Kristin Chenoweth Has Full Plate with New Country-Pop CD, TV Pilot and Possible Broadway Return
By Andrew Gans
The numerous fans of Tony winner Kristin Chenoweth, who was most recently on Broadway opposite Sean Hayes in the revival of Promises, Promises, will have many reasons to celebrate in the next few months as the singing actress prepares to release her latest solo recording.
Entitled "Some Lessons Learned," the CD is due Sept. 13 on the Sony Masterworks label. The country-pop recording, Chenoweth told Playbill.com May 5, "was actually an idea I had many years ago when I signed with my record label. I had it in my contract that we would do one. It's an idea that I had when I was growing up — I just always wanted to do it, so I'm glad I finally got the opportunity. It's more how I sang growing up ... [and] I'm really excited by it."
The Tony and Emmy-winning actress, who was born and raised in Oklahoma, said her country influences include Patsy Cline, Trisha Yearwood and Dolly Parton. In fact, a song Chenoweth penned about Grammy winner Parton, entitled "What Would Dolly Do?" (or "WW Double D"), will be featured on the new disc, as will another Chenoweth composition, "Mine to Love."
"I can't wait for people to hear [the CD]," Chenoweth added. "I sort of feel like people know of all kinds of styles I do, but this is going to be incredibly special for me to finally get to do the one that I said, 'Look, if you sign me, please just agree to do this one thing.' I just can't wait for people to hear it, whatever happens."
With the exception of one cover, all the tunes on "Some Lessons Learned" are original compositions, including the single "Bitch About," which will be released June 6. "There will be a video — a music video to the single — which will be coming out on CMT," Chenoweth said. "First time I've ever gotten to do a music video, which is kind of cool." She is also thrilled to have gotten the chance to record the fan favorite "Boy": "I think that I am most excited about that song because I know the fans have been asking for it for a long time, and I finally got to record it."
The comic actress, who recently made another guest appearance on the hit Fox series "Glee," is also waiting to hear whether her new TV pilot, "Good Christian Bitches," will be picked up by ABC. "Glee" creator Ryan Murphy and Chenoweth "had a timeline [for a pilot], and we didn't meet it, so I did another pilot for ABC called 'Good Christian Bitches,' and I'll find out May 17 if that is actually going to be put on the air. ... [The show concerns] women of faith who have their demons," Chenoweth said with a laugh. "Let's just say it like that." The cast also includes Leslie Bibb, Miriam Shor, Annie Potts, Marisol Nichols and Jennifer Aspen.
And, what about a return to Broadway for the actress, whose Main Stem credits include Wicked, The Apple Tree and You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, among others?
"I'm involved in a reading of a show that I'm very interested in doing about Tammy Faye Baker. We're going to revive On the Twentieth Century, and I'm going to know a lot more, in about two weeks, about when that will be! You know everybody knows how I feel about Broadway and how much I love it, and I'm lucky that I get to consider what kinds of things that I would like to do. Obviously, I love to do original stuff, but On the Twentieth Century [has] a part that I've been wanting to play, and it seems like a really good fit."
Chenoweth said that although she's been extremely busy with her various projects, she has been able to spend "a lot of time with friends... Any downtime I have, even if it's two hours — I'm like, 'Let's meet for lunch,' or 'Let's go to the mall,' or 'Let's take a walk.' I've been going at it for so long so hard. This year has been about, for me, reconnection and taking care of people who I really, actually want to spend time with. So I'm doing that a lot more — obviously that brings me great pleasure."
The Broadway favorite, who said she "was so happy to see that Scottsboro Boys got recognized [by the Tonys]," has several shows on her wish list. "I can't wait to see Book of Mormon. I can't wait to see Sister Act, and I can't wait to see How to Succeed... and, of course, The Normal Heart, with Joe [Mantello] and Lee [Pace] — I have to see that. So when I get there in a couple weeks, I have a long line of theatre to go see, which fills me up like it does so many people."
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