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Kristin Chenoweth goes country

Oklahoma-born and -bred actress/singer Kristin Chenoweth already is a Broadway, TV and movie star, but this year she also released her debut country album. On Monday, she will continue her country crossover when she co-hosts the second annual American Country Awards on Fox.
BY BRANDY MCDONNELL Published: December 5, 2011

Although her four albums have delved into vastly different musical styles, the actress/singer said she has a reason for every song she chooses.

“The first album I did was what people expected of me: '30s and '40s Broadway, big, orchestral music. And that is definitely part of who I am. The second album was a Christian album, and I had to fight real hard to get it. The third album was a Christmas album, and I had to fight real hard to make sure that we could say Jesus on it. The fourth album is a country album because that's how I grew up singing,” she said.

“I'm definitely an artist who does a lot of different things. Some view it as sort of a curse; I like to think of it as a blessing. But for me, every single thing I do is about the lyric and the character. A lot of great voices are out there, but it's about what you have to say. And I get to do it through music and through a character in a film or on television, and that's what I love the most.”

Along with her foray into country music and Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame induction, Chenoweth has racked up many career highlights in 2011. A Tony Award winner for “You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown” and Tony nominee for “Wicked,” she starred in the Broadway revival of “Promises, Promises,” which launched in April 2010 and wrapped up in January 2011.

Already a 2009 Emmy winner for the late, great comedy “Pushing Daisies,” she earned her fourth nomination this year for her guest performance as April Rhodes on Fox's cult hit show “Glee.” Plus, she has been working on the anticipated new drama series “G.C.B.,” formerly titled “Good Christian Belles” and based on Kim Gatlin's novel “Good Christian Bitches.” The show is set to premiere in March on ABC.

“(It's) about five women in the South who grew up in church and how they deal with each other and their demons and humanity.”

Plus, Chenoweth sang this year for Oprah Winfrey, President Barack Obama and Queen Elizabeth II of England, and made her debut at the Grand Ole Opry.

And she has no intention of scaling back her multifaceted career.

“I will go on tour in the spring, and then in the fall I will probably do another season of the show that you have not seen yet. And then on my next hiatus, I will revive ‘On the Twentieth Century' on Broadway, which was originated by one of my favorites, Madeline Kahn, and hasn't been revived since maybe before I was born. I'm excited to get to go back to Broadway; whenever they'll have me, I'm ready to go. So, I have dates through about 2013 and '14,” she said, laughing.

“I'll sleep when I'm dead.”