Kristin Chenoweth talks about her beloved Broken Arrow ahead of concert Sunday
BY JENNIFER CHANCELLOR World Scene Writer
Sunday, June 24, 2012
6/24/12 at 4:11 AM
Official Kristin Chenoweth website.
Broken Arrow native Kristin Chenoweth performs a rare concert Sunday night in her home city, with a sold-out show at the Broken Arrow Performing Arts Center.
A recent tracheal infection forced Chenoweth to postpone several tour dates of her world tour, as well as an interview with her hometown metro newspaper. She rescheduled those shows, and then made up the skipped interview with a fast-paced (and funny) email interview.
She must type as fast as she talks, is all we're saying.
Q. On Sunday, the Broken Arrow Performing Arts Center is dedicating the Kristin Chenoweth Theater at the Broken Arrow Performing Arts Center. What does this mean to you?
A: When I first heard about the dedication in my name, I thought "No ... not yet! I'm not dead!" Hahaha. It was my mom who told me to embrace it. ... I'm very honored. I am a proud Broken Arrow girl, and I'm truly touched they want to do this. It's a very big deal for our family, too. I know they're proud for me and will be there to celebrate.
Q. What can fans expect at Sunday's show? I hear it'll be eclectic, like you are, but can you be more specific?
A: Well, I love all aspects of music. I also have been trained by the best, Ms. Florence Birdwell from Oklahoma City University. She has trained me to do all kinds of music, and safely for my voice. ... The music ranges from before the turn of the century to 2012, to songs I've written, to country, to disco to gospel and Broadway to operatic in nature.
Q. Legacy of Hope Rescue from Broken Arrow will bring a couple of rescue animals to your Sunday concert here to help spread the word on rescue and adoption. How is this tied to your Maddie's Corner Foundation? Why is animal adoption and rescue so important to you?
A: Maddie (my Maltese dog), named after one of my favorite singer/actresses, Madeline Kahn, has been at some of the stops. It's hard for her to travel, as she is somewhat of a diva. I don't know where she gets it. She inspired me to start Maddie's Corner, which raises awareness about adoption. She has been a blessing in my life. Animals are gifts from God. I have had local dogs from shelters on every city at my shows. I want them to be adopted! My dog is my child, with fur.
Q. How important is God to what you do for a living?
A: The Lord is the reason I am still here. I have been given a purpose in this life, and He has helped me in a very hard career. He has been my guide. I am a Christian and proud to say it. I am not perfect. I've made some decisions other Christians might disagree with, but I am someone who prays constantly. I'm so lucky I have the hope of eternal life. That I can be forgiven. That I have His unfailing love. We all do, actually.
Q. I've read that country music is your favorite music, and that's why your latest album "Some Lessons Learned," was finally made. Of all the things you've done in your career, why country music? And why now?
A: Because I was raised an Oklahoma girl, country music was largely what we listened to. That and gospel. It's how it all began for me. It cracks me up when people say, "Why country? Why now?" Um. Because those are my roots - and not the ones on my head.
Q. What is your favorite memory from growing up in Broken Arrow?
A: Some of my favorite memories growing up in BA are really very simple. I remember a church "lock in" we had one time. That is where we all spend the night in the church gym. We ate, played, sang and just plain ole hung out. There were no BlackBerrys or cellphones, just games and fun. I loved Friday night football games. We always went to Mazzio's after, or someone's house for a party. I was a cheerleader and a Tigette. People don't understand that was a way for me to "perform." We didn't really have "Glee."
My folks also put in a pool in our backyard. I remember friends coming and hanging out and swimming and watching movies in the summer. Recently I went to my old house. The owner was so kind. He let me come in and look. Also, my family signed our names in the concrete by the pool. It was still there.
Q. Fans forge an admiration for you that goes far beyond your music. What is it about your "Oklahoma upbringing" that you think draws people to you?
