Buffalo’s Broadway fans’ dreams are about to come true, when Kristin Chenoweth at long last makes her Buffalo debut, performing April 6 in Kleinhans Music Hall with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and members of the University at Buffalo’s Music Department.
Chenoweth made a name for herself originating the bubbly role of Glinda in Broadway’s “Wicked,” and has starred on shows like “Glee,” “The West Wing” and the whimsical “Pushing Daisies,” for which she earned an Emmy Award. Behind a microphone, though, is where she is most popular. Chenoweth recently answered a few questions ahead of her visit.
Question: What can we expect to hear in your concert in Buffalo?
Answer: One of the things I love about doing these concerts is getting to do all the kinds of music I love. I’ll be doing some things from shows I’ve been in; of course, I’ll do some things from “Wicked.” I’m excited to debut two songs from my upcoming album, which won’t be released until September. You’ll hear everything from Jerome Kern to Dolly Parton – and that’s kind of me, I think.
Q: You’re known for your Christian faith, and also your commitment to the LGBTQ community. I’m curious how you reconcile these two audiences that are sometimes at odds with each other.
A: I appreciate the question. I think it’s important to say this: I grew up in the Bible Belt, and I have such a strong faith in the Lord, and I guess what has been confusing to me since I was a little girl is why those two worlds don’t go together. I’ve taken a lot of heat for being a Christian, and doing things like performing with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, or for doing a Christian record. And I’ve taken a lot of heat for playing a lesbian in a movie. But I’m the one that has to lay my head on the pillow at night. It’s a very personal relationship I have with God, and I know that I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. I know that there are people that disagree, and that’s okay. I think how we disagree with each other is also important. I have to continue another fight in this life, and that is letting people see that the two groups can coexist, and should.
Q: You work with students in your hometown in Broken Arrow, Okla., at the Kristin Chenoweth Theatre. What is that experience like?
A: The master classes are probably my favorite opportunity to have with those kids, to try to bring something out of them that they didn’t know they had. I love to see that moment – when it clicks for them. We do that once a year at my theater, and then we have the Kristin Chenoweth Broadway Boot Camp, which is the week of the Tony Awards. We have a pizza party and watch the Tonys together, and then the next morning we start auditions for a weeklong intensive. At the end, we put on a show that’s free for the public. That’s the week I look forward to throughout my entire year.
Q: This will be your first time performing in Buffalo, is that right?
A: My parents lived in Buffalo for three years, in the early beginnings of my Broadway career. They’ve lived in Oklahoma, Texas, Pennsylvania and Buffalo; we have an affinity for them all. And I have to tell you, when I’ve asked them, where was your favorite place to live, Buffalo always comes up – because of the people. I’ve never performed there, but it’s finally happening! I can’t wait.
BPO Pops Concert with Kristin Chenoweth
8 p.m. April 6 in Kleinhans Music Hall. Available tickets are priced $59 to $99 (bpo.org).