People.com Entertainment Theater Kristin Chenoweth Takes Boyfriend Josh Bryant to 'The Lion King' 's Broadway Return: 'We Both Cried' "This is Broadway. This is Broadway at its best," Broadway veteran Kristin Chenoweth tells PEOPLE By Michael Gioia Michael Gioia Instagram Michael Gioia is a Senior Editor at PEOPLE Digital, where he helps assign, edit, and write news stories across verticals. He has held previous editor positions at Us Weekly, OK!, and Star magazines as well as Playbill, where he spearheaded the publication's features department and wrote about theater for close to seven years. People Editorial Guidelines Published on September 15, 2021 06:00 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Photo: Curtis Brown Kristin Chenoweth has made good on her promise to boyfriend Josh Bryant. The Schmigadoon! star, 53, vowed to take the guitarist — who she said has only been to "two Broadway shows" in his lifetime — to see The Lion King to experience the magic of Disney on Broadway. On Tuesday, Chenoweth and Bryant were among the first theatergoers to attend Broadway's reopening since the coronavirus pandemic put live productions on hiatus in March 2020. Following the returns of Sara Bareilles' Waitress and the Tony Award-winning Hadestown on Sept. 2, Broadway's Wicked, Chicago, Hamilton and The Lion King followed suit by resuming performances on Sept. 14 — and Chenoweth says she is elated that Broadway is back in full swing. "This is Broadway. This is Broadway at its best," Chenoweth tells PEOPLE. "I am fighting back tears. It's really rewarding to be an actor in an audience like this, and receive what my other talented friends are doing up there." All the Broadway Shows Opening or Returning as N.Y.C. Theaters Reopen Their Doors Kristin Chenoweth and Josh Bryant. Bruce Glikas/WireImage With Bryant by her side, Chenoweth explains that she was excited to watch her boyfriend take in the Disney spectacle that has sold out Broadway houses since its opening in 1997 and has played close to 10,000 performances. "I kept telling Josh to get ready, but we both cried," admits the Broadway star. "I saw The Lion King when it first opened, and it is still just as special." Before attending The Lion King, the actress — who won a Tony Award for her performance as Sally Brown in You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown and is best known to theater fans for originating the role of Glinda in Wicked — was also on hand at the Gershwin Theatre to greet the audience at Wicked. "I have to say it… There's no place like home," Chenoweth exclaimed to an enthusiastic audience during the curtain speech at Wicked. Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free weekly newsletter to get the biggest news of the week delivered to your inbox every Friday. Bruce Glikas/Getty Chenoweth and Bryant have been linked since August 2018 and quarantined together in New York City amid the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. "We managed to stay creative and still have a good time," she told PEOPLE in November 2020, adding that the two kept busy creating TikToks during their downtime together. Kristin Chenoweth Reveals How She and Her Boyfriend 'Managed to Make It Work Somehow' During Quarantine "My boyfriend is 14 years younger than me. Thus, I'm good at TikTok," she said laughing. "I didn't know what TikTok was, I didn't necessarily want to do TikTok. Now I love TikTok with his help." She added at the time that the social media platform helped her stay connected to fans when the curtain came down on Broadway. "It was very helpful," Chenoweth said. "I have been a creature of the theater and on concert tours for so long that I am used to the immediate gratification of a live audience reaction. I didn't grow up in the generation of Instagram, but now I sort of love it because [of] the immediacy of it. So not only have I learned a lot about social media for real, but I've come to appreciate it. It's the audience, so to speak. And until we can come back safe and strong, then that will remain the case."