Editor's note: This article was published prior to the cancellation of the show due to ongoing efforts to reduce the spread of coronavirus.
“I love being in Connecticut,” exclaims Kristin Chenoweth in anticipation of returning to the state for her March 27 concert engagement at the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts at UConn’s Storrs campus.
The award-winning singer/actress was last seen in the Nutmeg State in a sold-out October 2018 concert, where she won the audience over by making her entrance in a UConn shirt. Her return is part of the ongoing tour supporting her album “For the Girls,” which she describes as a deeply personal tribute to the female singers who influenced her career.
The album features Chenoweth in invigorating duets with several icons of the music world: Ariana Grande comes in for a take on the Lesley Gore classic “You Don’t Own Me” (the music video snagged more than 2 million views on YouTube), while Reba McIntire and Jennifer Hudson show up on a cover of Peggy Lee’s jazzy “I’m a Woman” and Dolly Parton offers her vocals on a new version of the country star’s landmark “I Will Always Love You.”
Since its release to rave reviews in September, the promotion of “For the Girls” has kept Chenoweth on the road and in the airports in a whirlwind of concerts – most notably with a two-week engagement on Broadway in November and a New Year’s Eve concert at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. Chenoweth’s Storrs appearance follows a skein of shows across Florida, Alabama and North Carolina and in Philadelphia’s Verizon Hall.
And while this has been going on, Chenoweth has been flying across back and forth across the country for special events for humanitarian causes. On February 1, she received the Human Rights Campaign’s Ally for Equality Award at a gala in New York, and she was headlining star for the Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards ceremony in Palm Springs on Feb. 8.
Chenoweth’s travel schedule could easily exhaust a casual observer, and the 51-year-old star works hard to ensure she is always in prime condition.
Nonetheless, Chenoweth admits, being on the road can be stressful. “I have very good days and I have bad days,” she says. “But I truly love what I do.”
But that’s not to say Chenoweth is always traveling from one far-flung location to another. Last year, she acted in a pair of films – the Hallmark Channel’s A Christmas Love Story and Holidate for Netflix, which has yet to premiere. She is also preparing to settle down with a new Disney Plus comedy series called The Biggest Star in Appleton, playing a Wisconsin waitress who channels her talents into a local community theater.
Chenoweth has earned multiple honors throughout her career, including an Emmy Award for Pushing Daisies, a Tony Award for the 1999 revival of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Even with all of this activity, Chenoweth maintains a career wish list that includes being a host on Saturday Night Live. While she acknowledged the commercial failure of the big-screen version of the musical Cats, she insisted “it won’t be a setback” for the genre and is openly wishing to find herself cast in what she happily describes as “a big movie musical.”
But beyond the Broadway-Hollywood-concert tour cycle, Chenoweth admits to being invigorated by an opportunity where she is not in the spotlight.
In 2012, the Broken Arrow Performing Arts Center in her hometown of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, named its main stage the Kristin Chenoweth Theatre in her honor. Since 2015, she has returned to the space to host “Kristin Chenoweth’s Broadway Boot Camp,” a week-long program in June that connects Oklahoma students into one-on-one direct instruction from entertainment industry professionals. She is also planning to create original works to be staged at her eponymous venue.
“The theater in Oklahoma is becoming a larger focus of my life,” she says. “I will be producing, and I am excited to be part of things when they begin.”