“It’s an interesting time to be alive,” said actress Kristin Chenoweth. “I don’t know how to describe it. This is a time of transition in the world. Overall, I know we’re very, very divided. I never like to lead with politics, but it’s the elephant in the room.”
That revelation might surprise fans who grew to love the petite Oklahoman who portrayed the gutsy deputy press secretary Annabeth Schott on television in “The West Wing.”
“I find myself asking how we are going to fix our problems. It sounds very ‘Pollyanna,’ but music is a healer. When I feel down about a school shooting or something like that, I look to these shows as a healing time for me, but I hope that my audience can also forget for 90 minutes. That’s the gift that music brings us.”
When Chenoweth takes the stage at the Hard Rock Event Center in Hollywood on May 25, she plans to take the audience on a musical journey beyond the headlines of the day.
“It’s going to be nothing but fun; some Dolly Parton, Broadway — of course, I always give everybody ‘Popular’ (from ‘Wicked’) — Leonard Cohen. My show is eclectic and ever-changing,” she explained. “It’s very much going to depend on how I feel that day. I change my shows up every day, depending on what I feel like or what’s happening in the world. I try to listen to my inner self.”
She still remembers her 2016 Broadway concerts. The 2016 elections fell right in the middle of the two-week engagement.
“I’m looking at the audience—I’m not a politician, I’m a singer—half were devastated and half were happy. My job was to cater to both,” Chenoweth explained. “It’s difficult to look at it that way, but I’m an artist. I rarely do anything for the money and I want to inspire.”
Chenoweth has certainly been rewarded for her efforts over a two-decade career. She has won Tony and Emmy Awards and her albums have topped the charts. And, she’s very busy.
“This is my constant battle, my constant struggle. To be a great artist, you have to have time and my well is extremely empty. That’s due to me. I love what I do more than anything, but I’m learning,” Chenoweth admitted. “I might not want to multitask anymore. I’m doing a movie, the concerts that I love, I have an album coming out. I need some down time to continue to be inspired and inspire.”
Chenoweth frequently reminds herself of the sage advice her mentor, Oklahoma City University voice professor Florence Birdwell, offered years ago: “If you can’t see yourself doing something else and being happy, then you’re doing the right thing.”
Chenoweth added, “I’m a work in progress, I’m still trying to figure out. I say no a lot, but I say yes, a lot. I’m not 30, I’m not even 40, and I’m still trying to learn. Every day is an opening night. That’s who I am.”
Kristin Chenoweth will perform at the Hard Rock Event Center at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood on Saturday, May 25 at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $45 at MyHRL.com.