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Kristin Chenoweth: The Dames of Broadway - All of 'Em!!!

LIVE FROM LINCOLN CENTER "Kristin Chenoweth: The Dames of Broadway - All of 'Em!!! "
Airs Friday, March 29 at 8:00 PM

When she was born, she was given the name of Kristi. But along the way a savvy public relations voice teacher suggested that she add an "n" to her first name, giving it an aura of glamour and mystery. The result? As Kristin Chenoweth she has conquered the world of theater, television, film and the concert stage. And on the evening of Sunday, March 24 we'll welcome her to Live From Lincoln Center in a special concert conceived for the Center's American Songbook series. The Tony award winning soprano Audra McDonald will again serve as host.

Kristin Chenoweth is a native of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, a suburb of Tulsa, and is said to be of Cherokee ancestry. At the age of five days she was adopted by the Chenoweths. Her natural talent was evident early on, and as a child she sang gospel music. Remarkably, she was a featured performer at a national conference of the Southern Baptist Convention, where she sang "I'm Only Four Feet Eleven But I'm Going to Heaven." She was then 12 years old. There is an element of prophecy in that song, for Kristin as an adult is precisely four feet eleven inches tall!
After performing in high school plays, she attended Oklahoma City University. There, alongside her academic studies, she competed in beauty competitions, and at one point was crowned "Miss OCU." In 1991 she was second runner-up as Miss Oklahoma. Graduating from the University she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in musical theater as well as a Master's Degree in opera performance.

Watch Kristin Chenoweth: The Dames of Broadway... All of 'Em!!!! on PBS. See more from pbs.

In the early 1990s Kristin Chenoweth entered the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, which for over half-a-century have acted as a springboard for the careers of some of our most renowned opera stars. Among the past winners of those Auditions have been Teresa Stratas, Jessye Norman, Frederica Von Stade, Thomas Hampson, Deborah Voigt, Renee Fleming and Ben Heppner. Kristin came away from the Auditions with a citation as "most promising up-and-coming singer." The award brought with it a full scholarship for study at Philadelphia's prestigious Academy of Vocal Arts. But fate knocked on the door and intervened. Just two weeks before the new academic year was to begin in Philadelphia, Kristin went to New York to help a friend move. While in New York she auditioned for New Jersey's famed Paper Mill Playhouse. The show was "Animal Crackers" and she won the role of Arabella Rittenhouse. Out went the Philadelphia Academy of Vocal Arts and in came the Broadway musical theater----though the Academy, which is located in Philadelphia's Rittenhouse Square, could have taken some consolation from the fact that it had been forsaken for a character named Rittenhouse....

Audra McDonald hosts a special evening with Kristin Chenoweth.

From that role in "Animal Crackers" Kristin's career shot off like a cannon. Engagements in regional theater were followed by roles in New York's off-Broadway, which in turn was followed in 1997 by her assumption of the role of Precious McGuire in the Kander and Ebb musical, "Steel Pier." This, her Broadway debut, won her a Theatre World Award. Since "Steel Pier" the Broadway stage has been graced by her presence in five more shows, most memorably, perhaps, as Glinda, the Good Witch in "Wicked". She has starred in five of the heralded presentations in the Encores series of the New York City Center. She has appeared in no fewer than 17 films since 2002, most recently in 2012's "Family Weekend." In addition to guest appearances on such television programs as "Frasier," "Sesame Street" and "The Good Wife" she has had recurring roles in "The West Wing" and "Pushing Daisies." In 2004 she appeared in concert in New York's Carnegie Hall, and in January, 2007 she sang a solo concert at the Metropolitan Opera House, becoming only the third star of the musical theater (after Barbara Cook and Yves Montand) to do so.
Four Kristin Chenoweth albums have been released on the Sony record label. In 2002, in a previous appearance in Lincoln Center's American Songbook series, she presented songs from "Let Yourself Go," her album devoted to standards from the musicals of the 1930s. And she was Cunegonde in the New York Philharmonic's presentation of Leonard Bernstein's "Candide" for PBS's Great Performances.

In her forthcoming concert for Live From Lincoln Center, titled "The Dames of Broadway--All of 'Em!!!" Kristin Chenoweth will be joined by Mary-Mitchell Campbell and Richard Jay-Alexander in a cavalcade of the greatest hits from the likes of "42nd Street", "The Most Happy Fella", "Carousel", "Show Boat", "Wonderful Town", "The Music Man", "Sweeney Todd", "Funny Girl" and "Hello, Dolly!"

So, a special evening of music from the Great American Songbook awaits us on Live From Lincoln Center on Sunday evening, March 29 on Wyoming PBS as the lustrous Kristin Chenoweth gives us "The Dames of Broadway--All of 'Em!!!"