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Kristin Chenoweth on Returning to Glee, Romancing a Stormtrooper and Getting Back to Glinda Pink

Kristin Chenoweth on Returning to Glee, Romancing a Stormtrooper and Getting Back to Glinda Pink
Don't cry for her, Schenectady!
'I think they should do the all-black version of 'The Wiz' and cast me.'

Between guest-starring on Glee, prepping for Carnegie Hall and falling in love, Broadway favorite Kristin Chenoweth has got a lot on her plate these days. But she’s still got time to sing her heart out for fans across the country. Yes, the four-time Audience Choice Award winner is taking her acclaimed concert from Schenectady, New York, to San Antonio, Texas, with stops at any Wawa along the way. We were happy to catch up with the delightful diva between gigs to talk life on the road.

Hi Kristin! You’re in the midst of a mini-tour. How's it going?
Yeah, I’m going to some of the markets I didn’t get to play the first time out. I’m excited!

Do you like being on the road? You do a lot of concert work.
I really do like it because I can change up my show all the time. In the last year, I’ve done so many different shows—at American Songbook at Lincoln Center, in Australia, at the Hollywood Bowl and now I’m kind of combining all of those into this show and going on the road. Then I’ll be at Carnegie Hall in May. I constantly want to get better and challenge myself while I can. I might not be able to do this forever!

What’s the newest, most fun thing you’re doing in your show?
I’ve been doing the entire version of “A Quiet Thing” from Flora, the Red Menace. A lot of people don’t know the verse that sets up the song and it’s placed in a very different part of my voice—the lower range. It’s really good for me to sing personally. Also, when I did the Hollywood Bowl, I was doing songs from Hollywood musicals and I was scared to death to touch “Over the Rainbow.” I always feel like, “Oh god, here we go. Someone’s singing ‘Over the Rainbow.’” But hey, another 4’11” singer made it famous, so I can do my version of it! And people are really responding to it.

You could still totally play Dorothy, Kristin. I think Stephanie Mills did The Wiz well into her forties thanks to her height!
Well, I’m ready! Come on! I think they should do the all-black version of The Wiz and cast me.

You mean the all-white version?
No, all black! Just put me in there, randomly walking by in the background [laughs].

So you’re on the road, hitting towns like Schenectady, New York, Louisville, Kentucky and San Antonio, Texas. Do you like to get local flavor, maybe hit the Denny’s before the show? I saw you tweeted a photo at a Wawa in Pennsylvania!
I did! I just completed filming the 100th episode of Glee and those hours have been long. Then I flew into Philly and I was starved! We drove out to Lancaster, where the show was, and the car did a 360 on the ice. My driver George handled the car so well, but I was just cracking up. Leave it to me. Last time I was in Philly, there were threats of tornadoes. I thought, “What’s with me and Pennsylvania?”

The car did what?!
A complete 360-degree turn.

You need to be careful, Kristin! We can’t lose you on these little road tours. Broadway needs you!
Well, listen… A) Thank you. And B) At this point, I figure I’ve had things fall on my head that narrowly killed me. I think I…

Yeah, I’m pretty sure. But yes, after the show, I told George we had to stop at Wawa!

And what is your go-to Wawa snack?
A Coke Icee. I mean, not that much as changed about me. I stick to things that I know and love!

So was it fun being back at Glee?
Oh my god, yes. I’ve missed April Rhodes a lot. She’s such a hot mess. You can’t help but love her. She comes back to try to save the glee club, in her way. And of course, there are a few drinks along the way. She’s steady as a character—doesn’t change that much! And I had a great time with the kids on the show. I just loving being around talent.

You’re in the animated film Rio 2, which hits theaters April 11. What kind of animal are you playing?
I’m a frog. A poisonous pink frog named Gabi. She’s very sweet.

Back to Glinda pink?
I know! God bless the pink. I will say, she’s tortured a little. I mean, she’s a frog and she has her issues. And the composer John Powell has written an incredible comedic song for her that I can’t wait for people to hear.

I have to ask, will we ever get to see you do On the Twentieth Century? I’ve been holding my breath for a couple of years now!
Yeah, so have I! We’re making an announcement soon. I’m putting aside a chunk of time to be able to do this part. There are a couple of parts I want to play before I’m dead.

There’s that Dolly thing, too!
Yes, that Dolly thing. I really want to do that, too, but a little bit later. I think Lily Garland [in On the Twentieth Century] will just be such a challenge. I’m beside myself to get to play her.

I see you have a dashing stormtrooper in your life! Congrats.
Thank you. Yeah, he [new boyfriend Dana Brunetti] has his own stormtrooper outfit!

That’s handy, I guess?
He told me he had it. I was like, “Yeah, right,” and then he showed up in it. He produced a movie called Fanboys and the one thing he wanted from the film was that outfit, which is proudly displayed in his home. We went to a Halloween thing and he wore that sucker. It was a pain in the butt to get in and out of!

Finally, next week is Valentine’s Day! Sounds like you’ve found love. Any advice for your fans out there?
Oh god. Really? Pray. Hope. Keep your fingers crossed. Don’t screw it up. Don’t run! [Laughs.] I know a lot of people don’t like Valentine’s Day. They think it’s a Hallmark thing and it’s stupid, blah blah blah. I love Valentine’s Day. I’m a romantic. I love the sentiment of acknowledging someone special in your life. The best way I think is just to get a really sweet card.

Are you getting your stormtrooper a really sweet card?
Yes. And I’m hoping he gets me something in a turquoise box! But he’ll get a card for sure. [Laughs.] Nah, I’m just kidding. You know, for a long time I have just thought it’ll never happen for me. And I’ve had lots of great men in my life and I’ve been in love… We’ll see. But this guy is really special!

For more info on Chenoweth’s upcoming tour dates, visit her website.

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