Kristin Chenoweth’s performance at the Broward Center on Thursday night wasn’t what we expected — and that’s a good thing. We anticipated a typical concert full of her Broadway hits and some pop standards, but what we didn’t see coming was an intimate evening of emotional tributes and inspirational songs that won’t quickly be forgotten. We left the theater knowing a lot more about this strong, witty talent who wears her heart on her sleeve.
Chenoweth started the night with a few fun songs to get the audience laughing. She opened with “Should I Be Sweet” from
Some of her other hilarious numbers included “Popular," which she led into saying Donald Trump called and asked her for advice on how to get ahead in the polls. Chenoweth even went as far as parting her hair into a deep combover to imitate Trump's during that song. She said if Kristin Chenoweth were president of the United States, everything would be pink and it would rain glitter. This didn’t surprise us, since Chenoweth’s dress for the evening was covered in bright, silver sparkles.
After those hot numbers, Chenoweth got sweet and the night took a serious turn. She acknowledged a few of her close friends in the audience, including her ex-fiancé’s family. Apparently, the star has stayed very close to Marc Kudisch’s parents and dedicated the song “Fathers and Daughters” to them. She also mentioned a few of 2015's most solemn tragedies, namely the attacks in Paris and the mass shooting in San Bernardino. She made clear her intention not to focus on the sadness of those events but rather hope for the future by singing words of encouragement. She said, “Music is a healer, and this song is my prayer,” dedicating the ballad “Bring Him Home” from the musical Les Miserables to the lives lost in Paris. The moving crescendo of the last note sent chills throughout our bodies.
Chenoweth dedicated the next song to another tragedy — the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary. According to Chenoweth, she and pianist Mary Mitchell thought of Don Henley’s song “The Heart of the Matter” the moment they heard the news in 2012. With just the soft piano accompaniment, Mitchell and Chenoweth sang words of love and forgiveness for those who lost so much. For us, this was the most beautiful part of the concert, really driving home the healing nature of art. With so many tragic events surrounding the past year, her performances brought much-needed comfort and inspiration to the audience. Chenoweth said she had to learn the lesson, “If I want to be forgiven, I have to forgive.”
For those perhaps not as familiar with Chenoweth’s personal life, she is a devoted Christian but calls herself a “liberal Christian,” since she supports gay rights. Chenoweth started singing in church, so she said it’s important for her to include Jesus in her shows. To that end, she brought some local singers onstage and had them sing backup on the gospel song “Upon This Rock.” Even though Chenoweth is unashamedly and unapologetically Christian, she made light of the song choice, saying, “If you don’t believe in Jesus, you can just ignore these next four minutes.”
Overall, we left Broward Center with a smile on our faces, and not just because Chenoweth's encore was “Smile” by Nat King Cole. The night's performance was unequivocally uplifting and had us saying a prayer for the aching hearts of the world.