Singer/actress Kristin Chenoweth may be best known for her Tony-winning Broadway roles and her Emmy-honored television career.
But the multitalented performer has country music in her heart, thanks to her Oklahoma upbringing.
“With this last album I did, I really wanted to pay homage to how I grew up singing. And that was a huge influence on me, obviously, because as you know, in Oklahoma there's 45 country music stations and maybe one pop-rock,” Chenoweth told The Oklahoman with a laugh.
“So think about who my influences were: They were Dolly and Reba and Trisha and Shania and Patsy and Loretta. Those were the people that I listened to. Of course, I loved the Broadway cast albums 'cause we didn't have tons of Broadway coming through Broken Arrow, but that was largely my musical influence.”
Along with releasing her debut country album, “Some Lessons Learned,” last year, the suburban Tulsa native, 44, co-hosted the 2011 American Country Awards with multiplatinum country star Trace Adkins.
The 4 feet 11 inch tall classically trained soprano again will share hosting duties with the 6 feet 6 inch tall baritone at the third annual awards show, which will air live from Las Vegas at 7 p.m. Monday on Fox.
“Honestly, that's what brought me back this year. It's him,” Chenoweth said Monday in a teleconference. “He is a really good person. He has a very good sense of humor and for some reason we have kind of a fun chemistry. It's not two people that you would necessarily put together, but it works. I just flat out adore him.”
Although 2012 has been a tough year for Chenoweth, the Oklahoma Music Hall of Famer sounded like her usual optimistic self as she chatted about the fan-voted ACAs, her celebrated Broadway career and the challenges of balancing her many professional interests with her social life, including dating. She has recently been linked with former “Bachelor” star Jake Pavelka.
“That's my biggest struggle in life, is the balance issue. I know that a lot of people know that I got hurt in July. I'm doing so much better, so much better, but I think it slowed me down to a point to really try to be very, very careful. I like to do a lot of different things and I've realized that life is short and I want to do things that make me happy and really help me leave my mark in this world,” Chenoweth said.
Over the summer, Chenoweth suffered a skull fracture and other injuries when a piece of lighting equipment struck her on the head during filming of the TV show “The Good Wife.” The injury forced her to give up her recurring role on the CBS drama.
She suffered an emotional blow back in spring when her freshman ABC series “GCB” was canceled. Based on the book “Good Christian Bitches,” the soapy prime-time drama stirred controversy.
“Those characters that we all played on ‘GCB' were so fun. It disheartened me to think that there was a few that thought it was making fun of God, which I would never do. I thought it was just having fun with a world that I knew very well,” she said.
“When you lose a lot of your major advertisers I understand why ABC did what they did, but it still makes me sad.”
Of all her different projects, the petite Tony winner said she most enjoys performing live, which is part of the reason she relishes co-hosting the ACAs with the towering Adkins.
“Well, the most challenging part for our producers, I'm sure, is to get us in the same frame,” she quipped.
“What we want to do is we just don't want to screw up live. That's going to be the biggest challenge, but also one that I love because it's live theater. I look at it as live theater. ... I just am a creature of live audience.”
Clearly, she also thrives on a busy schedule.
“This challenge that we were talking about earlier about me trying not to overdo because I'm still in the process of healing and I want to have a life and enjoy myself? But I really do love all the different things that I get the opportunity to do. Right off the bat I have some concerts coming up; I have one New Year's Eve in Park City, Utah. I have a Lincoln Center ‘American Songbook Series' that will be filmed for PBS on Feb. 15. And then I do like a mini European tour in March. I was supposed to do that in September; we had to put it off while I healed. ... After that it'll be (the Broadway revival of) ‘On the Twentieth Century,' we're trying to work out the dates because I want to do that as well as ‘Soapdish' on Broadway,” she said.
“I really want to do another country album, actually, and do more writing on my own. Just being in Oklahoma for a week and a half for Thanksgiving, it just connects me to my upbringing, to my family, to my faith and who I am at the heart of it all. I think Oklahoma has a lot to do with it and country music is a huge part of it.”
Just being in Oklahoma for a week and a half for Thanksgiving, it just connects me to my upbringing, to my family, to my faith and who I am at the heart of it all.”