Last Saturday night was a real treat. I was given a press pass to see one of our favorite performers, who we've loved ever since we heard her powerful, expressive voice in the hit musical Wicked on Broadway: Kristin Chenoweth.
The Hollywood Bowl was a perfect setting for this amazing performer, the evening was pleasant and clear, and you couldn’t have asked for a better night to enjoy this very special event.
Right on time, Ms. Chenoweth came out in a long, dazzling white gown, reminiscent almost of a wedding dress. Her voice was superb and effortless throughout, and to Ms. Chenoweth’s credit, she did not rely heavily on the Wicked songbook for her show. A lesser performer certainly would.
The singer put an unmistakable emotional stamp on the evening with her choice of songs. She started with “Que Sera, Sera” and made her way through an impressive oeuvre of material, mostly from hit films and musicals, see song list below. She ended with “Smile” the classic song Charlie Chaplin wrote for his film Modern Times (1936). “Light up your face with gladness, hide every trace of sadness. Although a tear may be ever so near, that’s the time you must keep on trying…” Ms. Chenoweth made this familiar tune sound so fresh, with such emotional impact, I was left in tears.
The emotional arc of the concert was set, it was as if Ms. Chenoweth was telling us, here’s life, here’s what it can do to you, but here’s how to survive it: with humor, charisma, hard work, and faith. Just watch, I‘ll show you how.
Beautiful fireworks began and ended the concert, which only added to the excitement. At the Hollywood Bowl, a wonderful, outdoor venue, you can bring in your own picnic food, or order or pick up nicely prepared dinners, snacks and drinks there.
Ms. Chenoweth is funny and sweet, yet there is an unmistakable edge to her. You don’t get your own solo show for two nights at the Hollywood Bowl without some mettle. She came out of Oklahoma, from a not-particularly musical family, but has had an impressive career, largely due to her own perseverance, work ethic, charisma, and remarkable instrument.
The Los Angeles Philharmonic, led by Conductor Kevin Stites, did a wonderful job backing her up. This is a powerful orchestral machine, finely tuned to every musical nuance.
This is why I stay up late nights, blogging away, the chance to take in concerts like this. Kristin Chenoweth is a vocal artist of the finest caliber. Overall, an exceptional concert in a very special setting.
SONG LIST *
“Que Sera, Sera”
“Somewhere Over the Rainbow”
“The Man that Got Away”
“Working 9 to 5”
“Tuppins” from Mary Poppins
“When She Loved Me” from Toy Story 2
A Song from Phantom of the Opera
“I’m Tired” from Blazing Saddles
“My Lord and Master” from King and I
“Tits and Ass” from A Chorus Line (revised to “Boobs and Butt)
Avenue Q song w/puppets
“Popular” from Wicked sung in different languages
“For Good” from Wicked duet with audience member – great!
“WWDD -- What would Dolly [Parton] Do?” Ms. Chenoweth wrote
“God Bless America”
* I think it caught them all, forgive me if I missed one or two.