There was a time when only hard-core musical theatre geeks would have recognized Kristin Chenoweth’s name and we probably would have brightly yelled “I LIKE it!” if we’d heard it mentioned. Then we might have started singing the rest of her song “My Philosophy” from You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown. Which is explains why hardcore musical theatre geeks often hang out with one another and not normal people.
I was a little uncertain what I was going to get when I opened A Little Bit Wicked – it’s supposed to be about life, love and faith but that can mean anything when you’re dealing with theatre people. Stage actors, after all, are the people who are too afraid to say Mac…Mac…Dammit. He’s a Scottish Shakespearean king who killed a lot of people and his wife went nuts and couldn’t stop washing her hands and I can’t say his name. It’s bad luck, ok? Just go with it. So, it was entirely possible that Kristin Chenoweth was going to present a line of voodoo priestesses and psychics to rival Tori Spelling. On the other hand, given her reputation as a squeaky clean Oklahoma girl (and do you love that she comes from the only state that has a musical named after it?), that seemed unlikely. I was also hoping for dish. I mean, La Chenoweth is a gay icon. Girls who hang out with gay theatre fans are exposed to Olympic level dishing so maybe she would share a little of that? We can only hope because, I, for one, want to know all about Roger Bart.
Roger Bart. He was Snoopy in the aftormentioned Charlie Brown revival? He was also in the original company of Wicked? OK, fine, he was the evil dentist on Desperate Housewives, the one Bree let die. I love him. I want to know more about him.
Well, Kristin Chenoweth doesn’t dish. She didn’t let slip any dirty secrets, except for some of her own mishaps born of literally falling down. She’s also a solid church-goer with strong personal values that she refers to without preaching. She also shares a few recipes that come straight from an Oklahoma church potluck and include such instructions as licking the knife after frosting cookies. So, despite the lack of dishing and voodoo, Kristin and I can totally hang.
The basic deal here is that Kristin Chenoweth, of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, has an incredible reservoir of talent and a solid work ethic. She studied her craft HARD. She worked HARD to get a foothold as a professional. She has became very successful because of all of that. She is, apparently, not a diva. And she really, really, really, LOVES being an actor.
Long, long ago, I, too, wanted to be a theatre actress. I studied theatre in college, did a year of children’s theatre after graduation, and auditioned a lot after moving to DC but never gained traction. I never had the nerve to move to New York. I eventually stopped taking auditions and devoted myself to arts management and later advocacy work in the non-profit sector. I’d like to think I was following one of the bits of advice that K.Cheno shares with aspiring actors: If there’s something else that would make you happy, do that. But the truth is, I didn’t have the talent. I am no Kristin Chenoweth. I have the kind of singing voice that will carry me through the national anthem if I’m in the crowd at a baseball game or keep me on pitch during “Happy Birthday” at a toddler party but I’m not going to blow off the rafters singing a Stephen Schwartz score on Broadway. And I can’t dance worth a damn. It’s tough to remember that sad fact and it put me in sort of a misty mood as I read this book.
The other thing that sent envy zinging through my veins is that KRISTIN CHENOWETH IS ROMANTICALLY LINKED WITH AARON SORKIN!!!!!! AARON SORKIN! THE WEST WING! A FEW GOOD MEN! THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT!!!!!! Do you know where I first got the idea to go into advocacy work? Watching The American President! Aaron Sorkin is literally a writer who has changed my life and he texts Kristin Chenoweth! He actually wrote a chapter for the book where he talks about falling in love with her and OH MY GAWD. I worship him. I actually envy his skills as a writer more than I envy Kristin’s world class voice and the fact that she has drag queens impersonating her.
Now, the envy factor is probably peculiar to me so you can safely read this book and just laugh your head off because Kristin Chenoweth and her ghostwriter Joni Rodgers have put together a lovely, fun romp through the world of musical theatre and television without false modesty, unnecessary bragging, or whining. Instead there are great stories about losing her tweezers to TSA, sleep-eating on Ambien, and being forced to have dinner with a charter plane pilot who wouldn’t take off until she posed for a picture with him. It’s a delight for musical theatre geeks, and fans of her from tv and movies.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Simon and Schuster for review. All opinions are totally mine and, actually, I asked for the book because I loved Kristin Chenoweth before going into this.