If you are Kristin Chenoweth’s friend, she will call you in the middle of the night, and it will be a FaceTime.
“I love seeing people’s expressions,” she said during a phone interview from her Manhattan home, where she lives with her fiancé, the musician Josh Bryant.
The Tony and Emmy Award-winning actress and singer, 54, is known for originating the role of Glinda in the Broadway musical “Wicked” 20 years ago. She will be back on the small screen, playing a witch of another sort — the moral scourge Mildred Layton in “Schmigadoon!,” which returns for its second season on April 7.
Now set in a place called Schmicago, the Apple TV+ musical comedy will give Chenoweth the opportunity to show off her helium-tinged soprano — and maybe, as she did in the first season, to sing another 18-page song in one continuous take. “It was definitely one of the more challenging parts I’ve played,” she said.
Earlier this year, she released “I’m No Philosopher, but I Got Thoughts,” a collection of inspirational thoughts and stories that she wrote during the height of the pandemic. “We’ve all been through a load of crap,” she said, “and the only way I could figure to stay creative, besides sing, was write.”
Chenoweth talked with us about calf roping, mental health days, Kathy Najimy and the one thing she needs in her hotel rooms. These are edited excerpts from the conversation.
I’m so proud of Lea Michele, and Tovah Feldshuh blew me away. It takes a lot to step into big shoes, and Lea did it with aplomb.
I love a Nest candle, a Voluspa candle, then getting in and putting on my iTunes and just listening to music. I’ll FaceTime some of my best friends from the tub when I’m calm and getting ready to go to bed. I like being in the water; it relaxes and rejuvenates me. When I’m in a hotel that doesn’t have a bathtub, I’m devastated.
Mental Health Days
I try to do everything at a high level. But then three months ago, I crashed and burned and got wiped out. Now, I take walks on the beach, in a mall, around New York. I’ve learned the value of being by yourself, playing piano for just you, reading a book — for God’s sake, wearing elastic-waistband pants for a week straight. I’m still going to go 90 percent all the time, I’m just not going to 110 percent all the time. And that’s OK.
I live for all the “Housewives” — “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” is giving me life — as well as “Below Deck,” anything on TLC and Bravo, and “Married at First Sight,” because we all know that’s a disaster. I like to be able to check out, and if I fall asleep and wake up 10 minutes later, I’m not missing a whole lot.
We were roommates for Season 2 of “Schmigadoon!” She had a big house, and I lived in the basement because I’m a vampire. We stayed up every night talking. Both of us feel like that we would be in true crime or forensic science if we weren’t actors. Of course, Cecily would probably be a great president, too — during the election, during “Schmigadoon!,” she was the one keeping us informed about everything. She opened my mind to things I didn’t know I cared about.
Making Music With Josh
For a year during Covid, we sat at home at night and wrote songs and played music and had great talks. That introspection and being together solidified our relationship. And it confirmed what I already knew to be true — I’d found my person.
I love to write what my dreams are, and also about my deepest, darkest thoughts. It might spark an idea for a book, a song or a play.
Watching My Niece Calf-Roping
My 26-year-old niece, Emily, lives in California, Mo., and she loves to rope. She is so good. It’s something I could never do — I’d be so scared.
Phone Calls With Kathy Najimy
We talk about our activism, our romantic lives, her awesome, talented daughter who’s going to be a huge star any second. I call her when I have a crisis or pain, like when Kirstie Alley died. I was friendly with Kirstie — we’d been texting just two months before. Kathy, who worked with her on “Veronica’s Closet,” was absolutely devastated, as was I.
If I’m feeling low, I just want to go to Nordstrom and window shop, or Saks or Bloomingdale’s, if I can stand the stairs! I love seeing what designers like Christian Siriano and Pamella Roland are doing — what’s in, will work on me, what will not work on me. It’s not great for my wallet or my bank account or my retirement, but I don’t care because it makes me happy.
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