Actress-singer Kristin Chenoweth has been delighting audiences ever since she snagged a Tony for her role as Sally Brown in You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown—a success she followed up with the role of Glinda in Wicked, as well as many other Broadway, television and film appearances. This month Chenoweth makes her Van Wezel debut (8 p.m. Feb. 27) with a concert that will reprise some of her best-known numbers and throw in some surprises, too. We talked with her about her career.
Q: You’re so hard-working. What keeps you motivated?
I’m an artist, and I’m constantly inspired. I look around me, and I listen. I also listen to my heart, and the motivation comes out of wanting to keep putting out my best work. Down time is my Achilles heel. As we speak, I need a vacation! But I love what I do so much. The key is to slow down so you can hear from your inner voice what you’re supposed to do next. I’m working on it.
Q: What are you the proudest of so far in your career?
The event that changed my friends and perspective is an accident I had on a set three years ago. I was very injured and forced to lie there and think about life’s questions. I realized I wanted to focus on my music. I’ve always been a singer; it’s how I started. Then the town I grew up in named its new theater after me. I wanted to start a summer arts camp statewide, and we had our first one this past summer. I have never been more proud of anything I’ve done. I know the arts can change lives.
Q: What’s been the hardest thing for you to tackle?
A: This last round on Broadway. I played Lily Garland in On the Twentieth Century. It’s an operetta, comic in nature, and it was a lifelong dream to play her. I was never happier on a Broadway stage, but it was also difficult to stay healthy and do the show and nothing else. It takes everything I have to do Broadway. As I’ve always said, “Broadway ain’t for wimps.”
Q: Who inspired you as you were starting out—and who inspires you today?
A: I’ve been vocal about my idols: Carol Burnett, Dolly Parton, Judy Garland, Sandi Patty, Madeline Kahn. Sally Field is my all-time favorite actress. Right now, like the rest of the world, I’m on the Adele train. She is the real deal. No crazy lighting, no weird costumes, she just sings. I also have a lot of respect for Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift. They follow their own dreams and don’t seem to care what anyone else thinks.
Q: You’ve written a memoir…any other plans for writing?
A: I will always write, and would love to write another book. I have journals after journals on my life. Maybe I’ll put it down in a different way, maybe a musical. Maybe!
Q: What’s next after this tour?
A. I have a movie to shoot in December, then more touring and television projects. I will stop when I’m dead. I just launched a new jewelry line on HSN, and I’m working on what the next line looks like. See? These are the reasons I can’t sleep.