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Kristin Dawn Chenoweth was born on July 24, 1968 in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. She is a Tony and Emmy Award-winning actress and singer known for originating the role of Glinda in the musical Wicked, as well as her television roles on Pushing Daisies, The West Wing, and Glee.
Chenoweth studied at Broken Arrow Senior High School and attended Oklahoma City University, earning a bachelor's degree in musical theatre in 1990 and a master's degree in opera performance in 1992. During her years in education, she also performed in regional productions of iconic musicals such as Gypsy, The Sound of Music, Promises, Promises, and The King and I. After successfully auditioning for the 1993 Paper Mill Playhouse production of Animal Crackers, she moved to New York City.
At the beginning of her career on stage, Chenoweth performed in various regional productions (such as The Phantom of the Opera), and she made her Off-Broadway debut as Luisa in The Fantasticks in 1994. She followed this with two more Off-Broadway productions — Box Office of the Damned in 1994 and Scapin for Roundabout Theatre Company in 1997 — before making her Broadway debut in Steel Pier in March 1997 and receiving a Theatre World Award. After appearing in Lincoln Center Theater's A New Brain off Broadway in 1998, she would return to Broadway and originate the role of Sally in the 1999 revival of You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown, which led to her winning a Tony Award for Best Featured Actress In A Musical that year, alongside her first Drama Desk Award.
Chenoweth performed in her first Broadway play, Epic Proportions, in the fall of 1999 — and her next Broadway venture would change her life for good. Following a tryout in San Francisco, she would originate the role of Glinda in Wicked in October 2003. She received a 2004 Tony Award nomination for Best Actress In A Musical for her efforts, and the musical went on to win the Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album.
Since Wicked, Chenoweth has starred in Roundabout Theatre Company's 2006 Broadway revival of The Apple Tree, the 2010 Broadway revival of Promises, Promises, and Roundabout's 2015 Broadway revival of On the Twentieth Century, earning another Tony Award nomination and winning a second Drama Desk Award for the latter. In November 2016, she staged her own concert series at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, titled Kristin Chenoweth: My Love Letter to Broadway, and over the course of her career, she has also performed in five Encores! productions at New York City Center: Strike up the Band in 1998, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever in 2000, The Apple Tree in 2005, Stairway to Paradise in 2007, and Music in the Air in 2009.
On television, Chenoweth starred in a semi-autobiographical NBC sitcom named Kristin in 2001 and starred as Marian Paroo in the 2003 television movie The Music Man, but her breakthrough role came in 2004, when she played media consultant Annabeth Schott in The West Wing on NBC. She remained with the series through 2006. Chenoweth's next big role was as Olive Snook in ABC's Pushing Daisies, for which she earned her first Emmy Award nomination in 2008 and won an Emmy in 2009. That same year she would also star as April Rhodes in the musical series Glee on Fox, a role that earned her two further Emmy nominations in 2010 and 2011. Since Glee, her most notable TV credits have included Sit Down, Shut Up on Fox, GCB on ABC, Descendants on the Disney Channel, Trial & Error on NBC, and the role of Velma Von Tussle in NBC's Hairspray Live! in 2016.
Chenoweth has also played roles in a number of films, most notably Bewitched (2005), The Pink Panther (2006), R.V.: Runaway Vacation (2006), Rio 2 (2014), The Boy Next Door (2015), The Peanuts Movie (2015), and Disney's Tinker Bell movie franchize.
As a recording artist, she has released a total of seven studio albums: Let Yourself Go in 2001, As I Am in 2005, A Lovely Way to Spend Christmas in 2008, Some Lessons Learned in 2011, Coming Home in 2014, The Art of Elegance in 2016, and For the Girls in 2019. She returned to Broadway in celebration of her seventh album for a limited concert series engagement entitled Kristin Chenoweth: For the Girls at the Nederlander Theatre from November 8 through November 17, 2019.