Oklahoma's Own: From Broken Arrow To Broadway, What's Next For Kristin Chenoweth

Tuesday, November 22nd 2011, 9:38 pm
By: News 9

Terry Hood, News 9

BROKEN ARROW, Oklahoma -- With a voice like hers, it's no wonder Oklahoma's Own Kristin Chenoweth has become a superstar. What's more surprising is that with all her success, she still feels something's missing.

Kristin Chenoweth may only stand 4 feet 11 inches tall, but when she breaks out in song, she's nothing short of a small wonder.

Kristin's never been shy about claiming her Oklahoma roots, and this month her home state returned the love, inducting her into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame.

She's won a tony, an Emmy and praise from critics around the globe. But this night in Muskogee, she said, was special.

"It's kind of like saying 'you done good kid! We recognize you,'" she said.

Born in Tulsa, Kristin was adopted at birth and placed in the loving arms of Junie and Jerry Chenoweth.

Kristin spent her childhood performing every chance she got. But it was in college, at Oklahoma City University, where she truly found her calling.

She remembers the first bit of wisdom she received from renowned voice coach Florence Birdwell.

"You're going to have the highest of highs and the lowest of lows at this school," Kristin said. "And if you're smart you'll choose OCU. And if you're smarter, you'll be my student."

The words proved prophetic. After graduation, Kristin followed a friend to New York and on a lark, auditioned for an off-Broadway show. She landed the lead and never looked back.

She won a Tony Award for her performance in "You're a Good Man Charlie Brown." A year later came the role of a lifetime with the Broadway production of "Wicked."

Kristin parlayed her success on Broadway into television and movies, winning an Emmy for her role in the by-then canceled TV show, "Pushing Daisies."

But her career has also taken some knocks, ironically enough many of them from her own Christian community.

"It would be wrong of me to deny or not talk about my faith, which has been a huge part of my life. I've also made some decisions in show business that not a lot of Christians would agree with," she said.

Kristin's support of gay rights has been an on-going controversy, even costing her some jobs. But she doesn't back off, or slow down.

Kristin's now at work on a new TV series, and she's testing her range yet again with yet another musical genre. Kristin goes country in her new CD, "Some lessons learned", just released in September.

"Growing up in Oklahoma, largely the musical influences I had were country music," Kristin said. "So here I am, so many years later, finally releasing that album that is probably more like me than anything."

And yet, for Kristin Chenoweth, none of it is enough.

"At this age, I'm in my early 40's now, and I'm single. You kind of think, 'I'm not done.' In some ways I feel like I'm starting over," she said.

While Kristin hopes for a companion on her new path, the road she walks is always her own.

"I don't look back or I would have to apologize to a lot of people for, you know. I eat meat, I wear fur, I like leather. You know these are things about me that aren't going to change," she said.

Kristin calls music an extension of her soul, and no matter what or who is to come, that's not changing either.

"I have had the highest of highs and the lowest of lows in my career, and I'm sure it will continue. I'm a lifer. This is what I was born to do," she said.

Kristin Chenoweth is one of three people featured in our upcoming prime-time special, "Oklahomans". The program airs December 12th at 9 p.m. on KWTV News 9.