FirstBank Pops Series presents: Kristin Chenoweth with the Nashville Symphony Sept. 27 – 29; All ages Schermerhorn Symphony Center 1 Symphony Center, Nashville 615-687-6400 | nashvillesymphony.org Remaining showtimes: Fri – Sat 8 p.m. Tickets: $52 – $152
It's not often one gets to experience a true living legend. You know, someone with extreme unparalleled talent and a genuine charm to match. Someone who is an authentic interpreter of song. I'm talking, of course, about the incomparable Kristin Chenoweth. Her weekend run with the Nashville Symphony is undoubtedly the hot ticket in town.
Chenoweth delivers a triumphant musical experience, and it's a phenomenal one to share with your children! The Emmy and Tony-Award winning star of Broadway, TV and film also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Chenoweth excels in all those arenas, but it's the concert stage where she shines brightest. After all, on that platform, she's able to just be herself, and she's one of the most endearing souls in the entertainment business.
INTERPRETER OF SONG
Although Thursday's opening night audience was made up of a vast spectrum of Chenoweth fans, the 50-year-old, four-foot-eleven-inch darling gave her Music City devotees even more reason to love her. With PredsFest upon us at the dawn of a new hockey season, Chenoweth's entrance came with thunderous applause as she enthusiastically bounced across the stage donning a Nashville Predators jersey, fang fingers high in the air, before delighting her adoring crowd with the first of 16 songs of the night, "Que Sera Sera."
When Chenoweth was here three years ago for a Christmas concert with the Nashville Symphony, I couldn't imagine a better musical experience given her unique delivery. Chenoweth has outdone even herself with this show. With musical selections ranging from American standards, Broadway tunes, pop numbers, country songs and gospel anthems, Chenoweth covers all the bases. She truly owns everything she sings in a way that no one else does in her generation.
Chenoweth's God-given gift combined with her classical training and impeccable acting talent result in the ultimate treat — experiencing a night of incredible songs in a whole new way. Chenoweth breathes a remarkable realm of emotion and passion into every note she sings, inspiring a deeper appreciation and connection among the audience with each song. Among the night's favorites are "Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart," "I Could Have Danced All Night," "Popular" and Chenoweth's roof-raising rendition of the Sandi Patty gospel classic, "Upon This Rock." Chenoweth's pitch-perfect high register is a marvel-worthy, awe-inspiring reality; much-deserved standing ovations were the norm throughout the evening.
Chenoweth delivered a couple of crowd-pleasing surprises, too. First up was her beautifully vulnerable, intimate rendition of "Desperado," featuring Josh Bryant, Chenoweth's handsome new guitar-playing beau. Another special number was the dynamic mash-up of Willie Nelson's "Always on My Mind" and Stephen Sondheim's "Losing My Mind." The arrangement of these classic country and Broadway numbers is brilliant.
Furthermore, having a big heart and passion for mentoring and shepherding young talent, Chenoweth shares the stage with local youth. These moments include sharing the spotlight with 21-year-old vocalist Charlotte Leigh for a mind-blowing duet of "For Good," from Wicked. At the end of the night, Chenoweth brings out a group of Vanderbilt University students to sing with her on the soul-stirring "Upon This Rock" and Mary-Mitchell Campbell's "Reason for Hope."
One of my favorite moments of the night was her encore number, the classic "Smile." Chenoweth performed it off-mic with Campbell accompanying her on the piano. She fittingly ends the night showcasing both her vocal prowess and the concert hall's amazing acoustics.
AN ENDEARING CONNECTION
Chenoweth's mind-blowing talent and song delivery aside, what makes the night even more special is the connection she establishes with her audience. She shares lots of lovely stories and funny banter throughout the evening, including a running joke about Nashville hot chicken and tales from her youth as a performer at Opryland theme park.
Her Mariah Carey lead-in to "Popular," however, is pure comedic genius! Chenoweth is endearing to no end. She has a magical way of creating a genuine rapport and camaraderie with her audience. You'll leave feeling like she's your new best friend.
If you have children of any age aspiring for the performing arts, do them a favor and take them to see this show. Chenoweth IS the bar of excellence and a tremendous example of how hard work and dedication pay off with longevity. Your kids will find a glorious well of deep inspiration should they get to experience Chenoweth live. Kristin Chenoweth is one of the greatest gifts God has put on this planet. Her high-caliber level of talent and kind spirit don't come around often enough. Do yourselves a favor and go experience one of the most joyous nights of musical entertainment you'll ever encounter.