“If you want to do something, do it. Start, like I have. Like she has. Like many of you have. Leave your mark. Leave your mark on this world. We just don’t know what a smile can do, what a buck can do, giving of your time, all of it.”
An equation to describe last night:
Academy of Music + banana split waffles + Kristin Chenoweth + great friends + Broadway + country + “Shalom” + goosebumps + Mother Nature’s craziness + inspiration = Priceless.
I have been looking forward to Kristin’s concert in Philly ever since buying the tickets at the beginning of March. Actually, scratch that – I’ve been looking forward to it ever since first hearing about the tour. I’ve been a fan of hers for a long time, and not only because she has a voice that can give anyone chills. Not only because she has a talent for acting that allows her to jump seamlessly into any role and make it believable. Of course those things are awesome, and I will readily admit that several songs from her newest album occupy top slots on my iTunes “most played” list. But beyond the music, and the acting, and the dancing, there is such an inspirational person with a heart of gold. She encourages us all to “do somethin’ that matters.” To change the world for good. To, as she said last night, “leave your mark.” Through her example and her music, she certainly leaves one of her own. And – this may sound silly, but that’s okay – ever since I heard her song “Borrowed Angels” last September, I’ve just felt so grateful to her. Truly, the beautiful lyrics and her emotional interpretation of them was one of the only things to bring comfort after the heartache of losing Gram. The song made me cry. The song made me stop everything and listen. The song made me feel. The song helped me heal.
And so, as you might imagine, it was a joy to be at her concert. Not only did she perform a mix of classics, Broadway, disco, her album songs, and various covers, but she interspersed skits, videos, and touching tributes, as well. She talked about her love for Philly, how she “knows the difference between WaWa and 7-11,” her career path and mentors, the shoes that fill her closet, and so much more. There were hilarious moments (actually, most of her commentary could fall under this category – talk about quick-witted!) and moving moments. There was her “Shalom” and “Oy Vey” – made this Jewish gal smile! – and her heartfelt reminder that art can change the world, that people can change the world, that you never know when something as simple as a smile will resonate deeply. And through it all, during a show that ran the gamut from laugh-out-loud hysterical to goosebump-inducing inspirational, Kristin was just … Kristin. She reminded us all that we should wish on a star, but also go out there and make our own luck.
Where luck didn’t come into play? Mother Nature. As in, the tornado watches and warnings issued while the concert was playing on. As in, the trickling off of rain after the show was over, luring us into a false sense of security as we waited by the stage door for Kristin to sign autographs. As in, the downpours that started forty-five minutes later, sending people dashing down the sidewalk for cover. Seriously, it was like a combination of a monsoon and a cyclone. Umbrellas didn’t just blow inside-out. They blew upside-down and backwards, to the point that I was becoming concerned about actually being tossed into the next block. The parking garage was across the street, so only a couple minutes’ walk (run? sprint? slosh?), but man, it felt like hours. By the time we were finally undercover, we literally looked like we’d jumped into a swimming pool in our clothes. I don’t even want to talk about my new fabric shoes that I was wearing for the first time. Sigh. But safety comes first, and although it was disappointing not to be able to talk to Kristin – I so wanted to tell her how much her song helped me through such a dreadful time – I’m just glad we made it home okay. Drenched and shivering, but okay. And you know, after the fact, it’s even sort of funny. Sort of. Ha.
Weather aside, it was a truly special night. Kristin closing the show with my favorite song of hers, “I Was Here,” is something I’ll never forget. Finally hearing her sing “For Good” live is something I’ll never forget. Her responses to me on Twitter (one on Thursday night and another just an hour ago – SO. VERY. COOL.) are something I’ll never forget. Much the same as with authors, with writing, with sharing stories, I think that’s the mark of an incredible singing talent – that she too is able to share stories and hope through her lyrics, her voice, and her soul. Something to never forget … and always remember.