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Homegrown dynamo: Kristin Chenoweth to perform OKC Civic Center concert

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Kristin Chenoweth. [Photo by Gian di Stefano]
Kristin Chenoweth. [Photo by Gian di Stefano]

Like the late, legendary Carol Channing, Oklahoma native Kristin Chenoweth is an award-winning dynamo who has made an indelible mark on both stage and screen.

The two Tony Award winners also are known not just for taking a stage but seizing it.

“She said, ‘I just don’t know how to phone it in; every night is opening night.’ And I’m the same. I’m just like that. No matter where I am, whether it’s Schenectady or Carnegie Hall or Sydney Opera House, it’s all opening night to me,” Chenoweth said by phone from her home base of New York City.

“Add that feeling on to being at home, surrounded by those who have watched you grow up. ... It’s slightly terrifying — always — and also amazing, because, as you know, I am a very proud Oklahoman. … Still, the most incredible nights of my life are when I’m on stage in Oklahoma ‘cause that’s where it all started.”

The Oklahoma City University graduate returns to her home state to perform “My Love Letter to Oklahoma” in concert Tuesday night at the Civic Center.

“What you’ll see in Oklahoma is from the Eagles to Dolly Parton. … You’ll see some stuff from ‘Wicked,’ because I’m not gonna get myself in trouble, am I?” Chenoweth said with a chuckle. “But it’s all over the map, and that’s what I love about it the most. … I want people to forget about their problems for 90 minutes and go home floating.”

Versatile performer

The eclectic concert set list matches the rest of her career: She earned a Tony Award for the 1999 Broadway revival of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” and a lasting tie to the land of Oz for originating the role of Glinda in “Wicked.” She received an Emmy for the supernatural comedy “Pushing Daisies” and has given memorable TV turns in “Glee,” “The West Wing” and “Trial & Error.” Her film roles include the comedy “Four Christmases,” the thriller “The Boy Next Door” and the animated adventure “The Star,” while her albums range from contemporary Christian to country-pop to the Great American Songbook.

Chenoweth, 50, said she plans to perform at the Oklahoma City show a few songs from her album “For the Girls,” which is due out later this year.

“It is a dedication to the women that I look up to,” she said. “It’s women who have definitely made their claim in this world, singing and/or singing-songwriting. It’s not a duets record, but there’s probably about five or six women on there that have definitely inspired me that will be represented. And it’s all over. It’s not a certain genre.”

The Broken Arrow native said she also is preparing to film a holiday movie for Netflix, not to be confused with “The Christmas Song,” the Hallmark Channel telefilm she is starring in opposite Scott Wolf.

She hopes to return soon to Broadway, and she is attached to two anticipated projects: a musical based on the 1992 darkly comedic movie “Death Becomes Her,” in which she would play the role originated by Meryl Streep, and one based on the life of the late Tammy Faye Bakker, in which she would portray the Christian singer and televangelist.

“There’s several irons in the fire I have, and it’s almost kind of like a race now. ... Who’s gonna get done, and by the way, which one is gonna speak to me,” Chenoweth said.

Hometown camp

After her Oklahoma City show, she will return to her home state to host the fifth annual Kristin Chenoweth Broadway Boot Camp for Oklahoma high-schoolers June 9-15 at the Broken Arrow Performing Arts Center, where the theater is named for her.

“It has taken off. I’m really super proud of it,” she said. “All week, it’s singing, acting, dancing, learning — and all the time. And the kids are exhausted and happy and they bond. The amount of return kids that we have wanting back, that is what I love to see. ... This is year five. I think by year 10, not only do I think I’ll have a couple of Tony winners, but I think I’m gonna have some Grammy winners."

Proceeds from her Oklahoma City concert will benefit Allied Arts, which shares her goal of helping the arts thrive in Oklahoma.

“They have been such good friends to me,” Chenoweth said. “I just love that we’re standing together ... for the arts and showing how it can really, truly change lives.”

IN CONCERT

'Kristin Chenoweth: My Love Letter to Oklahoma'

When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Where: Civic Center Music Hall, 201 N Walker.

Tickets and information: okcciviccenter.com or 594-8300.

Related Photos
<strong>Kristin Chenoweth. [Photo by Gian di Stefano]</strong>

Kristin Chenoweth. [Photo by Gian di Stefano]

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Brandy McDonnell

Brandy McDonnell, also known by her initials BAM, writes stories and reviews on movies, music, the arts and other aspects of entertainment. She is NewsOK’s top blogger: Her 4-year-old entertainment news blog, BAM’s Blog, has notched more than 1... Read more ›

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