Kristin Chenoweth is an Emmy and TONY Award-winning Broadway powerhouse who will bring her talent, light and love to Mesa Arts Center to help raise funds to support the Mesa Arts Center Foundation. The concert takes place 8 p.m. Saturday, January 29.
The concert will include much of Chenoweth’s album “For the Girls,” an album including numerous covers and some special collaborations. Chenoweth explains, “I wanted to tip my hat at all of the artists, songwriters, and female singers that have made such a big impact in my singing life, such as Dinah Washington, Carole King and Dolly Parton… These are the women that really shaped and molded my singing career.” Additional guest artists on the album include Reba McEntire, Jennifer Hudson and Ariana Grande.
For Chenowith, it was important to integrate different generations of female singers on “For the Girls.” “Dolly’s the queen of country, and there’s Reba who’s just right behind her,” says Chenoweth. “Then Jennifer Hudson, who is in my age category, a little bit younger, but still, we’re together. Then Ariana, who is even younger. It was really important to represent to anyone listening to the record that I was paying attention to all of the singers who have come before me, my cohorts, and who come behind me.”
“For the Girls” didn’t get a proper tour in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic. At Chenoweth’s Mesa Arts Center show, attendees can expect to hear material from that album and more. “I’ll be doing a lot of those songs and there’s always going to be surprises with me,” she says. “I’m constantly adding new songs and taking songs out. So, yes, I know that there will be some songs that nobody has heard me do yet. That’s part of what’s most fun about being a live performer. You get to decide what songs you want to do, and you can change that up at the last minute. That’s why I love this art form the best!”
Having such a diverse and seasoned performer come to the Valley is a wonderful opportunity to engage legions of fans. Development Director at Mesa Center for the Arts, Renee Lopata says, “Mesa Arts Center Foundation is thrilled to have a dynamic and multi-talented star to help us raise funds to support the programs at Mesa Arts Center. We had to split the pre-show receptions into two venues on campus to accommodate the high demand of ticket sales due to Ms. Chenoweth’s popularity. She brings the perfect amount of energy, sparkle and talent to help us celebrate Mesa Arts Center and the work we do in our community to connect youth, veterans and older adults though our engagement programs.”
“I’m excited that it’s a fundraiser and I’m excited that we’re raising money for the arts,” adds Chenoweth. “Frankly, I do love the area. This is a fact. My fiancé and I just love being there. I’m not ashamed to say we’ll probably go to a spa, eat some great food and try to relax a little bit.”
Chenoweth’s talent flows well beyond theatre, TV and movies. Her first book, the memoir “A Little Bit Wicked,” was a best-seller. Now, she ventures into the children’s book territory with “What Will I Do with My Love Today?” which will be available March 8. The inspirational book was a full circle endeavor for the songstress who was adopted and is also mom to a rescue dog. “We have our families and then we have our chosen families,” she says. “I was definitely part of a chosen family. What I’ve learned is that there’s enough love to go around for everybody. My dog, my rescue dog Thunder, gives me so much love and I give her so much love.”
She continues, “The message is love and what can you do to pass it on. When you pass on love, or even a smile, or a prayer for somebody, or helping somebody cross the street with their groceries, these are things that we can do with our love. These are things that we can show humanity. The past two years, we’ve really, really paid attention to that and I’m very proud of that.” Ultimately, the book is about spreading love in every way – big and small.
Chenoweth has her theatrical roots firmly planted in her hometown of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. The Kristen Chenoweth Theater at the Broken Arrow Performing Arts Center that is serving in establishing a legacy for the iconic performer. In addition to bringing in Broadway shows and a variety of other musical and performing acts, the iconic performer also instructs the Kristin Chenoweth Broadway Bootcamp at the venue. In 2021, the bootcamp was virtual and provided the opportunity for her to reach students in 33 states and eight countries.
In 2022, the bootcamp is expected to draw even more students. Chenoweth says, “…We can have kids from other countries join us still and have their lives changed by being with people like them – People that understand because they love the same thing. I’m very proud of it. It’ll be my legacy but more importantly, it’ll be something that I hope lives on long after I’m gone. It’s the thing that I care the most about.”
Chenoweth’s passion for the performing arts provides a message that relates to a global audience. She says, “’Art has the power to change lives.’ I’m quoting my friend, Mary Mitchell Campbell, but she’s so right on the money when she says art has the power to change lives.”
She finishes, “Not everybody is supposed to be a neuroscientist. Not everybody is supposed to be a teacher. Not everybody is supposed to be an accountant. We have to have arts to live and if the pandemic didn’t show us that, then I don’t know what will.”
Tickets for Chenoweths’s January 29 concert at Mesa Arts Center are available at www.mesaartscenter.com.