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.
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.”
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.