Kristin Chenoweth

Kristin Chenoweth Biography

(1968–)
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Actress and singer Kristin Chenoweth is known for her Broadway roles in 'Wicked' and 'You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown,' as well as her work on TV shows like 'The West Wing' and 'Pushing Daisies.'

Who Is Kristin Chenoweth?

Kristin Chenoweth is an award-winning actress who rose to fame in stage productions of Strike Up the BandYou're A Good Man, Charlie Brown and Wicked. She has also appeared on TV shows like The West Wing, Pushing Daisies and Glee, and has released several albums showcasing her powerful singing voice.

Early Life

Kristin Dawn Chenoweth was born on July 24, 1968, in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, and was soon adopted into the Chenoweth family. Initially named Kristi, Chenoweth showed an interest in performance at an early age, when she started singing gospel songs at church and acting in school plays. The petite performer wore multiple hats in high school, doing ballet, opera, acting and singing.

After graduating from high school, Chenoweth decided to pursue a career in performance, eventually earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in musical theater and a master's degree in opera performance from Oklahoma City University. To help fund her higher education, Chenoweth took her talents into the pageant circuit, winning the title of runner-up in the Miss Oklahoma competition in 1991.

Theater, Music, TV & Films

'Animal Crackers'

In 1993, Chenoweth traveled to New York City to support a friend who was auditioning for an off-Broadway musical called Animal Crackers. Chenoweth decided to give the production a try, as well. She blew the producers away with her audition, earning herself a supporting role. Although she was faced with a competing opportunity to continue her study of opera, Chenoweth took the role in the musical and never looked back.

'Steel Pier'

After her first professional step into the theater world, Chenoweth continued to work off-Broadway. Her dynamic performances and glass-rattling soprano earned her several leading roles onstage, and directors reassured her that her Broadway breakthrough was just around the corner. Chenoweth's moment finally came in 1997, when she landed the role of Precious McGuire in Steel Pier. Playing a dancer with dreams of hitting it big, the soon-to-be star channeled plenty of her own insight and emotion into the role, earning herself a Theater World award for her efforts.

'Strike Up the Band,' 'You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown'

Shortly after her first foray into more mainstream show business, Chenoweth performed at the Lincoln Center in the George and Ira Gershwin musical Strike Up the Band. In 1999, she solidified her position as a Broadway favorite with her show-stopping performance as Sally Brown in You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown. With accolades from the likes of The New York Times and a Tony Award under her belt, Chenoweth found herself flung into the spotlight.

'Kristin,' 'Let Yourself Go'

It was only a matter of time before the camera came calling, and soon Kristin Chenoweth found herself being recruited by television executives from ABC and NBC. Splitting her talents had never been a problem before, and Chenoweth was soon ably juggling careers on stage and on screen. In 2001, she even starred in a semi-biographical NBC sitcom called Kristin. The sitcom was short-lived, but the actress had no trouble finding a new place for her talents. That same year, she released her first solo album, Let Yourself Go.

'Wicked,' 'The West Wing'

In 2003, Chenoweth landed a starring role as Glinda in the Broadway hit Wicked. The production had an all-star cast, and Chenoweth found herself losing a Tony Award to her co-star, Idina Menzel. After a year of Wicked performances, Chenoweth retired her wand. She set off for Los Angeles, where she took a job playing a plucky press secretary on the television series The West Wing. While working on the show, the actress met and began to date the show's writer and master of snappy dialogue, Aaron Sorkin.

'Candide,' 'The Apple Tree'

During this time, Chenoweth went back to New York to play the part of Cunégonde in the New York Philharmonic's Candide. During a whirlwind 2006, the multi-talented performer appeared in six movies and two television shows, and starred in the Broadway musical The Apple Tree. Noting she always seemed to thrive on a challenging schedule, Chenoweth said, "I maybe have a bit of career A.D.D. But I always did five million, jillion, gazillion things a day."

'Pushing Daisies,' 'Four Christmases,' Memoir

In 2007, Chenoweth went back to television as a cast member of Pushing Daisies, earning an Emmy Award for her quirky comedic performance. In 2008, she had a supporting role as Reese Witherspoon's on-screen sister in the romantic comedy Four Christmases. The following year, she published a memoir, A Little Bit Wicked: Life, Love, and Faith in Stages.

'Glee,' 'Promises, Promises'

Chenoweth appeared on FOX's hit television show Glee in 2010, where, much to the enjoyment of fans, she was able to show off both her singing and acting skills. She was nominated for an Emmy for her performance on the show, and due to popular demand, was written back in for episodes airing in 2011. Chenoweth returned to Broadway around this time with a revival of Promises, Promises

'GCB,' 'The Good Wife' 

Chenoweth was cast for a lead part in the dramatic comedy series GCB, but the show was canceled after airing as a midseason replacement in 2012. The actress then landed a recurring role on the hit drama The Good Wife, but she suffered a serious head injury on set, and dropped out of the show to focus on her recovery.

'The Opposite Sex,' 'On the Twentieth Century'

Chenoweth went on to appear in such films as The Opposite Sex (2014) and The Boy Next Door (2015). She also took on a starring role in the musical comedy On the Twentieth Century opposite Peter Gallagher in 2015, receiving a Tony nomination for her work. That same year, Chenoweth revisited the world of Charlie Brown by voicing Snoopy's love interest in The Peanuts Movie, and hosted the Tony Awards ceremony with Alan Cumming.

'Hairspray Live!,' 'Trial & Error'

Back in the recording studio, Chenoweth in 2016 released the album The Art of Elegance, which reflected her solo debut effort with its covers of American standards. She also featured prominently in NBC's Hairspray Live! that December, and provided more voice work for 2017's My Little Pony: The Movie. Chenoweth then returned to scripted television in 2018 as a regular cast member on season 2 of Trial & Error, before joining Menzel to co-host the special A Very Wicked Halloween later that year.

Faith & Personal

Raised as a practicing Christian, Chenoweth often speaks of the importance of faith in her life. The singer even recorded an album in 2005, As I Am, which includes a mix of gospel hymns and contemporary Christian music. Her liberal social views ran afoul of some conservative Christian groups, though, after she publicly pronounced her support for gay rights.

On the other side of the issue, many of her gay fans were upset that she appeared on The 700 Club with Pat Robertson, on the Christian Broadcasting Network. Chenoweth's struggle with straddling the two worlds became artistic fodder for her former boyfriend Sorkin, and the actress found herself mirrored as a character on his short-lived television series Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (2006-07).

When it comes to her career and personal life, Chenoweth knows a thing or two about being a million places at once. The trick for this talented actress seems to be multi-tasking. "You've got to find ways to breathe while you're dancing so that when it comes time for you to stop and sing again, you have it," she once said.

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