Kristin Chenoweth on Hosting ‘Broadway at the White House’ Without Breaking a Sweat (VIDEO)
On Thanksgiving night, TLC will air its first Broadway at the White House, a special run by First Lady Michelle Obama where stars of the Great White Way run workshops and speak to high schoolers from public arts programs. Kristin Chenoweth and Matthew Morrison are hosting, with guest appearances by Whoopi Goldberg, Gloria Estefan, Christian Borle, Cicely Tyson and more celebs.
Workshops ran throughout the day at 1600 Penn, with Wicked composer Stephen Schwartz and Jeanine Tesori (Fun Home) covered theater topics like acting, directing, costume design and composition. Stage casts also performed numbers from Finding Neverland, Something Rotten, School of Rock, An American in Paris and other current productions. “It’s great for people who don’t always get to go to Broadway to see what’s out there and what’s new,” Chenoweth says. “We had a lot of kids in the audience who normally don’t get to see a Broadway show.”
Everyone also spent the whole day preparing and filming the special, pulling everything together quickly in true theater fashion. “It was a crazy time because the job that we all have on Broadway at all times is to never let people see you sweat and to never make it look too hard,” she said. “So, when you have a hosting duty you want it to be very seamless and very comfortable. In order to do that, you have to be ready for anything. We had a lot of ad libs and it was very free.”
Chenoweth even shares a special duet with one particular teen, singing the Wicked hit “For Good” together. “She was chosen by Stephen Schwartz because she’d been in the symposium that he had given that day,” she said. “To watch her have that moment, it’s a beautiful thing to witness, and I love that she had a life-changing moment.”
Although First Lady Michelle Obama was on hand during the special, which was filmed live last Monday, Nov. 16, President Obama was abroad dealing with the Paris attacks crisis. Speaking about the First Lady’s presence, Chenoweth said, “I’m so glad she puts on these events for the arts community. I think arts can change lives. That’s one of my main messages, and I can see that it’s one of hers, too.”
Check out an exclusive video below featuring Rachel Levy, a teen from New Jersey, talking about her experience working with Matthew Morrison and filming the special.
Broadway at the White House airs Thursday, November 26 at 8/7c on TLC.