A GoPride Interview

Kristin Chenoweth

Lessons learned: Kristin Chenoweth arrives in Chicago on a high note

Thu. June 28, 2012  by Jerry Nunn

Kristin Chenoweth
Emmy- and Tony-winning actress Kristin Chenoweth fell into our hearts when she hit the Broadway stage in "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown" in the role of Sally Brown, which won her a Tony. She worked magic as Glinda in "Wicked" then entered the world of television on the "West Wing." She won an Emmy for her role in the series "Pushing Daisies" and has appeared in the comedy "Glee," for which she received two Emmy nominations.

ABC's popular "Good Christian Bitches" or GCB only lasted one season but garnered Chenoweth even stronger gay fan support.

Currently the Oklahoma-native is on a North American tour, performing songs from her latest album "Some Lessons Learned," as well as a number of Chenoweth classics.

Jerry Nunn caught up with Chenoweth while the tour is down south, just before heading north to Chicago's Cadillac Palace Theatre this week.

JN: (Jerry Nunn) Hi, Kristin. Where in the world are you?

KC: (Kristin Chenoweth) I just arrived in Nashville. It is really hot down here!

JN: Well, it's going to be hot when you get to Chicago, too. I grew up in Nashville but was born in Oklahoma like you.

KC: Where?

JN: Oklahoma City. I was adopted also so I have always thought I had a lot in common with you.

KC: What year if you don't mind me asking?

JN: 1970.

KC: Oh my goodness. Have you found your biological parents?

JN: I did when I was 30 years old.

KC: How was that?

JN: It was really great. Back when we were adopted there were a lot of rules and regulations.

KC: Yes, red tape. I am so glad it was a good experience for you. I haven't done that yet but who knows?

JN: You worked with Nora Ephron in the movie version of Bewitched. I know you are upset about her passing away this week.

KC: I'm pretty sad. I don't have to tell you. I feel like in some ways she was just getting started and working on a new play. What a great lady. I was pretty close with her and I didn't know she was ill. I think she checked out from a lot of us because she didn't want to burden us. I wrote Rita Wilson today and said, "I bet heaven is laughing right now." Rita said, "I bet it is and she is explaining that a round table would have been better than a rectangular one for The Last Supper!" I enjoyed that and I will miss her as will the world.

JN: Let's switch gears and talk about your concert.

KC: I am very excited about coming to Chicago. As you know I was supposed to come before Father's Day weekend and I got a tracheal infection. I'm just sick that I had to change the date but I am glad I am making it and ending in Chicago. I have made no secrets that outside of New York it is my favorite. It was a sold out show and I know a lot of people had to turn in their tickets because they are not going to be in town and I am heartbroken. I hope some of your readership can hear about it and find out there are a few tickets available now.

JN: How has the tour been going so far?

KC: It has been a wonderful experience. It has been received incredibly well. I have loved the theaters that I have been playing all over the country to be honest with you. The reviews have been very positive.

More than anything I have been fulfilled as an artist because I have gotten to choose this material with Richard Jay-Alexander and Mary Mitchell Campbell, my music director. Every song is obviously chosen by me for a purpose. It is ranging from musical theater to opera to original music to disco. That is what makes it so challenging for me is singing all of that. It has been fun I will tell you. I will miss it a lot. I am going to get back out there when I can and continue to do it.

JN: There will be selections from your latest album Some Lessons Learned?

KC: Yep, I am going to be doing such an eclectic program with of course some of the things people will expect but there will be some unexpected surprises as well.

JN: I like the cover song "Change" on Lessons Learned that you did for Dolly Parton.

KC: Thank you. Isn't that song good? I look up to her so much. Of course she is going to be very well represented in my show as well. She is going to make an appearance. You will know what I mean when you see it!

JN: I can hardly wait for that (both laugh). I had the opportunity to interview Dolly last year and she told me that she wants you to play her role if there is a Broadway show or movie about her life.

KC: Yes. She is working on it now. She did say it was lacking a couple of things but is working it out. I would play her in a heartbeat and she knows that. She knows my love for her and she has been a great support for me as far as touring. She has talked to me about the travel of it all and to take care. She's a great lady and I want to play her so badly I can hardly spit!

JN: That is going to happen.

KC: We gotta make that happen.

JN: When you were in Chicago last time it was fun to follow you on Twitter. You went to a Cubs game, had pizza, saw The Bean, and had Garrett's popcorn. It was adorable how you embraced our city!

KC: I love your city. It is the best Nordstrom that I have ever been to. I did wait 45 minutes in line for Garrett's Popcorn, yes I did and I would do it again.

JN: You went to visit your gay fans at Sidetrack and it was a madhouse in there!

KC: That was so fun. That was one of the more fun nights. I always tell Bobby Harling, who wrote Soapdish that I know exactly how Sally Field feels in the mall when she goes down the escalator and Whoopi Goldberg yells out "It's her, it's her!" It was a great fun night. I have a lot of friends who are from Illinois. Marisol Nichols who was on GCB with me is from there and obviously Sean Hayes who I love and adore. I love it. It's like New York but smiling.

JN: It is overwhelming how many people wanted GCB to return for a second season.

KC: I can't believe how many people have come out of the woodwork about it. It was definitely due to advertising and I understand how show business works but I will miss it. I will certainly miss Carlene for sure.

JN: What other projects are you working on? You were just on TV Land's Hot in Cleveland.

KC: I am going to do a recurring role on The Good Wife. I have some cool exciting news that I can't tell but let's just say that I will be doing my concert for a little bit of time in the fall and I can't wait. It's gonna be a good one!

JN: Hopefully more Glee, too.

KC: I loved doing Glee. I loved April, poor thing.

JN: She was drinking a lot on that show.

KC: Franzia the box wine was April's favorite!

JN: I read your memoir A Little Bit Wicked. Would you ever want to write another?

KC: I have got to say that I feel for journalists and writers. I always felt like I had a paper due. It was a true labor of love. I think before I go, none of us know how long we have here, I could see me doing it again in another ten years. I was so gratified in the process because I did have the help of Joni Rodgers, my ghostwriter, but I actually did write the book. She just helped me make it sound pretty. That experience brought up a lot of good and crazy memories. I could see me doing it again later in life for sure.

JN: I wound up talking with Idina Menzel the same week as you, which is ironic.

KC: That is crazy. You are having a Wicked week!

JN: Exactly. She is coming to Chicago right after you and she says you bring her such good luck.

KC: Yeah, I know she has been following me around with her own tour. I have been thrilled that she has been playing in these houses and having such a good time.

JN: You should be filming your tour like she did.

KC: Don't worry that's a-happening.

JN: Great, well I look forward to seeing you in Chicago.

KC: Thank you, honey.

JN: Have fun in Nashville.

KC: I will and see you soon!

Rush out and purchase last minute tickets to her show by visiting www.broadwayinchicago.com or call (312) 977-1701. Past June 16 tickets will be honored or refunded. Her last performance on this tour is Friday, June 29 at the Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph at 8:00 pm so don't miss it!

Interviewed by Jerry Nunn. Jerry Nunn is a contributing writer to the GoPride Network. His work is also featured in Windy City Times, Nightspots Magazine and syndicated nationally.