Grande is set to star as Glinda, a role originally played by Chenoweth on Broadway, in the Jon M. Chu-directed film “Wicked: Part One,” marked for release in 2024.
Chenoweth, who is good friends with Grande and collaborated with her for her 2019 cover of “You Don’t Own Me,” appeared on “The Kelly Clarkson Show” Wednesday where she recalled a conversation with Grande as she settled into the role.
“She was really nervous. She said, ‘I want to pay homage to you, but I’m scared. I want to make you proud,’” said Chenoweth.
“I go, ‘Well, you’ve already made me proud so it doesn’t matter. You’ve, check, done that, that’s achieved. What I want to encourage you to do, Ariana, is make Glinda your Glinda. Sure, you can tip your hat at me if you want. But really, I just want you to do you.’”
Chenoweth told Entertainment Tonight last month that she couldn’t “confirm or deny” whether she’d appear in the film. However, she said she’s happy to see “Wicked” co-stars Grande and Cynthia Erivo ― who plays Elphaba ― “soar” in their roles.
“I’m going to get to watch two women I know soar, and Ariana Grande is going to step so beautifully into my shoes,” Chenoweth told ET. “I’m so excited for her. She’s gonna put her own stamp on it.”
Chenoweth told Stephen Colbert last year that she’s known Grande since she was 10. She recalled the future pop icon’s trip backstage after she saw “Wicked” with her grandmother.
“She said, ‘I want to be you,’ and I thought ... ‘Oh, that’s so sweet, that’s so sweet,’” said Chenoweth before hearing Grande sing.
“I went, ‘You have to have something of mine’ ― I gave her hand soap, I gave her a fake wand, and here we sit, all these years later. I’ve known for a while, and I feel like a full-circle moment has happened and the right person is going to be handing the crown and the wand.”