A: I've been lucky. I had great teachers. ... I had parents who gave me the great gift of self-esteem. (Not to be confused with arrogance.) I also had people who have been tough on me, which only made me tougher. If I could say anything to young people, it would be "Thank your enemies! They make you tough." I also was given the gift of higher education, which I have OCU and my folks to thank. All of it matters. All of it has made me the person I am today. I care way more about what kind of mark I will leave than my talent - and I care a lot about my talent! I hope that is what people see. I hope that is why they're drawn to me, and I hope I will continue to be a good influence and inspiration to all kinds of people. I constantly am inspired by people myself. I saw a man walking in the streets of New York the other day - one of his legs was shorter than the other. He struggled to walk. (That's our main mode of transportation in NYC.) I was feeling more than sorry for myself that I had to postpone some shows due to a tracheal infection. In a flash, a smile ran across his face to me. He said, "Hi! What a gorgeous day we are having, huh?" I quickly got over my self-pity. That guy inspired me, on the spot.
Q. You've tweeted that a tracheal infection halted two of your recent tour dates. What do you generally do to help yourself recover while also so busy?
A: I was frustrated. I usually don't lose my voice. Trach infections suck because they attack, well, the trachea, which is what I need to sing. I have had to be silent, which is also hard for me. Finally (Wednesday), I took a walk with my Thunder hat on (I've been recouping in NYC) and a guy yelled "Miami will take it!" I almost punched him and yelled. But I couldn't!
Q. After this tour, what's next? Do you have another Broadway show, album, television plan worked out? What can fans expect?
A: After tour I am going to shoot an episode of (the Animal Planet reality show) "Hillbilly Handfishin' " right here in Oklahoma. I'm making all my fancy agents, publicists and assistant do it with me. They can get a good dose of Oklahoma! I will be going to London to perform, as well as back on Broadway. I will never stray far from there, as that is now, my second home.
Q. I hear rumors that you've thrown together a mini "high school reunion" while you're in town. True?
A: I don't know about a reunion, but I know some of my old high school buddies are coming. I can't tell you how exciting that is for me! I want to say "Hi." ... I cannot wait as I haven't been able to attend any reunions. I was, and will always be, a TIGER!
When: 7:30 p.m. Sunday
Where: Broken Arrow Performing Arts Center, 701 S. Main St.
Tickets: SOLD OUT. Due to venue set-up, there may be a limited number of last-minute seats released for sale, call BAPAC for more information, 918-259-5778.
Original Print Headline: Kristin Chenoweth ready for return to her beloved Broken Arrow
Born: July 24, 1968, in Broken Arrow
Education: She is a 1986 graduate of Broken Arrow High School and earned a B.A. in musical theater and an M.A. in opera performance from Oklahoma City University.
Inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame: 2010
Inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame: 2011
Current residences: Los Angeles and New York City
Most noted Broadway performances: Glinda (the good witch) in Broadway's "Wicked" (2003). She also won a Tony for her role as Sally Brown in "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown" (1999) and 2010's "Promises, Promises."
Most noted television roles: Emmy-winning role of Olive Snook in "Pushing Daisies," media specialist Annabeth Schott in "The West Wing" and bad-girl Carlene Cockburn in "GCB."
Most noted guest starring roles: the Emmy-nominated April Rhodes in "Glee," "Sesame Street," "Bewitched," "The Pink Panther"
Studio albums: "Let Yourself Go" (2001), "As I Am" (2005), "A Lovely Way to Spend Christmas" (2008) and "Some Lessons Learned" (2011)
Memoir: "A Little Bit Wicked: Life, Love, and Faith in Stages" (2009)
Sampling of awards: 2011 Vanguard award from Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, 2010 Broadway.com Audience Awards Best Leading Actress in a Broadway Musical ("Promises, Promises"), 2009 Satellite Award for Outstanding Guest Star ("Glee"), 2009 Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series ("Pushing Daisies"), 1999 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical ("You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown"), 1997 Theater World Award for Outstanding Broadway Debut ("Steel Pier")
Kristin Chenoweth will perform to a sold-out hometown audience Sunday at the Broken Arrow Performing Arts Center. MATT BARNARD/Tulsa World file
Maddie Chenoweth with her person, Kristin. Courtesy