Kristin Chenoweth Brings in 2011 With a Bang @ Disney Pavilion
Renowned actress/singer Kristin Chenoweth upheld her "Popular" -ity on New Year's Eve @ the Walt Disney Pavilion by giving her audiences, who regail her for TV's The West Wing, Pushing Daisies and Glee, what they want most: namely, a large dose and a half of her glowing charisma. The petite and pretty talent has a gorgeous soprano voice which she displayed most effectively and a great sense of comedic humor which was also put to good use throughout the varied 90-minute set.
She opened with a familiar and beautifully serious Jerome Kern medley which included "Can't Help Loving That Man of Mine" and "Bill", followed by a cute, funny number about living in apartment 14-G, where, surrounded by artistic talent, one must be prepared to put up with just about anything. There was a look at the simple life of Oklahoma, where she grew up, "Going to the Dance with You" nicely choreographed by director Rob Ashford with dancers Sean Martin Hingston and Charlie Williams struttin' some fun cowpoke stuff. There was a truly gorgeous rendition of Frank Loesser's "Somebody Somewhere" from The Most Happy Fella, allowing her soprano to really shine; from Promises, Promises "I Say a Little Prayer for You" with great backup from Promises gals Nikki Renee Daniels, Sarah Jane Everman, Chelsea Krombach and Kristen Beth Williams. From one extreme to the other there followed the seductive "Daddy" and then a religious "Because He Lives", before which Chenoweth proclaimed her love of Jesus. Irish tenor Eamonn McCrystal, who had previously been an opening act for Randy Travis, dynamically performed "You Raise Me Up" while Chenoweth made a costume change. There followed three original Chenoweth compositions about the loss of love, one of which says it all: "I Want Somebody I Can Bitch About", introduced by "If" in which she pretended to shoot her ex-boyfriend dead. Dancer Hingston as the boyfriend stole some greatly agile lifeless moments onstage. Remember Bernie in Weekend at Bernie's? If so, you've got the irrepressible picture. The set concluded with a countdown to midnight and "Auld Lang Syne" and as encore, a number which poetically expresses a performer's love for her audience at the final curtain. Musical director Rob Fisher skillfully led the six-piece orchestra on piano throughout.
All in all, it was a lovely polished evening of song and humor from Kristin Chenoweth. I would have liked a song from Wicked and maybe one or two more from Promises, Promises, but that's all relative. Her adorable personality won me and the SRO crowd over completely. When thanking the audience for spending New Year's Eve with her, Chenoweth confessed "I'm the lucky one". I'll go one step further and add that we were lucky to have her in LA. It lent the beginning of 2011 added glitter, hope and warmth.