Kristin Chenoweth performs 'Wicked' song with high schooler at the White House
Kristin Chenoweth just made a high school student’s dream come true.
In an exclusive clip from TLC’s Broadway at the White House, the Tony-winning actress sings “For Good” from Wicked with New Jersey student Rachel Levy.
This Thanksgiving, Chenoweth is co-hosting Broadway at the White House with Glee’s Matthew Morrison. In the one-hour special, Levy, 17, and 39 other high school students participate in an all-day symposium on careers in theater.
The special includes a guest appearance by first lady Michelle Obama as well as appearances from Broadway veterans like Whoopi Goldberg, Christian Borle, Gloria Estefan, Cicely Tyson and more.
Ahead of the debut, PEOPLE caught up with the Wicked alum to talk about working with the kids, the first time she met the first family and what she admires about her co-host.
What was it like working with Matthew Morrison again? How often do you guys talk and see each other?
Being with Matthew is like being with my family, a brother. I trust him completely and he trusts me, which makes us feel safe to have fun. And if we have fun, so does the crowd! We have seen each other several times since Glee. We are friends and stay in touch a lot. I absolutely adore him in every way. I appreciate how hard he is working doing Finding Neverland. He never stops – we have that in common – and never complains ever. He may be tired but he doesn’t show it. I respect him.
Was this the first time you met President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama?
No, I first met the Obamas eight years ago when we had the state dinner in England in honor of the Queen. I sang a 20 minute set. I fell in love with them instantly. I recall a conversation about the NBA (I am a huge Oklahoma City Thunder fan). I also realized in that moment how tall they are. I believe we had a good chuckle in the picture. I adore them. What a great couple.
What was the most exciting part of working on the special?
The best part of working on this special was watching all my Broadway friends get up there and do their thing! I’m always so proud to be a part of that community. Also, watching the kids who had been invited from the local area to watch. Their excitement is a reminder of how lucky we are to get to inspire and be inspired! Stephen Schwartz, the composer of Wicked, also played the piano for my song. … Very touching. Loved that moment, too.
Can you talk a little bit more about working with the children? What was their reaction to the panel and performances?
I loved watching the kids and how into musical theater they were and their love for the art form. I was so happy Mrs. Obama had this special night celebrating Broadway, so those kids could see excerpts from shows they’ve only heard about, or listened to on the albums. Their faces lit up. That’s the way I was, not so long ago. I guess I’m still that way! I put on Hamilton and I’m a kid in a candy store!
What advice do you have for kids wanting to enter show business?
I would tell any kid to go for it if that’s their passion, and not to let anyone detour you. Also, don’t sweat the small stuff. Not just in music, but in life!
Broadway at the White House airs Thursday at 8 p.m. ET on TLC.