Kristen Chenoweth at Wolf Trap

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Kristin Chenoweth, well-known for her impressive Broadway, film, and television careers, took Wolf Trap by storm on Friday night. Met with an enthusiastic audience of theater-lovers and, as she joked “their spouses,” Chenoweth’s warm and honest humor paired with her incomparable vocal prowess delighted the full house. She was accompanied by a band comprised of local and touring musicians. This evening of show tunes, standards, and adult contemporary songs was dedicated to the memory of the legendary composer Marvin Hamlisch, with whom she first performed at Wolf Trap twelve years ago.

Kristin Chenoweth. Photo courtesy of Wolf Trap.
Kristin Chenoweth. Photo courtesy of Wolf Trap.

From the first note Chenoweth sang, the audience knew they were in for a powerhouse performance. Starting off the set with a high-energy rendition of “Should I be Sweet?” from the 1933 musical Take a Chance she blew the house away with the perfect balance of operatic vocal work and sharp, witty banter. At the end, she introduced herself, telling the audience “Not to adjust their dials,”in acknowledgement of her unique speaking voice. “This is my voice,” she said, “You got 90 minutes of it.”

https://youtu.be/CsKH2tqoFJ8

After this, Chenoweth took us on a vocal tour of her storied career. Her set included the cleverly written and performed “Taylor the Latte Boy” a love song for the unsung hero of the morning, the Starbucks barista, and touching performances of the songs “Fathers and Daughters” and the classic “Moon River.” Her version of “I Could Have Danced All Night” was ebullient and charming.

One of the most poignant moments of the evening followed immediately thereafter. As an expression of deep gratitude for all those who serve in the US Armed Forces, Chenoweth gave a stunning and emotional performance of the song “Bring Him Home” from the hit musical Les Miserables. This was the first time she brought the crowd to their feet (if not to tears), with her heartfelt vocals.

Another highlight of the evening was when she brought a local high school student onstage for a duet of the song “For Good” from the musical Wicked in which Chenoweth originated the role of Glinda. Both Chenoweth and Shannon Connors (a senior at Loudoun County High School) gave terrific performances that resulted in a standing ovation for both.

The show continued with performances of “Popular” from Wicked, the classic “Over the Rainbow,” Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5” featuring members of Signature Theatre, and “Little Sparrow”. She also sang “Upon this Rock” as a nod to her faith, and to her humble beginnings singing at church camp in her home state of Oklahoma.

Chenoweth closed the evening with “I Was Here” before returning to the stage for an encore performance of Dolly Parton’s hit “I Will Always Love You.”

Kristin Chenoweth is as well-known for her diminutive stature as her big voice, but her big heart should be noted as well. In this one evening, Chenoweth took the opportunity to thank the troops, give performance opportunities to local artists, and mention charities she is affiliated with including “Artists Striving to End Poverty”.

Kristin Chenoweth at Wolf Trap was an all-around magical evening of music and theater. From her stunning start to flawless finish, she gave the audience an inspirational and generous performance to remember.

Running Time: 90 minutes, with no intermission.

Kristin Chenoweth played for one night only on August 28th, 2015 at The Filene Center at Wolf Trap – 1645 Trap Road, in Vienna, VA. For future performances and information, call (877) 965-3872, or check out Wolf Trap’s calendar of events.

RATING: FIVE-STARS-82x1555.gif

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Samantha Macher
Samantha Macher is a theater artist, filmmaker, and graduate of the Playwright’s Lab at Hollins University. Since beginning her career in 2011, she had over 40 productions of her written work both in the US and abroad, and is the winner of a StageSceneLA “Best World Premiere Play” for "War Bride" in 2012. Notable productions include "The Arctic Circle *and a recipe for Swedish Pancakes" directed by Bob Moss (founder of Playwrights Horizons) in 2012, and various performances of “To the New Girl...” (2012-2015) including several to benefit domestic abuse and family service centers in her home state of Virginia. Her play "Reset" was a semi-finalist for the Princess Grace Playwriting Award (2015), and her award-winning film "Last Pyramid" (2015) was accepted into several festivals and has helped in the fundraising and awareness raising efforts for the mission of the Epilepsy Foundation. She is currently a playwright-in-residence for SkyPilot Theatre Company in Los Angeles. To read more of her work, please find her on the New Play Exchange, contact Original Works, Smith and Kraus, and YouthPLAYS publishing companies, or visit her website www.samanthamacher.com

2 COMMENTS

  1. Magical to be sure. Wonderfully comprehensive review. I didn’t want the evening to end. Here’s hoping Kristin Chenoweth makes it back to Wolf Trap or another DC venue soon. So classy and talented — and what a fun evening seeing people from the DC area perform with her!

  2. I agree, great review. Also, thanks for including my daughter, Shannon Connors, in your comments. It was truly a dream come true for her to get to share the stage with Kristin to sing “For Good”. She is a rising senior at Loudoun County High School in Leesburg, and this opportunity was incredible. Wow, wow, wow. Kristin couldn’t be more gracious about sharing the stage and acknowledging fellow artists – she’s truly one of a kind and an incredible role model for all performers.

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