It’s hard to think of a time when Kristin Chenoweth wasn’t the legend we know her to be today. With an Emmy, a Tony, and dozens of nominations under her belt, Chenoweth’s two-decade career has cemented her as one of the most versatile performers of her generation.
However, Chenoweth had a much smaller dream growing up in Oklahoma. “I just wanted to be in the chorus of a Broadway show. [I thought] if I ever make it in the chorus of a Broadway show, I will be able to retire; that was my dream.”
As a performer, her work is fearless, laying it all out on the Broadway stage in productions like Funny Girl, Wicked, The Apple Tree, and on TV in scene-stealing roles in shows like Glee, Pushing Daisies, and The West Wing. TV is currently having a love affair with musicals, with many shows using the genre to center their storytelling. It was only a matter of time before Chenoweth found a role that brought her two loves to the “small” screen — enter Schmiggadoon! Apple TV’s latest original series.
Schmiggadoon! is a wonderful absurdist show that feels like it shouldn’t exist, but it does, and it’s pure comedic magic. The show parodies the golden era of musicals (think The Sound of Music), using the familiar tropes and many puns to do so. Josh (Keegan-Michael Key) and Melissa (Cecily Strong) stumble upon a town where everyone thinks and acts like they’re in a grand musical. The kicker is that Josh and Melissa are very much based in our modern times.
In the show, Chenoweth plays Mildred Layton, an uptight villain who likes to see order in the town. “When I first heard of the concept, I was like, ‘They better not be making fun of my musical theater.’ When I read it, it was all in a pun, in fun, and I just thought television could use a little dose of this.”
Of course, not everything is what it seems in the town of Schmigadoon! and that goes for Chenoweth’s character. Mildred seemed familiar to the star, which made approaching her a joy. ” I’m from the south, so I can understand the little bit of the biddies in church and what makes them that way.”
Chenoweth continued, “It’s a fork in the road. Even in our own life. What makes a person do something right or do something wrong? And then becomes, how am I going to make this person fun to watch because she’s so unloveable, and that’s the fun of playing these kinds of roles.”
Kristin Chenoweth sat down with Awards Radar to discuss her career and her tiny stature.