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Ms. Chenoweth Goes to Washington

Kristin Chenoweth, Kerry Washington Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images, Paul Morigi/ Getty Images

Kristin Chenoweth may not have a final script yet for the movie she's developing about the late British pop soul singer Dusty Springfield, but she's already gotten the ball rolling on casting.

"I want Kerry Washington to play my girlfriend," Chenoweth tells me. "Dusty had a relationship with an African-American woman and she was supposedly very attractive. Kerry is a great actress and I think we’d be amazing together."

Springfield, whose hits included "Son of a Preacher Man" and "The Look of Love," died of breast cancer in 1999 at age 59 without ever publicly defining her sexuality. "God, I want to do Dusty so bad," Chenoweth says, quickly adding with a laugh, "I mean, do her story so bad. She's amazing and nobody knows the real thing, or some people do, but not the world."

The Springfield biopic is just one of many projects Chenoweth is juggling these days...

She's currently on the road promoting A Little Bit Wicked: Life, Love and Faith in Stages, her new memoir detailing her rise from Bible Belt beauty queen to Tony Award-winning actress and singer. It recently climbed to No. 12 on the New York Times Best-Seller List.

Not only does the book include the story of Chenoweth's rocky romance with now ex-boyfriend, television and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, but it even features an essay he insisted on writing. "When he found out I was writing the book, he said, 'I want to write about how we met,'" Chenoweth explains. "And what am I gonna do? Tell him no?"

She politely declines to say if she thinks they'll get back together someday. "You know, there's just sometimes where you can't work it out, but the love is there," Chenoweth says. "I think he'll always be a huge part of my life."

Chenoweth is already talking to her publisher about writing a series of children's books, and she's the voice of Miracle Grohe on Fox's new animated series Sit Down, Shut Up. She recently shot a guest spot on Glee, Fox's upcoming series about a high school glee club from Nip/Tuck creator Ryan Murphy. (Note: I've seen the first episode. It is amazing! Think American Idol meets Gossip Girl meets A Chorus Line.)

And Chenoweth is still waiting to hear if NBC is picking up Legally Mad, David E. Kelley's new legal drama, in which she plays an unmedicated bipolar attorney.

She turned 40 last year. "I still get carded, so did it really happen?" she jokes. "The actress side of me goes, 'Oh, no, that's the death number in Hollywood.' But not anymore. Also, I gotta say, I always get cast playing 28 to 30. So, as long as that keeps working for me, I guess I'll just keep doing it."

A self-described liberal Christian known as much for faith as for her championing of gay rights, Chenoweth offers some advice to Miss California, Carrie Prejean. "I don't mean this as a put-down because I was a pageant girl myself, but you have to learn how to speak clearly, and say what you mean and mean what you say," she says. "I would have respected her more had she said it correctly—and I don't mean in agreement with me. I mean, she just could have been more eloquent."


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