Dear Kristen Chenoweth,
I heart you. Years and years ago I saw you on the Rosie O'Donnell show singing the Girl in 14 G and couldn't believe all those parts, Opera, Jazz and Pop song were coming out of one person. As a theater geek, I was enchanted by Wicked, although I only knew your version by soundtrack. By Pushing Daisies and Glee, I was telling Bill, "Oh Kristen Chenoweth, I love her." But now hearing your story and your principles and, just from your writing, seeing what a good, kind person can accomplish, I adore you even more. Your story should be told every time Paris Hilton is on the screen to combat the negative ideals out there for women to absorb. I hope young girls can read your story and see you don't have to do awful terrible things to succeed. You can be yourself and have your faith and still come out on top.
When I first started reading this memoir, I had some trouble with the flow. I found myself rereading parts to try and get the voice from the story. Then I saw an episode of Pushing Daisies with you talking. From there, I was all set. As long as I could hear that tone of your voice, and how little side comments are said, then the story came alive. I love hearing a real voice in writing, especially since I spend forever trying to get my students to do that in their writing. By the story itself is so wonderful. From down home beginnings to Tony awards, it feels like an "aw-shucks, just little ol' me" tone that you don't hear in most memoirs. I love that. I love that everything is laid out on the table, good and bad. I love that there aren't excuses and no sugar coating. I love the little recipes that make this feel like a conversation. More than anything, I love that happiness, believing in yourself and not giving up in anything, especially your faith take center stage.I was expecting more of a This Is When I Did This Wonderful Thing, and This Is When I Did That Wonderful Thing, story with gory details of Wicked and other shows. I thought I would connect to this story as a theater person, but now I can say anyone can connect to this story just by being a human being.
That being said, I do have a strong connection to the theater aspect of this story. I love the theater. I love seeing live shows, but more than anything I love being in live shows. Theater geeks will understand, there is something intoxicating about performing in front of others. The process of putting the show together, watching it build and come together and finally seeing it from start to finish, I and many other performers, have such a sense of pride and accomplishment. I have been in a good amount of shows, nothing too exciting but when I moved to Florida, Aimee introduced me to the Emma Parish theater in Titusville. We did Camelot together first, which was fun but included a whole lot of sitting and waiting backstage. It's a fun costume show and was a great way to introduce myself to the Titusville crew. The next show I did with them was Ragtime. Ragtime was magically. Ragtime was unlike anything I had ever done and most of us felt that way. I remember one music rehearsal, before we did any blocking, we were practicing a song, I think it was Til We Reach that Day, and when we finally sang it all the way through and finished, everyone just sat in silence. It was unbelievable. No one could believe that that noise that come from us. The whole show was like that. Everything was amazing and the music we created was unreal. I was really sad to see it end but so so so grateful for the experience. I did Pirates of Penzance in Cocoa Beach after that. It was such a fantastic cast in a funny, don't take yourself serious experience. That crew was so warm and welcoming that even showing up knowing no one, and having no support, I still felt like a part of something so great. I really needed that in that time in my life and the theater was able to give it to me.
So with my tiny, insignificant experience in theater, I can't imagine what it was like to be on Broadway and how unbelievable that must feel. I watch the Tonys and drool over the new shows (Doesn't Book of Mormon look UNBELIEVABLE??) and dream of what that could possibly be like. But I know that I am a Central Florida Community Theater Chorus Member through and through. It doesn't mean I love it any less and since moving I miss it very much. I look often to see if there are any shows around here but so far nothing. Someday I know I will get back into it because the theater doesn't leave you. You always want to be part of it whether you just watch it or you get into it. This story makes me want to go back in. If and when I get the opportunity, I will keep the lessons of this book, working hard, putting everything into it, having fun, trying new things, and go out there and give it my all.
A Little Bit Wicked: Life, Love, and Faith in Stages