Broadway star Kristin Chenoweth takes us inside her favorite room: The piano room
The Tony winner’s prized possession in this room is her Steinway, but she keeps other items there that also inspire her. (Jesse Goddard / Los Angeles Times)
Kristin Chenoweth’s powerhouse pipes get top billing on Broadway, but in her Beverly Hills apartment, it’s her nine-foot piano that takes center stage.
The petite actress and musicals mainstay bought the two-bedroom condo last year. The 2,111-square-foot space boasts a balcony, a mudroom and three bathrooms. But her favorite area is the piano room, which houses her 1920s Steinway baby grand.
“When I’m sitting at the piano, I can face my veranda area, and it’s very peaceful,” Chenoweth, who has been playing the instrument since she was 7, said. “I don’t want to ruin the acoustics when I sing, and they’re so good in that room.”
The classically trained soprano won a Tony Award in 1999. As an actress, she won an Emmy in 2009 for her work on “Pushing Daisies.” She has also appeared on “Glee,” “The Good Wife,” “The West Wing” and, more recently, in “Hairspray Live!” on NBC and the current season of “American Gods” on STARZ.
Besides the piano, what else is in your favorite room?
Memories from over the past few years of my career, little knickknacks that I love. There’s a mirror that’s nice for checking my technique when I’m singing. And a life-size glitter cutout of myself in a fuchsia-pink suit from my show on Broadway this year that somebody gave me. And a weird miniature vintage Charlie Chaplin doll — I loved him as an actor — that was a gift from a manager.
And then just a thin rug for sound. And fresh flowers. It’s pretty bare. I just want it to feel like … not church, but actually, kind of. Music church, I guess.
Tell us about your piano.
I’ve never owned a Steinway. It was kind of a big moment, because I’ve been a Yamaha girl my whole life. This one is completely refurbished except for the bench that came with it, which is brand new.
What kind of music are you currently playing on it?
There’s a bunch of music stacked on the piano when the lid is closed — a little bit of everything I’m working on, from operatic repertoire to modern pop. Good luck to the person who has to go through that.
Where’d you get the piano?
I’m a proud Oklahoma girl, and I wanted to go home and buy the piano at a local place.
Is there a speaker system?
Maybe it’s the old school in me or I’m a little bit behind. I just have my piano. If I need to record something, I just put it on the voice memo on my iPhone. I’ve been thinking about getting a turntable — that’s my childhood right there. But if I did have one, I’m not even sure it would go in this room. It’s almost a sacred place for me.
What’s the singing setup like?
There’s a Lucite chair and a music stand. It’s a creaky black high school band stand from when my hometown Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, high school band and choir came to sing at Carnegie Hall. It was left behind. I’ve been wanting to find a Lucite stand, but, believe it or not, those are hard to find.
How is the piano room as a performance space?
I haven’t had a lot of concerts there yet. I’ve been on the road the whole year. But the dinner party where everyone brings a song, that’s going to happen. It’s a tradition that I’d like to continue.
Who would be invited?
The guest list would include Rita Wilson, Sean Hayes, Beth Behrs — they’d get a free dinner, but they’d have to sing for their supper.
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