CultureMap Celebrity Interview

Kristin Chenoweth talks heartbreak, fashion, and the Steve Tyrell connection in her Wicked diva show

Kristin Chenoweth talks heartbreak, fashion and her Wicked diva show

Kristin Chenoweth
Kristin Chenoweth worked with Houston native Steve Tyrell on her new album, The Art of Elegance.  Photo by Gian Andrea Di Stefano
Tony Awards 2015 Kristin Chenoweth, Alan Cumming and Tommy Tune
Kristin Chenoweth and Alan Cumming hug Houston native Tommy Tune when she co-hosted the 2015 Tony Awards. Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions
News_Kristin Chenoweth concert_May 2012
Houston writer Joel Luks, center, admires Kristin Chenoweth's dog when Chenoweth performed in Houston in 2012. Courtesy of Joel Luks
Tony Awards 2015 Kristin Chenoweth
Kristen Chenoweth at the 2015 Tony Awards. Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions
Kristin Chenoweth
Tony Awards 2015 Kristin Chenoweth, Alan Cumming and Tommy Tune
News_Kristin Chenoweth concert_May 2012
Tony Awards 2015 Kristin Chenoweth

For such a petite gal, Kristin Chenoweth packs quite a punch.  The Broadway superstar appears larger than life on stage, belting tunes with diva-lika gusto but with the humbleness that comes from experiencing the full spectrum of life's ups and downs.

Wicked was a game changer for Chenoweth. We loved her in Glee. We praised Jesus for her role in the now-canceled drama GCB (ABC, can we get some sort of a comeback miracle?).

And this weekend, we can reconnect with the sassy chanteuse as Chenoweth performs Saturday at the Smart Financial Centre at Sugar Land. "Celebrating the Art of Elegance" takes its theme from Chenoweth's recently released namesake album.

How are things going since we last had a tête-à-tête with KC? We exchanged notes about music, love and fashion.

CultureMap: It’s been four years since we last spoke so let’s do a bit of a check in. You mentioned back then that you’d always wanted to do a live album. And you did in Coming Home! How does it feel to have that accomplishment checked off from your bucket list?
 
Kristin Chenoweth: It's amazing because I got to do it in the theater that bears my name in my hometown of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. There were a lot of people I saw in the audience that meant so much to me when I was growing up, and I can’t think of a better way to check this item off my bucket list than to be there in that space with them!
 
CM: So what’s next on your bucket list? I’m curious about things that you’ve always wanted to do but haven't had a chance to.
 
KC: I had such a great time working with (Houston native) Steve Tyrell on my newest album, The Art of Elegance. Recording these songs made me fall in love with music and lyrics all over again, and there are so many other standards out there that I can hear calling my name.

Maybe an album sequel could be the next thing to check off the bucket list! Either that or a record that gets back to my roots in Oklahoma. No matter what kinds of projects I work on, I always find myself drawn to the people and places that influenced me the most growing up, and I’d love to pay homage to their impact on my life.
 
CM: Now onto your new album, The Art of Elegance. From all the songs included (lovely selection BTW), is there one that describes you more closely?
 
KC: I have to say I’m a little partial to "Skylark" and "I Get Along Without You Very Well" — both are Hoagie Carmichael, which just goes to show you how much I love and admire his work. But toward the end of my record I do sing "Smile" — the lyrics speak to my soul. They share a sentiment that’s become very important to how I try to live my life.
 
CM: Back when we spoke, you were considering getting out there and dating again after your tour. Of course we’ve been keeping up and see that you have Andrew Pruett in your life, some mags have the described you as being “smitten” with him. How’s that going?
 
KC: Though it didn't work out, he sure is a sweetheart. Good Oklahoma boy. I’m out there dating when I can, which as you know is not very consistent given my schedule. Check back in with me in another four years and we'll see where I'm at.
 
CM: About your Houston performance at the Smart Financial Centre at Sugar Land — who will you be wearing? What kind of fashions can we expect from you?
 
KC: I'm a big fan of Alice and Olivia, seeing as how everything they make is so comfortable. And of course I’m going to bling it out — we’re in Texas! I have family that will be there and I need to make them proud!
 
CM: What will we be hearing? And why that selection now?
 
KC: My concert set changes every performance. The audience can expect some music from Wicked and some songs that people know me for. Of course I’ll be singing some selections from The Art of Elegance, and maybe I'll throw in some Dolly Parton, Don Henley, Sandi Patty… Who knows!
 
CM: Like your past performance in Houston, will you include some audience interaction? I know people love coming on stage and singing a duet impromptu.
 
KC: Yes, in fact I’ll be having a group of young local singers join me for the last couple of songs. It’s become the highlight of my whole tour.

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Kristin Chenoweth will perform on Saturday, 8 p.m., at the Smart Financial Centre at Sugar Land. Tickets start at $75 and can be purchased online.