A moment to add to my list of Things I’ll Never Forget: Kristin Chenoweth’s last note in “Bring Him Home” from “Les Miserables,” which she sang as part of an extraordinary concert performance Friday night at the Saroyan Theatre. As the spotlight on the Broadway and TV star slowly faded to black, that intensely held, startlingly high final note seemed to hang somewhere between illumination and darkness, its thrilling resonance — so gentle but yet so sure — infusing the hall with its own warm, golden glow.
Chills? You bet. I’ve heard lots of divas in my time, and this was the most charming live concert I’ve ever experienced. Chenoweth’s voice was brilliant, no surprise, and her acting exquisite as she worked through an eclectic mix of musical-theater, gospel, pop and country songs. But more than that, she built an intense emotional connection with the audience. At times funny, plaintive, spiritual, topical and down-to-earth, she gave Fresno an unforgettable evening.
Taking the stage with her own rhythm and percussion section, along with a handful of talented members of the Fresno Grand Opera orchestra — all led by the first-rate musical director Mary Mitchell Campbell on piano — the Oklahoma native soared on such tunes as Kander and Ebb’s “Maybe This Time,” bringing a subtlety and empathy to the lyrics that made me really listen to them anew. She shared her Christian faith in an exhilarating gospel rendition of “Upon This Rock.” She played tribute to country great Dolly Parton in an amusing ditty titled “What Would Dolly Do”?” (Her three ensemble cast members, all Broadway veterans, assisted in that song by holding up signs that spelled out “W W DD?”)
UPDATE: Congratulations to winner Jan Quezada. Enjoy!
ORIGINAL POST: Here’s a prime last-minute ticket giveaway from your friends at the Beehive: a lucky reader will get two seats to the much-anticipated Kristin Chenoweth concert at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Saroyan Theatre.
I wrote about Chenoweth’s coming appearance with the Fresno Grand Opera Orchestra in Sunday’s Spotlight section. She’s a charmer, I can tell you that for sure.
To enter our giveaway, leave a comment on this post telling us your favorite Kristin Chenoweth song, Broadway show or TV series (either in a starring or guest role). I’ll pick one winner at random who will receive two tickets. This is a quick turnaround: Deadline is 2:30 p.m. today. If you enter, please remember to check your email, because that’s how I’ll be notifying winners. These tickets will be available at Will Call on performance night.
Rules are on the jump.
TCA Winter Tour: It’s always amazing to see Kristin Chenoweth. Although she’s no bigger than a sneeze, she’s got one of the biggest voices – and personalities – in Hollywood.
She’s returned to series TV with a s starring role on the upcoming ABC drama/comedy “GCB” playing the queen bee to a group of snarky friends. They release their venom when an old classmate (played by Leslie Bibb) returns to Dallas in shame. These good Christian belles set out to make her life miserable.
Chenoweth says while growing in in Broken Arrow, OK., she was never the mean girl. In fact, she was the focus of several bullies.
“One girl kept saying she was going to punch me because I was always so happy. I told her I wasn’t worth the punch,” Chenoweth says.
Besides, hitting Chenoweth would be like swatting a butterfly except the butterfly is bigger.
She almost ran into another ex-classmate who made her life miserable a few years ago after one of her concerts. Her assistant told her this woman was looking to come backstage.
“I thought for a moment and then said ‘I think not.’ I have moved on. Well maybe I haven’t moved on just a little bit,” Chenoweth says with a wicked smile.
GLAAD has issued a statement in regards to the April 26 Newsweek article, “Straight Jacket,” written by Ramin Setoodeh.
Setoodeh is a Clovis West graduate who worked as a freelancer for The Fresno Bee from 1999-2003.
Setoodeh complains that it’s distracting when gay actors play straight roles. He uses Sean Hayes, the former “Will & Grace” star, as his primary example.
GLAAD’s statement comes in the wake of “Glee” creator Ryan Murphy, and several actors, including Kristin Chenoweth, speaking out against the article. In an open letter, Murphy calls the article misguided, shocking and hurtful. He has called for a boycott of Newsweek for printing the article.
GLAAD has joined Murphy in urging Newsweek to issue an apology.
The statement from GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios can be seen below: