By Andrew Gans
30 May 2012
A reading of the new musical about the life of Bakker was held in Manhattan in June 2011 and featured Chenoweth in the role of the late, heavily mascara'd evangelist.
"We'll probably do another reading—several more readings—to fine-tune it. The music is incredible, I have to say. I don't even like to say things like that about things I'm in, but Henry Krieger...It's his best, I think," Chenoweth said, adding, "The character I understand. I understand the whole Christian network television deal, and I think she was ahead of her time in a lot of ways. She was so accepting and loving of all kinds of people. She really was the epitome of what we're supposed to be as Christians. She had a tough life. Some people would call it denial. I call it… She had hope. She believed in her husband and family, and she was enjoying success, and that's the story of the show."
The new musical boasts a score by Dreamgirls' Krieger and a book by Australian playwright Anthony Crowley, according to a previous New York Post report.
The previous reading, produced by Kevin McCollum and Jeffrey Seller, also featured Tony nominee Hunter Foster as Jim Bakker, Nancy Opel as Betty Ford, Clarke Thorell as Jimmy Swaggert, Robert Petkoff as Pat Robertson and Bradley Dean as Jerry Falwell.
Chenoweth won the Tony Award in 1999 for her performance in You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown. She was nominated in 2004 for her performance in Wicked and has also been seen on Broadway in Steel Pier, Epic Proportions, The Apple Tree and Promises, Promises.
Friday's Diva Talk will feature a full interview with Kristin Chenoweth.