Kristin Chenoweth Talks New Album, Hallmark Channel Debut, and Returning to Broadway!
Kristin Chenoweth is a busy lady! She recently released a new album, For The Girls, announced she will be going back to Broadway to promote her album, and is slated to appear in two Christmas movies, one alongside Emma Roberts.
In the below interview with Kristin, she shares what it was like working with Dolly Parton and Ariana Grande for the album, if we can expect any of them to appear on Broadway alongside her, and her Hallmark Channel debut.
Congratulations on your album, For The Girls. You collaborated with some big names including Dolly Parton. What was it like working with Dolly?
KC: My whole life I have wanted to be her, basically. I’ve been compared to her a couple of times. When I first met her maybe 30 years ago, we were singing at the Capitol and I told the producer, “All I want to do is meet Dolly Parton – anybody else, I don’t want to meet; I just want to meet her.” And he said, “I’ll make sure you meet her.” He introduced me and she said, “You’re like me. I’m like, you.” And that’s exactly what she said. And I’ve just kind of held on to that all these years. I never thought that we would actually get to sing together. I never thought she would say yes. She’s a very busy lady and she’s still at the height of her career and she’s her. But she said yes and I did the ugly cry and she gave me the opportunity to sing with her on her biggest hit, “I Will Always Love You.” You know, if it all ended tomorrow, I’m good now.
You also collaborated with Ariana Grande, Jennifer Hudson, and Reba McEntire. Did anything surprise you about working with them?
KC: No, because I know them. I’ve known Ariana since she was 10, so we’re just friends. I love her. She’s like one of my little babies. Reba is somebody I look up to and admire. I’ve watched her do her career and how she handles herself and always is kind to everybody, never mind her pipes. She’s an amazing singer. And then J-Hud sings her face off, too. All of these women have been through a lot of adversity, been their own boss, and bet on themselves. I wanted that to be the theme of the record, through all the music, and I’m just glad they all said yeah.
This album is for the girls made by the girls. Why was it so important for you to have a female-inspired album?
KC: I didn’t set out to do that; I didn’t know what I wanted to do next. After the last record, I wrote down all the songs I’d always wanted to sing. As I whittled them down, I kept looking at these very unique sounds – you know Leslie Gore when you hear her, you know Linda Ronstadt when you hear her, you know Dolly when you hear her. Judy, Barbara, Eva, they’re all there. Eydie Gorme in my world, we know her. So I wanted to represent them all. Dinah Washington and Carole King. But, I wanted to put my stamp on it because I have to move. I was watching a Ken Burns country music documentary the other day and one of the artists said we have to continue to keep moving forward with the music. We can’t stay left behind and just do the same thing over and over. That’s what I wanted to do here. And this gave me the opportunity.
You’re also taking this to Broadway! What are you most looking forward to about returning to the stage?
KC: Oh, I’m a creature of the theater. I love performing in front of a live audience. It’s where I have the most fun. It’s where I’m the most comfortable. In fact, I’m more comfortable on stage than in life, which I should probably continue my therapy on that one. I can’t wait to get in front of the crowd and just perform these songs. It’ll be more of a concert style than all Broadway. I can’t wait, and I’m going to do some songs that were cut from the record just because I want people to see the process of how it goes.
Will any of the friends that helped you out on the album make a guest appearance during the Broadway shows?
KC: Possibly. There’s eight performances on Broadway and there’ll be surprise guests every night.
You’re also going to be starring in A Christmas Love Story on the Hallmark Channel in a few months. How did this come about?
KC: I had this idea with my friend who’s a producer and an actress, Jennifer Aspen, and it has to do with a subject matter that is very close to both of us. I can’t give it away or I’d give the movie away, but there is this love story at the center. I wanted to write a song for the movie, and I know Hallmark does Christmas better than anybody. We brought our idea to them. They bought it, they wrote the script, and we shot it. My friend Chely Wright and I wrote the title song “When Angels Land” for the movie, which is a first for me. I’ve never had a song that I have written in a film.
You are also going to be starring in Holidate. What can you tell us about the film or your character in the film?
KC: OK, it stars Emma Roberts. I play her crazy Aunt Susan and basically Aunt Susan has a different boyfriend at every holiday – we call it “holidate.” You find out later why she’s been
stuck in this rut. But, it’s a romcom. It’s totally funny. There is a lot of heart to it and I can’t wait for people to just laugh. It’s Netflix. There’s a little bit of naughtiness to it. So it’s quite different from the Hallmark film, but still fun.