Kristin Chenoweth says success is a combination of training, ambition

Oklahoma City University alumna Kristin Chenoweth was in Oklahoma City on Saturday to accept an honorary doctorate. Chenoweth, a Broken Arrow native, graduated from OCU with a bachelor's degree in music in 1990 and a master's degree in opera performance in 1992.
by Silas Allen Published: May 12, 2013

Chenoweth's decision not to go to the Academy of Vocal Arts disappointed her mentor at OCU, the acclaimed vocal teacher Florence Birdwell, Chenoweth said. And rightfully so, she said — studying opera at the academy would have been a tremendous opportunity.

But Chenoweth always had dreamed of being on Broadway, and the role she'd been offered placed her in a position to reach that goal.

“I'm an actress, first and foremost,” she said.

Thinking back on that decision, Chenoweth suspects she would have found her way into something like her current career if she'd chosen to go to Philadelphia.

Chenoweth has explored a wide range of genres, including performing at the Metropolitan Opera and Carnegie Hall, as well as recording country and gospel albums, and she thinks she still would have had those opportunities if she'd made different decisions.

Chenoweth believes God's plan for her was to go into entertainment, and that plan would have been fulfilled, regardless of the choices she'd made, she said.

“I don't know what I'd do if I couldn't do that,” she said.

Whatever luck she's had along the way, Chenoweth said part of the credit for her success goes to OCU. The university offered the right combination of training and performance experience, she said, and her experience with Birdwell left a lasting mark on her career.

The level of talent among students at OCU was high, she said, meaning competition was fierce. But she forged friendships with fellow students who, even today, know her as Kristi Dawn Chenoweth from Broken Arrow.

“I met some of the best friends that I've ever had,” she said.

by Silas Allen
General Assignment/Breaking News Reporter
Silas Allen is a news reporter for The Oklahoman. He is a Missouri native and a 2008 graduate of the University of Missouri.
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