How Tony and Emmy award-winning actress Kristin Chenoweth overcame her Subway fears and turned into a true New Yorker.
What was the biggest culture shock when you arrived in Manhattan from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, 20 years ago?
When I moved here, I was scared to take the subway. I didn’t have a lot of money, but I scrimped and saved so that no matter where I went, I could take a cab. I bet I spent $500 on cab fare in the first month.
What happened the second month?
One Saturday morning, a friend finally said, “I’m going to teach you how to get to and from the main subway stops.” When you know what car you want to get in, you have officially graduated and become a New Yorker.
You’ve starred in some of Broadway’s biggest shows: as Glinda the Good Witch in Wicked, Fran Kubelik in Promises, Promises and your Tony Award-winning role playing Sally in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. When did you feel like you had finally arrived?
I still never feel like I have arrived. I think that’s a good way to be, because this business keeps you on your toes.
On Broadway, you begin your workday when everyone else is winding down theirs. How do you structure your day?
After a show, I go out with castmates to either Bar Centrale on West 46th Street or Joe Allen, and we will stay there until about 1 a.m. I go home, watch TV to unwind and go to bed around 2. I sleep in until I can’t sleep in any longer, and then I’ll go to the gym or take a brisk walk to get my heart rate up. I’ll have a voice lesson, and then at about 5 in the evening I take a shower, do some warm-up vocal exercises in the shower and go to the theater. It’s not a very exciting life, but it has to be that way so that my body will do eight shows a week. I call it “living like a nun.”
If you weren’t an actress, what would you want to do?
I’ve always had an interest in criminal justice and forensics. I love the idea of trying to solve a crime. I know it sounds funny, but that’s what I would do.
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