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Kristin Chenoweth talks to Kidsday

Kidsday reporters Onurcan Vilan, Abe Fabel and Yaneth

Kidsday reporters Onurcan Vilan, Abe Fabel and Yaneth Guzman, age, 9, from BaySshore and Medford with actress Kristin Chenoweth at the AOL offices in Manahttan on April 9, 2014. She is the voice of Gabi in the new movie "Rio 2." Credit: Newsday / Pat Mullooly

We met actress and singer Kristin Chenoweth when she was in Manhattan recently.

When you first performed on the stage were you nervous?

Yes. I have been performing since I was your age, maybe even younger, and the first time I went on stage, I got so nervous. Even now, whenever I go and do a show -- I get nervous before I go out, and it can take me a couple of songs to calm down and just relax.

What inspired you to be an actress?

A lot of people have inspired me, like my mom. She was always, 'Do whatever you want to do. If you want to be a singer, if you want to be in business, if you want to be a nurse -- whatever you want to be, go for it.' So she was a big inspiration. Do you guys know who Dolly Parton is? She's a country and western singer and she was somebody I looked up to a lot, and she inspired me a lot. I guess the other person is Julie Andrews. If you ever see the musical "Sound of Music," the movie, that singer also inspired me a lot. I love, love musicals.

Out of all your movies, which is your favorite and why?

I like all of them for different reasons, but there's this one movie I did that whenever it's on, I can't help but laugh. It makes me laugh. It's called 'RV' and it's about recreational vehicles. It was funny and I still laugh -- not at myself, but at the other actors.

Do you have any pets?

I have a dog named Madeline; she's a white Maltese. She's this white little fluffy dog. I've had her for 10 years and she's like my baby. She goes everywhere with me. In fact, I'm shocked that I don't have her here with me right now. I love her.

Can you tell us about Maddie's Corner?

Maddie's Corner is an organization that I started that helps animals get the medication they need and also spayed and neutered, and helps find homes for homeless dogs and cats. So it's a good one.

Do you prefer the stage or screen?

I like them both for different reasons, but if I had to pick I would say the stage because I like to have a live audience there. I like the interaction. I like to talk to people. When it's the camera, it's just the camera. But I still like that kind of work, too. I just like the stage best.

What is your home state and do you visit as often as you would like to?

I'm so proud to be from Oklahoma, and I go home all the time to visit my parents.

You have a master's degree in arts and performance. Was it difficult to achieve it?

Yeah. . . . It was hard. I had to write a big, big paper at the end of my thing and a lot of people had to look at it and either pass me or fail me after all those two years of work. And to get into graduate school I had to take a score, an orchestral score, and analyze it musically, which is very hard, and I was very nervous and I barely got in. But I did graduate and I did get my master's.

How old were you when you performed "Wicked"?

I was 34 when I very first started. I was old, but I had done Broadway before that. I was 24 when I first went on Broadway and 34 when I did "Wicked."

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