Recently, Broadway star Kristin Chenoweth starred in a PBS special, Kristin Chenoweth: The Dames of Broadway . . . All of ’em!!!, in which she performed a number of classic songs made famous by some of Broadway’s greatest actresses. She spoke to The New York Post about meeting one of her musical idols, Julie Andrews, the roles she still wants to play, and the scary circumstances around her painful accident last year.
Chenoweth recalls advice she got from Julie Andrews, who actually suggested that she shouldn’t give every performance her all. She explains, “She came to see Steel Pier [Chenoweth’s 1997 Broadway debut] and they said, ‘Julie Andrews is coming backstage to meet you!’ I definitely wasn’t the star of that show, but I had a big aria where I sang a high E and held it . . . and held it . . . and held it . . . for 15 counts. And Julie greeted me, hugged me and said, ‘This is a major gift, and you cannot give those notes away.’ I looked at her funny. ‘But I’m doing this show!’ ‘Yes,’ she said. ‘But you must be selective.’ Sometimes, when I’m about to do an encore, I want to do something really all-out but then I remember: Be selective. That’s a great little piece of advice about life, too.”
In very scary news that broke last year, Chenoweth was hurt while filming a small role in the television series The Good Wife. Chenoweth elaborated on the incident, saying, “We were shooting by the water in Brooklyn, and a piece of lighting equipment had, like, a parachute silk on it to diffuse the light. The silk was held by metal beams that fell, slammed against my face, cracked my nose in two places and cracked three teeth, and then slammed my head into a curb. I still have issues. I still need dental work and my nose will not heal — it swells and bruises when I wear my glasses. The important part is, my head is back to normal. I had some memory issues at first and that was very frightening. My parents were here for several weeks, helping me. I’m glad to report that I’m back in the game.”
Though she’s been in a number of Broadway shows over the last fifteen years, Chenoweth still has a few she wants to tackle. She says, “I definitely want to do Hello, Dolly! and On the Twentieth Century — and I want to do Desiree in A Little Night Music, especially after I saw Bernadette [Peters] do it.”
However, her schedule makes it tough for her to commit to long-term roles, so she made sure to sing some of the songs that she has yet to perform in her recent television special. She adds, “But I’ve been so busy, like a hamster on a wheel. So my bucket list of songs? I think I’m doing them here.”