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Kristin Chenoweth prepping a new generation of rising stars

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There is magic in Kristin Chenoweth’s voice. Her singing will stop you in your tracks. On film, on TV and on stage, she will draw you in.

“I think the most fun I ever have is in concert with the audience,” Chenoweth said in a recent appearance on “Popcorn with Peter Travers.” “If you’re an artist, and you’re an exceptional listener, the audience is that other character with you throughout that journey of the night, whatever you decide to sing.”

But Chenoweth’s brilliance doesn’t stop with her performances. She’s using her celebrity to push the next generation to the forefront starting with her hometown in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.

“Six years ago they built a performing arts center. Of course we didn’t have anything like that. We had a Sonic and that was about it,” quipped Chenoweth. “And finally they built this beautiful state-of-the-art facility, modeled sort of after Walt Disney Hall. And now that’s where the Broadway shows come through and certain acts. And they named it the Kristin Chenoweth Performing Arts Center. And at first I thought, I’m far too young to be having a theater named after me. But apparently I’m not.”

The facility is not only used to showcase great established talent. Chenoweth herself is using it to host summer camps to train young actors and performers. Some 2,000 applicants vie for the chance to participate in Chenoweth’s summer program each year. Ultimately, about 45 are lucky to be chosen.

“It’s called Broadway Boot Camp,” Chenoweth said. “It’s not where they sing a song and get praised.” Chenoweth joked that she puts the participants through the wringer to help make them be the best that they can be.

Chenoweth, who is best known for her Emmy-winning role in “Pushing Daises” and for her Tony-nominated role in Broadway’s “Wicked,” can now be in the comedy series “Trial & Error.” She plays Lavinia Peck-Foster, an accused murderess, and is loving every minute of it.

“I was thinking about how there’s these people in our world that the world just revolves around them,” Chenoweth, 50, told Peter Travers. “And it just is the way they are. And I definitely wanted that aspect to come out. I wanted people to see her come unhinghed in a way.”

She added, “These characters are so fun because you never know if they’re guilty or not. Just like when you watch a True Crime documentary. You never know who’s really guilty. Same here.”

Download the all new “Popcorn With Peter Travers” podcasts on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Tunein, Google Play Music and Stitcher.

Be sure to watch the full interview with Peter Travers and Kristin Chenoweth in the video above.

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