Kristin Chenoweth, “changed for good”, Oklahoma Cultural Ambassador

In a ceremony in Oklahoma City she was named an Oklahoma Cultural Ambassador, only one of seven people to be so honored. The award goes to “native Oklahomans who have achieved national and international acclaim in the arts”.

BROKEN ARROW PERFORMING ARTS CENTER

Like me, Kristin Chenoweth was born and raised in Oklahoma; unlike me, she is an award winning singer and stage, screen, and television actress.  She is loved and admired here in our home state, being an inductee into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame, as well as the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame.

Now she has added another honor to the list. In a ceremony in Oklahoma City she was named an Oklahoma Cultural Ambassador, only one of seven people to be so honored. The award goes to “native Oklahomans who have achieved national and international acclaim in the arts”.

We have learned so much about …the power of the arts to better the health of our communities.

Amber Sharples, Director, Oklahoma Arts Council

Kristin, who was surprised and emotional, said

I was a tiny girl from Broken Arrow, who didn’t really fit into a lot of things. My voice sounded funny, but ..I felt at home on stage- which is why I’m in therapy. But I do love it here.

Kristin Chenoweth

I appreciate and admire Kristin’s transparency, which is one reason I enjoyed her memoir and reviewed it on this blog. I’ll leave the link to the original post but here are some excerpts.

a review of

A LITTLE BIT Wicked:Life, Love, and Faith in Stages

by Kristin Chenoweth

I have been to the Broken Arrow Performing Arts Center in Oklahoma where Kristin Chenoweth conducts an annual Broadway Bootcamp.  But I didn’t know much about her until I listened to the audiobook version of her memoir A Little Bit Wicked: Life, Love, and Faith in Stages, read by her. Now I almost feel like we are best friends.

The Kristin Chenoweth Theatre sign
Sign in the lobby of the Performing Arts Center -the theatre bears her name

From the opening paragraph, Kristin is candid, no nonsense, transparent, and hilarious. She’s one of those “you never know what she’s going to say next” people and you don’t want to miss  any of it. She is just as up front sharing her failures as she is celebrating her successes.This part of the country is referred to as the “Bible belt” and Kristin admits to reading and believing it. So don’t be surprised when she mentions and even occasionally quotes from the Bible in her memoir. Like when she talks about the circumstances of her birth.

Kristin’s faith and family

Kristin was adopted at birth by a couple who had one child but were unable to have more. She describes herself as the product of “forbidden love.” Her biological mother was an unmarried flight attendant who became pregnant. Instead of  abortion or  raising a child alone, she opted for adoption.

Kristin joined the Chenoweth family soon after birth.Her adoptive parents have loved her and supported her career and she is immensely grateful to them. (They were with her at the ceremony honoring her as an Ambassador)

Addendum: Since I first wrote this review, I have learned that Kristin has met her biological mother and learned that her birth father was a talented singer and musician.

Kristin’s personal life

Unlike many entertainment celebrities, Kristen doesn’t seem to have any skeletons in her closet; she has avoided problems with alcohol, drugs, abusive relationships,  financial problems, or other scandals. 

Kristin makes living with  Meniere’s Disease sound like a sitcom. Meniere’s causes dysfunction of the inner ear, resulting in sudden, unpredictable, debilitating attacks of vertigo(dizziness),  nausea, and vomiting. Episodes resolves after a few hours or sometimes days.

There is no cure for Meniere’s except a radical ear surgery which might leave her with hearing loss. As a professional singer she doesn’t want to risk that, so she copes with the condition with humor and an unwillingness to let it stop her from fulfilling her work commitments.

Kristin has her serious side, evident as she describes singing at her beloved grandfather’s funeral, and supporting her mother through breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.

She sometimes feels caught between  the Christian community which criticizes her liberal social views and her friends with unconventional lifestyles who are turned off by her uncompromising Christian witness. As she puts it, she wants to love and help everyone in the same way Jesus did; she doesn’t want to take sides or exclude people just because they are different. 

Kristin’s performing career

Kristin has and still does perform on the stage, movies, and television, and records albums. She won a Tony award as Sally Brown in “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.”

an evening gown on display next to a photo of Kristen Chenoweth
Kristen receiving her Tony Award, photo and her evening gown displayed in the theatre lobby

I hope you will read, or better yet listen to Kristen’s memoir.

She may be “A Little Bit Wicked”, but I think you will love her as much as we do here in Oklahoma.

These are affiliate links which support this blog in sharing the HEART of health.

Enjoy Kristin’s singing

Listen on Apple Music to COMING HOME

Buy on the iTunes Store THE ART OF ELEGANCE  album

And find it on Amazon

WICKED- cover of a program from the musical

After hearing how wonderful it is, I finally saw the touring production of WICKED and it is every bit as “wicked” as everyone says.

Although Kristin no longer performs in it, other actresses bring Glinda and Elphaba to life with singing, non-stop action, and gorgeous costumes.

It may be based on a children’s story, but WICKED is a touching saga of love, friendship, betrayal, courage, and forgiveness. Don’t miss it if you have a chance to see it.

You can stream the WICKED album free with Amazon Prime (affiliate link).

I appreciate all of you who are following Watercress Words, and if you aren’t I invite you to join the wonderful people who are. You can meet some of them in the sidebar, where you can click on their image and visit their blogs. Use the form to get an email notification of new posts. Don’t worry, you won’t get anything else from me.

Dr. Aletha

Broken Arrow trivia

  • Named the #1 happiest city in Oklahoma (Zippia 2020)
  • 9th lowest crime in United States (Business Insider 2018)
  • 267th largest city in the United States
  • median age-37 years
  • #1 Best City in Oklahoma for First Time Home Buyers 2020 (Wallethub)

The largest employer in the city is Broken Arrow Public Schools with 2379 employees for 19,000 students.

The Pride of Broken Arrow, the high school’s marching band, won the 2021 Bands of America National Championship with an intense performance called “The Edge of Eternity”. The Pride practices 10 hours daily in the summer (when daytime temps can reach 100+), and most evenings and weekends through the fall.

The Pride of Broken Arrow marching band

As of 2022, Broken Arrow has a council-manager form of government. Three out of 5 city councilors are women; one serves as Mayor, and one as Vice Mayor (chosen among the counsilors)

And it is a “sweet” place to live; 255 people work for the 9th largest employer, Blue Bell Ice Cream!

a sign-JACKSON PARK CITY OF BROKEN ARROWsurrounded by shrubs
CITY OF BROKEN ARROW-photo by Dr Aletha

Author: Aletha Cress Oglesby, M.D.

As a family physician, I explore the HEART of HEALTH in my work, recreation, community, and through writing. My blog, Watercress Words, informs and inspires us to live in health. I believe we can turn our health challenges into healthy opportunities. When we do, we can share the HEART of health with our families, communities, and the world. Come explore and share with me.

3 thoughts on “Kristin Chenoweth, “changed for good”, Oklahoma Cultural Ambassador”

  1. Soon as I saw the name, I recognized her because I just added a movie she’s in to watch later on HULU. Congratulations to her. Thanks for sharing.
    peabea.blogspot.com https://peabea.blogspot.com putting this because there was no place to put my blog. Only gives wordpress twitter or facebook as option and that’s not where my blog is. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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