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The It List - Stage

Starring Kristin Chenoweth, Jim Steinman, David Marshall Grant, and more

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It Lilliputian
Kristin Chenoweth
AGE: 28
WHY HER? As Sally in the recent Broadway revival of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, the Tony-winning Chenoweth is living proof of the old adage about there being no small parts, only small actors. Whether chasing rabbits with Snoopy (Roger Bart) or bemoaning childhood traumas (”Don’t tell me my life isn’t a Shakespearean tragedy”), this diminutive dynamo (she passes for five feet) is so in touch with her inner child that you have to keep reminding yourself she actually isn’t a 4-year-old.
WEIRDEST CAREER MOMENT: In a production of Babes in Arms at the Guthrie Theater, ”there was a dramatic scene and I got so upset that my wig flew off. My costar said I’d lost my head!”
EARLIEST MEMORY: ”Singing ‘Over the Rainbow’ in bed at night at the top of my lungs, trying to fall asleep.”
DREAM JOB: The Oklahoma native would love to return to her Southern roots in The Miss Firecracker Contest or Steel Magnolias.
WHO’D STAR IN HER BIOPIC: ”The Olsen twins, in five years. They could take turns.”
NEXT: She’ll play the dim-blond villain Lily in ABC’s upcoming version of Annie.

It Broadway Rocker
Jim Steinman
AGE: 49
WHY HIM? The writer-producer behind Meat Loaf’s Bat Out of Hell is the Great White Way’s new lullabier. Steinman’s Whistle Down the Wind, a collaboration with Andrew Lloyd Webber, comes to the U.S. next year; his Dance of the Vampires, directed by Roman Polanski, will debut on B’way by Halloween 2000; then he’ll turn the Caped Crusader into a crooner for Batman: The Musical, in 2001.
WORK HABITS: ”I’m nocturnal. My favorite thing is to go to sleep around noon, wake at 6 p.m., and work through the night.” Creative crutch ”I listen to Wagner and the Beach Boys. And I watch Hitchcock. I once got kicked out of an apartment for playing the score from Psycho too loud.”
WORST JOB: ”Playing in the opening act for Bette Midler at a bathhouse in New York. I was all dressed up and everyone else was in towels.”
NEXT: Studying bat habits for Batman: ”I’m starting to sleep upside down in a tree.”

It Player Turned Playwright
David Marshall Grant
AGE: 44
WHY HIM? A film actor (The Rock, American Flyers), Angels in America Tony nominee, and former thirtysomething regular, Grant shifted gears this spring with his playwriting debut, Snakebit. Though the plot sounds soapy — infidelity, love triangles, and sick children — the play slyly demonstrates how venomous relationships can be. ”You never meet somebody who’s entirely an a — hole or a saint,” he explains. ”I took that and put it into [the characters] so they could have it on stage.”
CREATIVE CRUTCH: ”I put on CNBC to watch the ticker tape go by.”
WOULDN’T BE WHERE HE IS WITHOUT: ”My drama teacher and a battery of shrinks.”
NEXT: Current Events, a play about politics being workshopped at Vassar College.

It F/X Mimes
Umbilical Brothers
AGES: Shane Dundas, 35; David Collins, 29
WHY THEM? Not since Blue Man Group has performance art so successfully mined Off Broadway. The Aussies’ Thwak is an ingeniously hyperactive mime-with-sound-effects comedy featuring cuddly but sinister hand puppets, kung fu sequences that are equal parts Jackie Chan, The Phantom Menace, and The Matrix, and a Muppets-by-way-of-Tarantino skit that ends with Kermit beheaded and Miss Piggy just another piece of pork on the barbie. ”We’re a pop-culture sponge,” explains Dundas. ”And we squeeze it out every night all over the audience.”
WORK HABITS: ”Sex is the one place where I’m not allowed to make any sound effects,” says Collins. ”And Shane’s not allowed to stand in the corner of the room and make creaky bed noises.”
CREATIVE CRUTCH: ”We take as many things as possible — electrolytes, tea, caffeine, vitamins,” says Collins. ”Anything to get the energy up.”
WOULDN’T BE WHERE THEY ARE WITHOUT: ”Daffy Duck,” says Dundas, who cites cartoons as a source of inspiration. ”Without Daffy in my life I’d be somewhere else. In a bad place.”
NEXT Continuing Thwak; appearing at Woodstock 99.