Kristin Chenoweth has a message for those who use religion to defend homophobia: God is love.
The Hairspray Live! star and religious ally preached acceptance of the LGBT community at a recent press junket for the NBC production, after The Advocate asked whether she felt a newfound responsibility to these fans in the wake of Donald Trump's election and the recent surge of hate crimes.
"It’s interesting being a person — not to get weird — but a person of faith, a woman in show business in the 21st century," said Chenoweth, a Tony Award-winning actress known for roles in Broadway's Wicked and TV's Pushing Daisies and GCB.
"God is love, and it seems like the opposite of that happens a lot, instead of acceptance and love… Not tolerance — acceptance, that’s my message," she said.
In Hairspray Live! Chenoweth portrays Velma Von Tussle, a manager of a local teen dance show in 1960s Baltimore and a defender of racial segregation. By the show's end, this character's bigoted views are upended.
Chenoweth, who described the production as "pure joy," hopes a modern audience can take away similiar lessons from Hairspray Live!, which debuts December 7 on NBC.
"Hopefully, we evolve, and we become better for it," she said.
Chenoweth also addressed how as an entertainer she helped provide an escape for fans from the tumultous political world during her recent one-woman show, My Love Letter to Broadway. She herself was "a little bit stunned" after Election Day, and she resolved to "take this show back" for the following performance.
"I said to the audience, 'Why don’t we agree, no matter how you voted, to have fun the next two hours?' And they did. And we did," she said.