Award-winning talent makes her Hallmark Channel acting debut
This year, it’s appropriate that both Christmas and Chenoweth start with “Ch.”
Emmy- and Tony-winner Kristin Chenoweth will have a big television presence over the next several weeks, which also services her recently released album “For the Girls,” saluting a number of iconic female artists. She’s among the performers on ABC’s annual “CMA Country Christmas” special Tuesday, Dec. 3; she joins the Mormon Tabernacle Choir on their yearly PBS offering Monday, Dec. 16 (check local listings); and she stars with Scott Wolf (“Nancy Drew”) in Hallmark Channel’s new Hallmark Hall of Fame drama “A Christmas Love Story” Saturday, Dec. 7.
In the movie, Chenoweth’s character is musically inclined: She’s a youth choir director whose desire to use a talented substitute (Kevin Quinn) in a Christmas Eve show is challenged by his father (Wolf), a widower who wants his son focused on getting into college. Things change as the two adults become mutually attracted, but something they don’t know could impact their budding romance. Actor Eric Close (“Without a Trace”) directed the film.
Chenoweth’s former “GCB” co-star Jennifer Aspen is a “Christmas Love Story” producer, “and we had this idea for a movie and they bought it,” reports the ever-lively Chenoweth. “The subject matter is very close to my heart, then getting to write music with Chely Wright was a bucket-list item, because I’ve never had a song that I’ve written in a movie before. I never thought, ‘I have to make a Hallmark Hall of Fame film,’ but they responded to it, and that’s what I wanted.”
Having Wolf as her “Christmas Love Story” leading man appealed to Chenoweth. “First of all, he’s easy on the eyes,” she says, “but we’ve become friends. We just hit it off so well, and he’s so much fun. I think that not a lot of people know how funny he is, and being silly on the set with him and making this story come to life with him, I’m so glad he was my partner in this. I adore him.”
The busy itinerary kept by Chenoweth in recent weeks (“I’m not sleeping!,” she claims) has included concerts around the country … plus her November return to Broadway in a limited-run show built around “For the Girls,” her tribute to Dolly Parton (a guest on the album), Barbra Streisand and Judy Garland among many others.
“This is a new lane for me,” she reflects, “tipping my hat to singers I grew up with and loved, but also, it’s all over the map. You have Carole King and Lesley Gore and Linda Ronstadt (represented). I didn’t set out to make a female-empowerment album, I just knew there were certain songs I wanted to sing.”