Kristin Dawn Chenoweth (born Kristi Dawn Chenoweth, July 24, 1968 in Broken Arrow, OK) is an acclaimed American actor and singer, known as "the tiny blonde with the powerhouse voice" and one of Broadway's reigning queens. "Cheno" is known among musical theater lovers as the original G(a)linda in the hit musical Wicked. Television audiences, on the other hand, know her as Olive Snook from Pushing Daisies, Annabeth Schott from The West Wing and April Rhodes on Glee.
She is also known for her Cheno Notes (extremely high soprano notes, well into the whistle range, sung in full head voice), for being 4 feet 11 inches, and for Les Yay-ing it up with Wicked costar Idina Menzel. Also a tiny but vocal Mama Bear to everyone in the LGBT community despite her deeply Christian upbringing, as this takedown of a writer attacking her co-stars shows.
She was a guest judge on American Idol for the Orlando auditions. Awesome promptly ensued.
She wrote a 2010 autobiography, A Little Bit Wicked, and narrates the audiobook version (complete with cameos for major characters such as Aaron Sorkin).
She can do anything — literally anything. She is also a very Large Ham.
Roles of note:
- Sally in You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown (for which she won the 1999 Tony)
- Lily St. Regis in Annie (1999).
- Kristin in a self-titled six episode NBC sitcom that was sadly shunted to being a summer replacement series.
- Cunegonde in a televised version of the operetta Candide.
- G(a)linda in Wicked.
- Annabeth Schott in The West Wing.
- Olive in Pushing Daisies, for which she won an Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actress after the show was canceled.
- Miracle Groh in Sit Down, Shut Up
- April Rhodes on Glee.
- Fran Kublik in Promises, Promises.
- Rosetta in the Tinker Bell movies.
- Charlene Cockburn in GCB.
- Ms. Noodle on Sesame Street. Yep.
- Mary Jo Gornickle in RV
- Mae in Andrew Lippa's treatment of The Wild Party
- Vanessa Gekko in Bojack Horseman
- Velma von Tussle in NBC's Hairspray Live!
- Princess Skystar in My Little Pony: The Movie (2017)
- Easter in American Gods (2017)
- Lavinia Peck-Foster in Trial & Error
- Maleficent in Descendants
- Mildred Howard in Schmigadoon!
Kristin Chenoweth and her works provide examples of:
- Audience Participation: In her live shows, she likes to bring up someone from the audience to sing "For Good" from Wicked with her.
- Betty and Veronica: Some of her best-known roles like in Wicked, Pushing Daisies, and Glee have her as the Veronica to the Betty of the show.
- Catchphrase: She typically gives a wistful "Wish I'd written it," after performing a classic song.
- Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: She has blonde hair, although she is naturally brunette, and is known for playing very upbeat, sweet-natured characters.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Given that she is just under five feet tall, all her onscreen relationships and dynamics with male-costars tend to be this by default. Most notable is Pushing Daisies where she spends most of her screen time Lee Pace and Chi McBride who both stand at 6'5, a full foot and a half taller than Kristin.
- Ill Girl: Chenoweth has the chronic illness Ménière's disease, which affects the inner ear and can lead to both hearing and balance issues. In her case it's fairly severe; she has said in interviews that there have been times when she needed a stage co-star to literally prop and hold her up so she didn't collapse in the middle of a performance, and she has feared having such a collapse and then being unable to get back up on her own.
- Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Musically speaking. Opera-trained as a coloratura soprano, with a perfect pitch and breath control, and three octaves. Also, less than five feet tall.
- Spiritual Successor: Appears to have one in another Broadway leading lady, Kelli O'Hara. The two are both blonde, classically trained operatic sopranos (though Kelli doesn't quite hit coloratura range) who went to the same university (Oklahoma City University), studied under the same voice teacher (Florence Birdwell), and have had remarkable Broadway careers. The main difference between them seems to be that while Kelli gravitates more toward classical-style productionsnote , Kristin seems to prefer more modern-style farenote .
- Those Two Actors: Played Dove Cameron's mother twice (Descendants and Hairspray Live), and co-starred with her again in Schmigadoon!.