, I live vicariously. In this particular movie she had the disease where she couldn't leave the home. Working the kid that played my son, Skyler Gisondo, took such care with the role. It is really his movie. I predict wonderful things for him.

WCT: We have to get you back out to the gay bars, like the time you went to Sidetrack; it was packed.

KC: I would like to. I just went to Dublin to accept an award from Trinity College. I went to a drag-queen bar while I was there and had so much fun. Gay bars are much more civilized!

Don't miss Chenoweth performing at Paramount Theatre, 23 East Galena Boulevard, in Aurora, Illinois, on Saturday, Nov. 4, at 8 p.m. Visit OfficialKristinChenoweth.com for tickets and information.


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