I first got tickets to see Kristin Chenoweth in April 2013, but unfortunately she cancelled the night before due to a problem with her work permit (she didn’t have one). When she announced her concert at the Royal Albert Hall I was in the process of moving from Manchester to Kent, and so money was tight and I knew I’d miss her again. Then, What’s On Stage started a competition on twitter – share the link they posted and you’d be entered into a draw to win a pair of tickets to see Kristin Chenoweth. I shared the link and didn’t think about it again – until they messaged me saying I’d won! After lots of jumping around and screaming I rang my Mum and told her that I wouldn’t be coming home to visit that weekend because I’d won two tickets to see Kristin Chenoweth - I’ve got my priorities in order!
I decided to take my lovely friend Becky who I met on Twitter and who is also a massive Kristin fan. Neither of us had been to the Royal Albert Hall before – that was an experience in itself! Probably the most beautiful venue I’ve ever been to although I felt very out of place in the posh borough of Kensington! What’s On Stage didn’t tell me where I would be sitting so we were both nervous and excited as we queued up to collect the tickets, which turned out to be for two seats in row 14 of the stalls. Not too shabby!
As the lights went down the band played an instrumental medley of a selection of songs from various musicals that Kristin had appeared in, and that’s a fair few! This went on for a while and the tension kept building until all of a sudden Kristin appeared on the stage. I couldn’t believe she was actually here! She is so petite it’s hard to believe that she can belt out those big notes but she did it with ease. She performed “Maybe This Time” which is a personal favourite of mine, and it was such a treat to see her perform it live. A few songs in she introduced her first guest (I didn’t even know there would be guests) and it was Peter Lockyer, the West End’s current Jean Valjean! Becky and I looked at eachother, both absolutely stunned. It really was our lucky night!
The thing that I love about Kristin is that she is so versatile – she can really let loose with those high notes but she can hold back too; she can sing anything from Country to Disco to Classical and each song sounds entirely unique to Kristin. There were so many moments that made my jaw drop throughout the night, but a personal highlight was when Kristin sang a version of “Bring Him Home” from Les Miserables. When she announced she was going to sing a Les Mis song I presumed it would be “On My Own” or “I Dreamed a Dream” so when I heard the opening notes of “Bring Him Home” I went into shock! I have heard that song performed by some truly exceptional male vocalists, but Kristin’s version was so stripped back and so pure that she made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. By the time she’d finished I was covered in goosebumps and had tears streaming down my face – as did every other person in the audience!
Kristin also performed a self-penned song named “WWDD?” or “What Would Dolly Do?” inspired by her idol, Dolly Parton. Halfway through the song Kristin stopped singing and said “you know what, what WOULD Dolly do?” then pulled out her phone as if to make a call, and a video of Dolly Parton answering appeared on the big screen! It was so well done and so simple yet really effective and more than a little bit impressive!
Kristin’s next guest was none other than the fabulous Kerry Ellis who was the UK’s first Elphaba almost 10 years ago. The duo then went on to perform “For Good” from Wicked which is a big, emotional song. I was in absolute awe of Kerry and so was Kristin, who was so mesmerised that she almost missed her cue! I’ve listened to the Wicked soundtrack hundreds, maybe even thousands of times but to see Kristin perform this song live was truly special, especially with such a talented singing partner. She also sang “Popular” from Wicked after talking about all of the different Glindas around the world, and sang different parts of the song in different languages, complete with her own little Glinda traits. That must have taken so much time and concentration to learn but she made it look effortless!
Kristin’s final guest was the incredible Alison Jiear and I’m fairly sure that the Royal Albert Hall roof is still in orbit somewhere after they blew it off with their insanely powerful duet of “No More Tears (Enough is Enough).” It was quite a bizarre sight – Kristin is so teeny tiny and Alison is big and beautiful but they matched eachother note for note with neither of them holding back.
The most moving moment of the night was when Kristin performed Lady Antebellum’s “I Was Here.” The lyrics touched my heart and Kristin performed the song with such passion and raw emotion that I was holding back the tears. She told the audience to always follow your heart and work hard towards what you want to do and never ever give up. It was such a magical moment – I felt like she was talking directly to me. I’ve been having a very hard time lately trying to find my path in life, but Kristin’s words touched me and renewed my determination to succeed, doubters be damned. The word “inspiration” is thrown around so often these days that it has lost some of its meaning, but Kristin is definitely an inspiration to me and, in that moment, she saved me.
I want to thank Kristin Chenoweth for such an incredible, powerful, moving, magical concert. It’s not often you leave a concert or a show with a renewed sense of purpose and determination but Kristin spoke to my heart and inspired me to carry on and for that I will be eternally grateful.