There's not much in the way of downtime for Kristin Chenoweth. The indefatigable Tony- and Emmy-winning performer will segue from ABC's March 4-debuting "G.C.B." back to her beloved stage. "I'm going on tour in May and June. I'll be all over the United States and Europe," she reports. "It will be everything I do: dancing, singing, opera, musical theater, country, original — all of it."
First, come Feb. 6, she's being honored by New York's Drama League with an all-star musical tribute including such names as Joel Grey, Donna Murphy, Cheyenne Jackson, Marlo Thomas and Elaine Paige.
Chenoweth has been busy beating the promotional drums for the wild new "G.C.B." series, in which she plays the leader of a pack of Dallas socialites who are none too happy about the return of former high school mean girl Leslie Bibb into their midst. Her lines include the notorious "Cleavage makes your cross hang straight." She was on hand for this week's Television Critics Association press tour session, in which the "G.C.B." producers and cast repeatedly insisted that the show does not and will not do any Christian-bashing.
"What we've discovered about this show is, it's an all-out comedy. They can use that word 'dramedy,' but it's just fun," she said in a chat after the panel session was over. Chenoweth hopes to continue in the vein of the funny ladies of whom she's a fan: "Madeline Kahn, Sally Field — those are the women who inspired me."
AND: Wow, NBC's "Smash" is getting a lot of help from people on other networks. We mentioned yesterday that "Glee's" Matthew Morrison is giving a big thumbs-up to the upcoming drama-with-music that takes place in the Broadway world. Chenoweth is also cheering for that highly touted brainchild of Steven Spielberg. She loved the pilot, she says. Plus, "I know practically all the people in it, and the producers are like my best friends, and (director) Michael Mayer obviously was great to me in 'You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown,' which I won the Tony for," she notes. "So, I obviously want it to do well, because it's my people."
She adds, "Katharine McPhee is pretty special. And Megan Hilty — I just met her twice, and I just loved her. I thought she was perfect for it."
Chenoweth herself is mentioned in the "Smash" opener. Might she guest star sometime? She gives one of her signature arched-brow looks and purrs, "You never know."
COFFEY BREAK: Tabatha Coffey is considering putting her no-nonsense advice for fixing flagging businesses into a book, as a follow-up to her 2011 "It's Not Really About The Hair" memoir. The Australian dynamo with the platinum pixie cut admits she finds it hard to walk into any business without critiquing it, at least mentally.
"I have the philosophy: Business is business — although every business has its own unique challenges," notes the hairdresser. Coffey is expanding her range on this season of her "Tabatha Takes Over" Bravo show (hence the title switch from "Tabatha's Salon Takeover"). She'll be seen taking on fixer-uppers, from a dog groomer to a bed and breakfast to a gay dance club, on the latest cycle of her show.
She tells us, "Going into businesses other than salons, I see a lot more from the consumer's point of view. I can walk into a business and say, 'Are you kidding?' I think of the dance club. 'Are you kidding? This is so out of date.' People go to clubs to have a drink and have fun. You shouldn't have rules that take the fun away. You're charging for things that shouldn't be charged for, like water. People will go somewhere else.'" Her advice, she sums up, "is common sense. Sometimes people just avoid seeing the obvious."
Coffey says she stays in touch with quite a few of the salon owner/operators who've been on the receiving end of her crash remakes in the show's first three seasons, and she mentions several whose shops are thriving. "I'm kind of a proud mother."
A STRETCH: Disney Channel star Bella Thorne, 14, says that she and her "Shake It Up" BFF, Zendaya Coleman, had to adjust their approach to shooting scenes for their "Frenemies" TV movie that debuts tonight (Jan. 13).
"With the movie, there was a lot more time to get a beat out, a lot more drama. It was definitely a lot different," says the ebullient, red-haired Thorne, speaking of the movie in which their characters tiff over a job each one wants. Their usual sitcom pace didn't quite work, evidently. She goes on, "We went to the first table read and we're like, 'Yeah, yeah, yeah — man, that's how we do it on "Shake it Up." Yeah, boy.' And then everyone's quiet, and we're like, 'Oh. This is awkward.'"
Things turned out well, though, she wants to make clear. "We had a great time. I was so excited. We shot it in Canada. We were there for a month and a half, and it was pretty cool."
To find out more about Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith and read their past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.