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Theater Review: Kristin Chenoweth in Concert

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She’s 4 feet, 11 inches of sheer joy. Kristin Chenoweth may have the most versatile vocal chops on the Broadway stage today, able to soar in operatic soprano and belt a country tune with the best of ‘em. She’s funny and sweet and self-effacing and self-confident and sassy and smart and a whole heap of talented. She’s also coming to a few towns near you, soon. (Go to KristinChenoweth.com for more information and tickets.)

Kristin opened her tour in Seattle at the Paramount Theatre to a loving crowd. Many knew every credit she lists, from as far back at 1997’s Steel Pier up through the new (recently cancelled) series GCB (which apparently stood for Good Christian Bitches). It’s no surprise that she was called back for two encore songs and multiple peeks from behind the final curtain.

The production includes a 12-piece band led by long time friend, Mary-Mitchell Campbell, and was directed by Richard Jay-Alexander. Perhaps a little concerned about carrying an entire two hour concert on her own, Kristin included some backup singers who also were skit-partners and took some of the weight off her petite shoulders.

The song selection is from at least a half dozen genres of music, including her new love of country singing, reflected on a country album she’s released called, “Some Lessons Learned.” She performed one of those songs, What Would Dolly Do, with her backup singers and included a rather hapless video of Dolly Parton supposedly answering her on-stage telephone call. While that “bit” and another with a couple of Avenue Q-style puppets fell a little flatter than they oughta, most of the rest of the choices ranged from enjoyable to off-the-charts terrific.

One of the highlights of the first act was her choice to sing the wonderful ballad from Les Miserables, The Prayer. It’s the male lead’s song (you might remember it as “Bring Him Home”) and she loves it and wanted to do it. This is her opportunity to sing whatever she loves most.

The second act had what many were waiting for, a selection of songs from her celebrated turn as Glinda the Good Witch in Wicked. She may do in your town what she did in Seattle, which was to pull one or two would-be Broadway stars from the audience to see if they could sing with her!

Singers Tyler Hanes and Will Taylor were solid male support when needed and pretty good dancers, too. Chelsea Packard was a bit less successful, especially clothed in too-tight leggings and trying a bit too hard to please. Frankly, Kristin is all the woman needed in her show.

Upcoming cities and dates are:

Fri, 05/18/2012                Denver, CO         Ellie Caulkins Opera House

Wed, 05/23/2012             Houston, TX       Jones Hall

Thu, 05/24/2012               Dallas, TX             Winspear Opera House

Fri, 06/01/2012               Philadelphia, PA               Academy Of Music

Sat, 06/02/2012             New York, NY    NY City Center

Fri, 06/08/2012             Boston, MA        Boston Opera House

Sat, 06/09/2012             Baltimore, MD   Hippodrome Theatre

Sun, 06/10/2012               Washington, DC                DAR Constitution Hall

Tue, 06/12/2012               Toronto, Ontario, Canada             Massey Hall

Wed, 06/13/2012             Cleveland, OH   Playhouse Square’s Palace Theatre

Fri, 06/15/2012               Detroit, MI          Detroit Opera House

Sat, 06/16/2012               Chicago, IL           Cadillac Palace Theatre

Sun, 06/17/2012               Minneapolis, MN             State Theatre

Wed, 06/20/2012             Nashville, TN      Andrew Jackson Hall

Fri, 06/22/2012               Atlanta, GA         Cobb Energy Centre

Sun, 06/24/2012               Broken Arrow, OK           Broken Arrow PAC

Perhaps, since her television show was cancelled, she may add a few dates to the tour. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.kristin-chenoweth.com. Follow Kristin on twitter @kchenoweth and “like” her on facebook at www.facebook.com/kristinchenoweth.