A Little Bit Wicked: Life, Love and Faith in Stages

You may know her from ABC's Pushing Daisies or the Broadway musical Wicked or as Sesame Street's Miss Noodle, but you may not know Kristin Chenoweth as she comes across in her new memoir, A Little Bit Wicked: Life, Love, and Faith in Stages. If Chenoweth -- singer and sexpot, comedian and Christian, inspiration to hometown girls and drag queens alike -- is a little bit wicked, she's also a lot of bit wholesome: a lesson in surprising contrasts. Chenoweth is chirpily funny, too, and reading her life story up until now (she's only 40) can feel like sitting backstage dishing with the most quippily chipper girl in the show. (When Chenoweth was in junior high, a fellow student accosted her in the girls' bathroom, demanding to know why she was so happy all the time. "It makes me want to beat you up," the girl said.) Yet Chenoweth -- who was born and raised in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, and had both classical music training and beauty pageant experience under her belt by the time she hit Broadway -- has had her share of heartaches. And though she's judicious with the dirty details (this book is more tell some than tell all), well, she's wasted enough time on the wrong guys, spent enough nights in cruddy sublets, and had enough hair emergencies to show her life isn't totally charmed. Which isn't to say it's not charming. In her acknowledgements, Chenoweth thanks her on-again-off-again boyfriend, Aaron "The West Wing" Sorkin ("Chenorkin," she calls their celebrity merger), "for reminding me to let the emotion come through." She's heeded his advice -- and her book is a little bit better for it.

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