When it comes to Broadway stars you can't get much bigger than Kristin Chenoweth. Described as “Broadway royalty,” she is best known for creating the role of Glinda in the musical Wicked; immortalised for fans around the world to enjoy on the original Broadway cast recording.
Born in 1968, Kristi Dawn Chenoweth was raised in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma by adoptive parents. She changed her name to Kristin at the suggestion of a music teacher and mentor to have a more professional sounding name.
This petite performer first started singing gospel music in churches as a young child. Upon graduation from high school, she completed a degree in musical theatre and a masters degree in opera performance. This operatic training is obvious in her extensive vocal range and what has affectionately been dubbed “the Cheno note.” This is a high note elicited by Chenoweth during moments of excitement and jubilation. Not only are there YouTube video clips dedicated to the Cheno note, it even has its own Facebook page!
Although offered a full scholarship to the Philadelphia Academy of Performing Arts, she turned down this opportunity to take up the role of Arabella Rittenhouse in the PaperMill Playhouse Production of the musical Animal Crackers (1993.) She moved to New York to pursue a career in musical theatre and has never looked back.
Despite suffering Ménière's disease, an inner ear condition that causes vertigo, headaches and nausea, Chenoweth has successfully managed an extensive career that has spanned television, film, theatre and concerts. She has performed in a range of genres – everything from The West Wing to Pushing Daisies, The Music Man to Wicked, The Pink Panther to Bewitched. Younger audiences would recognise her from appearances on Sesame Street and Glee. She has won an array of awards including a Tony Award, Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Circle Award and an Emmy Award. Ironically, while Chenoweth was nominated for a Tony Award for her role as Glinda, the role for which she is best known, it was fellow Wicked performer Indina Mendez who won the Tony for her role as Elphaba.
In 2010 Chenoweth penned an autobiography entitled A Little Bit Wicked: Life, Love, and Faith in Stages. She has released numerous albums and singles with some top 100 success.
Those who have met Chenoweth describe her as still being a small town girl at heart, with none of the diva attitude you would expect of a Broadway star. She supports numerous charities, including Maddie's Corner which she started herself to support animals in need.
This year will be the first visit to Australia by Kristin Chenoweth for a concert tour promising pop, opera and Broadway classics … and hopefully a Cheno note or two!