Kristin Chenoweth will perform two shows on New Year's Eve at Walt… (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles…)
The recent East Coast blizzard has air traffic backed up for days, but several feet of snow isn't about to stop the theatrical juggernaut known as Kristin Chenoweth from embarking on a bicoastal, New Year's whirlwind tour.
On Wednesday, the high-energy stage and screen star appeared in a matinee performance of Broadway's "Promises, Promises," then was expected to jump on an evening flight to Los Angeles. The actress is set to spend most of Thursday rehearsing her new concert at Walt Disney Concert Hall, featuring the debut of a series of new songs. On Friday, she's scheduled to perform the concert twice, back-to-back, before hopping on a Saturday flight back to New York to appear Sunday afternoon in the final performance of "Promises," bringing the production to a close after more than 280 regular performances.
"I'm tired even thinking about it. But it's a good kind of tired," Chenoweth said in a phone interview this week from New York. "When you're a singer, New Year's Eve is always a work night. I can't remember the last time I've had that day off, and I'm so used to it. I'm single so it's great — I don't have to think about what to do."
Chenoweth's Disney Hall concerts will feature performances of familiar songs from "Promises," "Wicked" and TV's "Glee," as well as some holiday chestnuts. But the Tony- and Emmy-winning actress said that half the material will be new songs that fans haven't heard before and are scheduled to appear on her new album, a collaboration with Diane Warren that is expected to be released in 2011.
"They lay in the country-pop area," Chenoweth said about the new pieces, some of which she wrote herself. "They're moving away from the persona I have of being this happy person all the time. They'll show a more serious side, dealing with relationships and men."
The Oklahoma native said that she has already recorded some of the songs while in the thick of her "Promises" run — an extremely challenging juggling act, she added — and that she will record the rest in Nashville in 2011. She's also contemplating a concert tour tied to the album.
For the Disney Hall concerts, Chenoweth said she is importing five of her "Promises" ensemble members, including Seán Martin Hingston, to serve as singing partners and backup. Chenoweth and her cast mates will miss four Broadway performances.
Usually when she's in L.A., Chenoweth stays at her West Hollywood townhouse, but a burst pipe recently rendered her home uninhabitable. The water damage, she said, was serious and ruined her piano, furniture and electronics. But she's not looking for pity: "There are people out there without roofs over their heads, so I'm not complaining." (For this trip, she'll stay in a hotel.)
Next year, Chenoweth will be devoting more time to screen projects, including a return to Fox's "Glee." Last spring, the actress guest starred as April Rhodes, a dipsomaniac former classmate of Matthew Morrison's glee-club coach. Her new episodes likely will tape in the spring, she said. At the same time, she will be working on a new, musically oriented TV pilot written for her by "Glee" creator Ryan Murphy.
Chenoweth said she couldn't reveal more about the TV pilot, but said that she's more than happy to return to "Glee." "I did the first episodes when I was still doing 'Pushing Daisies,'" she said. "I like anything that brings music into households. I know Ryan wrote it for me and the part is very different from who I am."
Perhaps the last thing on Chenoweth's mind right now is the possibility of starring in another big Broadway musical. But the actress said she's not ruling it out. "I would think something original, a new musical," she said.
Friday's concerts have the actress slightly on edge because she's never done back-to-back performances like that before. "If I can make it through Sunday, I'll be happy," she said. "And then I'm going on vacation."