Kristin Chenoweth on why Ariana Grande starring in the 'Wicked' films is 'full circle'
"I honestly can't wait for the world to see her nail this part."
Kristin Chenoweth says Ariana Grande playing Glinda in the "Wicked" movies brings their friendship "full circle."
The Tony winner, who originated the role opposite Idina Menzel as Elphaba when the musical debuted on Broadway in 2003, told "Good Morning America" she has known Grande since she was a little girl and that the two are in constant contact about all things Glinda.
"My fiance [Josh Bryant] likes to say when we get together it's like two dolphins talking, because our voices just get higher and higher and higher and higher," Chenoweth, 55, joked during a Zoom call.
Chenoweth said the advice she gave Grande, 30, for playing Glinda alongside Cynthia Erivo's Elphaba in the Jon M. Chu-directed films was to "put your own stamp on it."
"At this point, it's her turn, you know?" she continued. "She said, 'You know I'm gonna pay homage to you. And I was like, 'I know you will, but I also just want you to feel the freedom. There's not going to be any judgement, only love from me.'"
The "Pushing Daisies" actress said she remembers Grande being in her dressing room when she was 10 years old, saying she wanted to play Glinda one day, and called it "very emotional" to think about how Grande's childhood dream has come to fruition.
"Honestly, I'm glad it's her because I don't know if it would have been as easy for me [if it were someone else], but because it's her and somebody that wanted it so bad her whole life and somebody that I get to ... be a sounding board for, it's just full circle."
The timing for the cinematic adaptation of the musical, which is based on Gregory Maguire's 1995 novel of the same name, couldn't be more perfect either, Chenoweth said, with "Wicked" celebrating its 20th anniversary earlier this year.
"There's a new generation waiting to see it, and not everybody can afford to come see a Broadway show," she said. "That's one of the reasons why I'm so glad they're doing the movie."
Even though Chenoweth said she "can't say" if she or Menzel have been approached for a cameo in the "Wicked" films, with the first scheduled for November 2024 and the second set for November 2025, she can't wait to see what Grande does with the role.
"[I told her], 'You deserve this, and it's time for the world to see you in this,'" she recalled telling the pop star. "I honestly can't wait for the world to see her nail this part."
Chenoweth, who recently lent her voice to narrate a bedtime storybook titled "Sometimes It's Not Stealing" -- available by scanning the QR code on any box of Welch’s Fruit Snacks -- added, "Nobody can take away what Idina and I did in those roles, and nobody will be able to take away what new and fun and exciting things that Cynthia and Ariana do."
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