Music Review: Kristin Chenoweth with the Nashville Symphony

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The dynamic star of stage and screen delivers an unforgettable night of Broadway and holiday favorites.

Nashville Symphony’s Legend of Music Series
Kristin Chenoweth: Coming Home for Christmas
Dec. 8 – 9 (All ages)
Schermerhorn Symphony Center
1 Symphony Place, Nashville
615-687-6400 • nashvillesymphony.org
Show time: 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $39 – $100

Big things certainly do come in small packages sometimes, and Kristin Chenoweth is at the top of that list! Don’t let her small stature deceive you. The four-foot-eleven-inch gal has one of the most powerful stage presences in the entertainment industry, past and present. Chenoweth’s a bright star of Broadway theater, TV, film and concert stages. She’s a genuine talent and a passionate, dynamic entertainer.

She’s won an Emmy Award for her role in the ABC series Pushing Daisies, a Tony Award for playing Sally Brown in Broadway’s You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, and theater-loving audiences perhaps adore her most for originating the Tony-nominated role of Glinda the Good Witch in the smash Broadway musical Wicked. This past summer, Chenoweth was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the category of live performances on stage or in theater.

While Chenoweth is certainly a seasoned actress and performer in any of the entertainment avenues she’s in, she seems most at home on stage in front of a live audience, evident by her opening night show at the Schermerhorn, her very first appearance with our beloved Nashville Symphony.

I’ve seen a lot of great concerts and live theater shows in my life, and have had the privilege of reviewing many of them in the scope of my career. Chenoweth is undoubtedly the absolute best live concert experience in my lifetime. The gracious entertainer engages her audience from the get-go and embraces the masses as if they are dear, lifelong friends. Chenoweth invites the audience into her world of humor, storytelling (she was in a show at Opryland in 1989!) and 19 memorable songs, mostly Broadway musicals with a handful of Christmas songs and a couple of surprises along the way.

Much-deserved standing ovations were the norm throughout the evening as Chenoweth delivered many heartfelt, emotional moments. She’s got an innate talent for tapping into the great emotional depths of every song she sings, bringing them to life on stage in a way that beckons each listener to experience them in a wonderful, new manner.

Favorite moments during the show include unforgettable numbers like “Maybe This Time” from Cabaret, “Moon River,” “I Could Have Danced All Night” from My Fair Lady, “Come On, Ring Those Bells” and “Over the Rainbow.” Paying homage to Wicked, Chenoweth delivers a perfectly funny set-up to her stand-out number, “Popular,” while poking fun at a particular follicly challenged presidential candidate. Another Wicked tune, “For Good,” creates one of the most emotional moments of the night as Chenoweth shares the duet with her childhood friend, Candy, who’s now a Middle Tennessee mom!

Chenoweth honors a couple of her own musical heroes during the night, giving a dramatic, theatrical rendition of Dolly Parton’s “Little Sparrow” before inviting a choir of Nashville’s top studio vocalists to the stage for the most powerful moment of the evening — the Sandi Patty gospel classic, “Upon This Rock.” Chenoweth’s goose-bump-inspiring performance brilliantly showcases her mind-blowing vocal range as she authentically celebrates her faith in God through song.

A talent like Chenoweth doesn’t come around often enough, and it’s a real treat to encounter someone with such a gift. I’ve always felt that the great Bernadette Peters is the one who set the bar for high-caliber musical theater performances, whether on a Broadway or concert hall stage. That still holds true. However, Chenoweth has come along and raised that bar higher.

With all of the entertainment options around town this time of year, one thing’s certain: experiencing Kristin Chenoweth live is the best gift you can give your family this holiday season!

 

 

Chad Young is the managing editor and arts/entertainment editor for this publication.

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