Congratulations on the recording; it's really delightful.
Thank you. I had such a good time recording that kind of music. A
lot of the stuff I chose wasn't exactly run-of-the-mill standards that you hear
all the time, so it was interesting and fun to do something from another
It has a real old-fashioned feel to it, but I understand some of
the songs are new.
Yes, I asked some of the composers that are pretty prominent here
on Broadway to write songs for me in the genre so they would fit on the album.
I think it is really important as an artist to promote our young talent in the
composing field. So I was glad that, for example, Dick [Scanlan] and
Jeanine [Tesori] wrote
"The Girl in 14G" for me, which enabled me to use a lot of my different voices.
Ricky Ian Gordon wrote
"Ordinary Guy," and then a guy who's not really on the Broadway scene, but he
writes in the genre and is very well known for it out in Minneapolis, Richard
Dworsky, wrote "Going to the Dance with You."
Isn't it kind of a pattern in your career that you've done some
classic stuff--revivals and the
Encores series--but also
newer works, like
Right! And even, in a way,
Brown; although it was a revival, the character of Sally was not
in the original production. They added that when they cast me in the show. So I
feel very lucky because as an actor and as a singer, it's lovely to be able to
do different things. It's great to be able to do things that have been done
before and put your stamp on them, but it's also a challenge to do original
was a delight because it was
, and I keep
telling them they've spoiled me, they've ruined it for me because it was in the
beginning of my career, and they wrote an incredible operatic song for me in
that show. And then A New Brain
, so it was a
wonderful experience to be part of. And Charlie Brown
That's right, exactly!
And you recently did a recording of a
Cole Porter show,
Yes, I did. About 10 years
ago there was a production of it at the Pasadena Playhouse. And for 10 years
those guys out there have been trying to record this album and never got it
done, never got it done, never got it done. And actually, the character that I
sang was originally done by Megan Mullaly from Will & Grace
And they came to me and asked me to do the album, and it was really great,
because it's all the old songs that we know and love, you know--"Ridin' High"
… I got to sing a really great song on there. It was a great album to be
a part of. And again, it's in the same period as my album.
I seem to do a lot of work in that period, which is probably one
of the aspects in my decision to make this album--Strike Up the
, Babes in Arms
, Steel Pier
feel like I was born in the wrong time.
Did your parents play a lot of that kind of music?
You know how some people just innately know things? I didn't
necessarily have parents who played that kind of music, but what I did have
were supportive parents who, once I heard something on the radio or heard
something at someone's house and I liked it, they'd go out and get it for me.
When I was little--I'm talking 7 and 8 years old--I loved to watch
The George and Gracie
Show. I loved
Lucille Ball. I listened
Judy Garland until you
couldn't stand it anymore.
Barbara Streisand's early
work. And I was just really into anything
Rodgers and Hammerstein,
Rodgers and Hart. I just
was drawn to it! Even at a young age.
And you've done some opera, too, and you teased that into your
album in "The Girl in 14G."
Kristin Chenoweth: Yes! When I was in college, I got my master's degree in opera
performance and was actually headed to Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia to
continue postgraduate work in opera. I actually was going to be an opera
singer. And then two weeks before I went to start my training at AVA, I went to
New York and auditioned for a show, got one of the leads, and never really
looked back. I always knew that's what I wanted to be. I'm a dancer, I'm a
singer, and I'm an actor. And although I'm so appreciative of the classical
training that I've had because it's allowed me to sing whatever I need or want
to sing, I'm really supposed to be onstage and really performing in that venue,
which is Broadway. So I think I made the right decision, I'm really happy doing
what I do, and I still train operatically because I think it's important to
keep that up. And I'd love to do an opera, in fact--
Fledermaus or even lighter opera like
That's still in my repertoire and I miss it. But it's not something I want to
dedicate 24 hours, seven days a week to.
So you're not going to run off and become a TV star and abandon
Well, I can guarantee you that I'll never, ever abandon the stage.
But the TV opportunity that's come--I just felt like this was an opportunity
that I should experience. We did 13 episodes, I had a great experience doing
it, and if we go back into production, I will continue to miss the stage, but I
will get back. I'll do
Encore series, I'll do
concerts. I can never be too far away from the stage or I start getting real
homesick. So I'll always come back to the stage, and to New York, especially.
If they'll have me.
The sitcom is about an Oklahoma girl who moves to New York to be a
Yes. And she doesn't have the luck that Kristin Chenoweth had; she
has to take a real job. She's not a goody two-shoes, definitely not that, but
she tries to be a good person and make the right decisions. But there's a lot
of singing and dancing in the show. I'm really proud of it.
About luck and your career--did winning a Tony change your
I'll tell you … Yeah,
it did. I mean, certainly once Charlie Brown
opened on Broadway,
my life changed. And then the Tony just kind of pushed it over the edge. I even
got the television offers because a lot of people in Hollywood had seen me
accept my Tony Award, and they became interested from just that. So it was
really funny to me when I went out and met with a lot of the TV people out
there and producers and film people and they said, "We saw you on the Tonys."
And I said, "Have you seen me onstage?" And a lot of them were like, "No, we
haven't." And I was like, "Well, get your butts to Broadway!" [laughing]
But how it all unfolded is pretty amazing. I know now, looking back, how lucky
And you were also part of the dream cast of
Yes! That was such a fun shoot and to be working with
Alan [Cumming], who is
such a theater guy. And Kathy [Bates], too. She comes from the theater. We were
just bad news, the three of us together--we didn't have a serious moment
between us! We had so much fun.
I'm really proud to be a
part of that production. I think that Rob Marshall and the guy who produced
[Craig Zadan], who are doing more and more of the
musicals, are doing wonderfully at translating the musical to the TV screen.
That's a hard thing to do. And you know, growing up in Oklahoma, I didn't get
to come to Broadway shows. How nice it would have been to have seen those kinds
of things come on TV. So it's good that we have them.
How did you like working with
Jason Alexander on your
Loved it. We had met when I was on Broadway in a play called
. He had come to the opening and he said, "Look,
I've got to work with you sometime. You're wonderful and funny, and we have a
very, very similar sense of comedy."
People forget that he's
from Broadway. He has a
Tony Award for a
, and he can sing and dance--he's a song and dance man! And when
they said, "Who do you want on your album?" there was really no other decision
or option for me; I knew that I wanted Jason. We just love each other. It's
another thing where you feel like you've known someone for a long time. He made
it fun in the studio. He had so many fun ideas, musically, and also for the
dialogue at the top of the song. He's brilliant.
I remember listening to
Merrily We Roll
Along a number of years ago, and I said, "Wait! This sounds like
That was him! He talked about that CD, and about that show a lot,
and how much fun he had. I think he misses Broadway a lot. I keep telling him,
"When are you going to come to Broadway with me? Let's do something." I think
we'd be great together onstage, so who knows what will happen?