Chenoweth plays Katherine Clark, who is a youth choir director that needs to write a big song for a Christmas Eve show.
Katherine becomes distracted when a boy with a golden voice joins her choir, which comes as a surprise to his widowed father (Scott Wolf).
Global News spoke with Chenoweth ahead of Hallmark’s premiere of A Christmas Love Story to ask her about the movie, the holiday traditions she cherishes and more.
Global News: Can you tell me a bit about A Christmas Love Story?
Kristin Chenoweth: Well, I play Katherine, who is a former Broadway star, kind of a one-hit-wonder composer. She decided to kind of have a transition or change in her life and she becomes the choir teacher. They do a big Christmas concert every year and she has to write a big song for the show. She has a new kid come into her group who is helping her and that kid’s father is played by Scott Wolf. So let’s just say that through music and and hope and forgiveness, there is a plot twist. People find each other and it’s it’s a very special movie.
I wrote that song myself with Chely Wright, the singer-songwriter, country music star, and it’s called When Angels Land. That’s in the movie as well and that’s a first for me. I’ve sang in movies before, but never a song that I’ve written.
Did you find it easy to tap into your character as a youth choir director with your strong background in music?
Yeah, I mean, it was kind of an idea that my producer Jennifer Aspen had in mind for me to do. We thought, “Let’s make her a Broadway star and then she comes and be a choir director.” And I’ll just say that conducting wasn’t my best skill in college, but I do all right in the movie.
No, I have not had that, but I have connected to my drivers before and that sounds really weird. I’ve definitely had Uber drivers [who] I’ve had some really cool, special conversations with. I’ve been able learn about where they are in their life and what they’ve learned. You just never know when you get into one car, and they’re picking someone up, and you never know what they’re going through. I find [it] really cool.
Was A Christmas Love Story filmed in the summer?
Actually, no. We filmed in North Carolina and we filmed it at the end of last January into February. It was still cold but Christmas had just passed and New Year’s had just passed. But I’ve been doing Christmas movies all year. I did a holiday movie for Netflix right after that. I’ve kind of been in the Christmas spirit all year. I’m ready for Christmas.
How did you stay in the Christmas spirit for the whole year?
I try to remember what it’s about, you know, being a person of faith for sure that helps. But also that the holiday season is about love and gathering with people, with family and others that you’ve chosen. It’s about remembering the spirit of giving and just trying to remember what’s most important in life and that’s just loving each other and being together.
Why do you think people love the Hallmark Christmas movies so much?
I think it’s because they do it better than anyone else (laughing). First of all, when you watch a Hallmark movie, you immediately feel like it’s Christmas Day. The set decorations are just incredible always. Everything looks perfect and it looks like a dream and it kind of makes you feel good. I think that’s why people sit down and get their hot chocolate and watch them because it makes you feel ready for the season. I’ve always wanted to do one, but this story that we came up with was … the reason I did. Hallmark has never approached the subject in A Christmas Love Story so that’s something that I’m very proud of here. That’s a first for them.
My favourite part was the family that we created on set. I worked with, like, seriously one of my very best friends. She’s like a sister to me, Jennifer Aspen. We had been [on] a TV show together on ABC several years ago and now she’s producing. Her husband, David, is producer and then our director. The cast also became very close. When you start spending time with people outside of work, you know that you really like people (laughing).
How do you celebrate the holidays? Do you have any traditions that you do every year?
There’s a formal tradition where we sit down and we read out of the Bible and the birth of Christ. We do that on New Year’s and on Christmas Eve and then we light a candle and say what we’re most thankful for for the year. That’s just something that has stuck since I was a little kid and I love that tradition.
What would you say is your favourite part of the holiday season?
Oh, gosh. I’d say it’s the giving the gift and getting them. Giving and getting and they’re equally as fun.
What’s next for you in 2020?
Well, I have just released an album, so I’ll be touring that. It’s called For The Girls. I’ll be doing New Year’s Eve at Walt Disney Hall concert here in Los Angeles. I also signed on to do a new comedy for Disney+. And I for sure want to do another Hallmark movie. I want to continue to do what I love and that’s really what I want.
(This interview has been edited and condensed)
A Christmas Love Story airs on W Network on Saturday, Dec. 7 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.