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Interview with Hairspray Live! star Kristin Chenoweth


Kristin Chenoweth

Hairspray Live!
Kristin Chenoweth

Tony and Emmy Award-winning Broadway favourite Kristin Chenoweth is currently in rehearsal for this year's eagerly anticipated NBC televised musical Hairspray Live!, which will be broadcast live on Wednesday, December 7th.

Kristin takes on the role of Velma Von Tussle and joins a star-studded cast, which includes Harvey Fierstein, Martin Short, Jennifer Hudson, Ariana Grande, Dove Cameron, Garrett Clayton, Ephraim Sykes, Shahadi Wright Joseph, Billy Eichner, Sean Hayes, Andrea Martin, Paul Vogt, Rosie O'Donnell and newcomer Maddie Baillio as Tracy Turnblad.

We caught up with Kristin to see how rehearsals are going and to reminisce about her recent celebrated concert series at Broadway's Lunt-Fontanne Theatre under the title of My Love Letter to Broadway:

Courtesy of YouTube
Kristin Chenoweth as Velma Von Tussle
Kristin Chenoweth as Velma Von Tussle

Thomas Hayden Millward: We are eagerly anticipating your performance as Velma Von Tussle in "Hairspray Live!" on NBC. What are the main differences, advantages and challenges of preparing for a live musical on TV, as opposed to a live musical on stage?

Kristin Chenoweth: Basically you prepare the same way, but in this instance, you only have one shot to get it right! But that's the kind of thing I love. It's a moment in time that we will capture.

THM: Why do you think "Hairspray" was chosen as NBC's live musical offering this year?

KC: Well, I don't work for the network, but I would imagine there could not be a better time to show the world this particular piece. It is a look back at our history and growth, but also we look at it in today's times, and we see where we can get better.

THM: Is there anyone in particular you are especially enjoying working with in the "Hairspray Live!" cast?

KC: Every single person is so invested in this material. It is a joy to come to work and feel the spirit of this piece. Everybody is bonded together in a very strong way here. We want that to come across on the screen.

Photo by Walter McBride
Kristin Chenoweth in My Love Letter to Broadway
Kristin Chenoweth in My Love Letter to Broadway

THM: Looking back at "My Love Letter to Broadway," what were some of your highlights from the concert series?

KC: I'm so lucky I got to do it. The whole thing feels like a highlight of my entire life. A lot of years' work came together for those two weeks. Definitely music is a healer. We were in our second week during the election and I felt people wanted to come together and forget, and just have fun. I think we were able to achieve that. But most importantly, I think the concert ended up being a time for everyone to reflect.

THM: I was lucky enough to see you perform your own concert at the Royal Albert Hall - a night I will never forget - and then on Broadway... Where do you go from here?

KC: I hope to get back to London. I'd love to take it even further. But first, Christmas vacation. I'm so happy to get to rejuvenate and unwind. That's when artists have time to refuel their creativity.

Photo by Brian Bowen Smith/NBC
Kristin Chenoweth as Velma Von Tussle
Kristin Chenoweth as Velma Von Tussle

Hairspray Live! will be broadcast live on NBC on Wednesday, December 7th, 2016 at 8/7c.

- by Thomas Hayden Millward

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