The first thing that brought her to attention was the 1999 revival of You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, in which she starred as Charlie Brown's little sister, Sally. It was a small role, but she was so good in it that she won the Tony Award. She only had one solo number, but the Tonys have a history of recognizing true "Featured" roles for just that. Not supporting roles that are on the edge of being the star, but small, featured performances. (Two that come to mind are Ron Holgate who won the Tony as 'Richard Henry Lee" for really just one incredible song in 1776, "The Lees of Old Virginia," dumbed-down for the movie, alas, but brilliant live on stage, and Marian Mercer in Promises, Promises, for not just one song, but literally one scene, as a drunk barfly. As luck would have it, I saw both performances.)
Anyway, this is Kristen Chenoweth's big number performed on the Tony Awards, My New Philosophy," (written for this production, it wasn't in the orignial show). And it's not only easy to see why she won, but from how she throws herself into it, why she became a star.
But terrific as it is, what makes this video special is what came next. Because as it happened, the way things were organized, the very next thing after the number, while even the applause were continuing, was the nominations for Best Featured Actress in a Musical. I remember watching this live, and being floored by the whole thing. I still am.
So, if you want to see "early Kristen Chenoweth"...this is about as early as it gets.
(Note: This may not embed properly, but if it doesn't, it will display a link to click on which will take you automatically to YouTube, so that you can watch it directly there.)