Kristin Chenoweth at APAP
Vivacious actress Kristin Chenoweth charmed the finishers at The Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP) closing plenary session Tuesday morning at the New York Hilton Midtown.
Chenoweth was clearly at home among the performing arts industry attendees who made it to the end of an annual conference whose theme this year was “The Power of WE.” It was attended by thousands and marked by hundreds of artist showcases and exhibitor booth schmoozings—not to mention the many formal panel gatherings.
“As an artist I’ve been at many venues,” the diminutive firecracker said, singling out the Kristin Chenoweth Theatre at the Broken Arrow Performing Arts Center in her hometown of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma—together with her religious background. “It’s like being in church with my people—and I feel safe there. I’ve come to understand the importance of ‘The Power of WE.’”
Chenoweth came to APAP, she said, “as a supporter” and “to continue to learn from you.” She noted that since she has her name on a theater, she felt a special affinity for the venue managers and talent buyers in the audience. So she took her microphone into the crowd to ask them questions.
“Don’t get nervous!” she said. “I have seen and felt the struggle.”
She was referring to the manager of an opera house who was having a hard time getting people to attend opera programs. But she maintained that while “there will always be places for shows” like My Fair Lady and other theatrical staples, “because of you guys,” new shows like Peter and the Starcatcher have venues to play at.
She urged venue operators to “push the envelope with the material you choose to be on your stage—and inspire younger audiences.“
“It’s about pushing yourself—just like you guys—and continuing to grow as an artist,” said Chenoweth. “I’m inspired by a lot of you and am learning from you—because I don’t want just to have my name on a theater.”
She promised to “continue to step outside my comfort zone as an artist” and encourage others to do the same.
“We must all be pushing ourselves,” concluded Chenoweth, adding, “You inspire me, so I inspire you, and that is the Power of WE—of us.”
Closing, she joked that “a lot of you know what my fee is, but I won’t end this without singing something from my heart to you—to say ’thank you.’”
And with that she sang a bit of Charlie Chaplin’s “Smile,” which she recorded on her 2016 album The Art of Elegance.