Review: Kristin Chenoweth Wins Christmas With CHRISTMAS AT THE MET at The Metropolitan Opera

Or maybe the real Christmas winners are the lucky audience members who got to see this show.

By: Dec. 14, 2021
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Review: Kristin Chenoweth Wins Christmas With CHRISTMAS AT THE MET at The Metropolitan Opera

This is the time of year when people celebrate a variety of things, based on religious beliefs to which they subscribe or cultural traditions with which they were raised. Whatever anybody in this city celebrates during the month of December, even if it's just days off from work courtesy of the celebrants whose lives are affected by holiday rituals, last night Kristin Chenoweth gave thousands of people exactly what they wanted for Christmas.

Review: Kristin Chenoweth Wins Christmas With CHRISTMAS AT THE MET at The Metropolitan Opera

CHRISTMAS AT THE MET is Ms. Chenoweth's second trip to the stage of The Metropolitan Opera, and with this holiday concert the award winner reminded the adoring crowd why her name belongs on the list of the great entertainers. For decades journalists have been compiling their choices of "the best" - long before Buzzfeed and IMDB were doing it - and those compilations always read like a show business glossary of legends: Barbra, Tina, Judy, Dolly, Old Blue Eyes, The King of Rock, The Boss, The Queen of Soul, Lady Day, Sassy, Miss Peggy Lee, The Rat Pack, The Fab Four. Whether signified by a nickname, only one name, or their full name, these artists have, long, been hailed as the greatest artists in live entertainment. If the name Kristin Chenoweth is not currently on that list, it should be added, post haste - if nothing else came out of last night's holiday concert at The Met, that much is clear.

Review: Kristin Chenoweth Wins Christmas With CHRISTMAS AT THE MET at The Metropolitan Opera

For two hours last night Kristin Chenoweth brought her A-Game, and then some. Tapping into the theatricality one expects from a Broadway powerhouse, the extravagance one longs for at The Met, the spirituality one plans for during the holiday season, the Broadway belt and Operatic soprano one relies on at a Cheno-concert, the humility and humanity bred into a country girl, and the humor for which she is famous, Kristin created a theatrical experience designed to please every audience member, while offending none. Promising the non-believers that the "O Holy Night" section would be over in a matter of minutes, she and a heavenly Broadway choir delivered the goods so well that even the atheists were weeping. Acknowledging that she is still learning the pronouns that go with gender nonconformity, Ms. Chenoweth made fun of herself while making it clear that hers is a production company where all are loved, welcome, and respected. Openly breaking down into tears after the entire concert hall filled up with lit-up cell phones during her performance of "We Are Lights," the authentic artist paused to address the crowd: "If you could only see what I see!" Kristin Chenoweth brought all the parts of herself to the stage last night, including some new ones, and a lot of family.

Review: Kristin Chenoweth Wins Christmas With CHRISTMAS AT THE MET at The Metropolitan Opera

A surprise highlight in an evening made up of highlights was the welcoming to the stage of blues artist Keb' Mo', with whom K.C. performed the "Merry Christmas Baby" duet from her new album HAPPINESS IS... CHRISTMAS! While Chenoweth used the evening to show off her inhuman vocal range, this is a new side of the sunny soprano who, in spite of an interesting lifelong good girl image, has become sexier and sexier with the years until, quite finally, she is standing on the stage at The Met, singing the blues and explaining how Keb' Mo' taught her to lean back into herself to find the sound.

Review: Kristin Chenoweth Wins Christmas With CHRISTMAS AT THE MET at The Metropolitan Opera

In fact, much of the program was made up of music from the new album but artfully dispersed throughout, one suspects from the guiding hand of expert concert director Richard Jay-Alexander, always on hand and in service of a Chenoweth concert. When not displaying her aptitude for comedy in a holiday duet with Cecily Strong ("K.C. It Sucks Outside") or making the entrance to end all entrances ("...The Man With The Bag/Jingle Bell Rock"), Kristin was engaged in the act of moving hearts... perhaps with a heart wrenching "Bring Him Home" or a stratospheric "Green Finch and Linnet Bird" or with humorous and heartwarming stories about fellow sopranos Marin Mazzie and Rebecca Luker, stories that led into the tenderest, sweetest "Til There Was You" the audience had ever heard, a tribute to her late friends. Through it all, the comedy, the pathos, the perfect performances of musical numbers ranging from genre to genre to genre, the theme that kept coming up was humanity - the humanity of Mt. Sinai health care workers that she brought to the stage to serenade, the humanity of the city of New York as it survived (and continues to) the ongoing pandemic, the humanity of her lockdown-informed romance with new fiancé Josh Bryant (who appeared in the show with his guitar and a million-watt smile that washed over Kristin, brighter than Matt Berman's lights). Not surprisingly, Kristin Chenoweth is a person who is led by her heart, a generous one that drove her to put firmly into the spotlight her choir, her backup singers J. Harrison Ghee, Crystal Monee Hall, Nikki Kimbrough, and Marissa Rosen, and Musical Director Marvel Mary-Mitchell Campbell (as exciting to watch as Chenoweth, if one can tear their eyes from Chenoweth). An artist and a star to the core of her being, Kristin Chenoweth has a credible desire, nay, a need to raise into the light those people and artists in whom she places her belief. Her magnanimity enters the room with her, hand in hand with her humor and her devotion - it's a winning combination.

Review: Kristin Chenoweth Wins Christmas With CHRISTMAS AT THE MET at The Metropolitan Opera

Aside from the sheer pleasure of watching The Lady Chenoweth draw some three thousand people closer still to her being with her openness, her honesty, and her unfathomable talent, the highlights of the evening for this writer were three ballads: the devastating and spectacularly acted "Bring Him Home" that ended Act One, a "Moon River" sung almost exclusively to fiancé Bryant, during which Kristin became audibly teary, and an inventive arrangement of Willie Nelson's "Always On My Mind" mashed up with Stephen Sondheim's "Losing My Mind" - the kind of arrangement that comes from the imagination of a great artist. And Kristin Chenoweth is a great artist, and a great lady, one who belongs on every list, be it Christmas Wish or Best Of.

Kristin Chenoweth CHRISTMAS AT THE MET was a one-night-only. Visit the website for The Metropolitan Opera to see what they will play this season HERE.

THIS is the Kristin Chenoweth website.

All photos by Karen Almond and provided by The Metropolitan Opera.

Review: Kristin Chenoweth Wins Christmas With CHRISTMAS AT THE MET at The Metropolitan Opera

Review: Kristin Chenoweth Wins Christmas With CHRISTMAS AT THE MET at The Metropolitan Opera

Review: Kristin Chenoweth Wins Christmas With CHRISTMAS AT THE MET at The Metropolitan Opera Review: Kristin Chenoweth Wins Christmas With CHRISTMAS AT THE MET at The Metropolitan Opera Review: Kristin Chenoweth Wins Christmas With CHRISTMAS AT THE MET at The Metropolitan Opera Review: Kristin Chenoweth Wins Christmas With CHRISTMAS AT THE MET at The Metropolitan Opera

Review: Kristin Chenoweth Wins Christmas With CHRISTMAS AT THE MET at The Metropolitan Opera Review: Kristin Chenoweth Wins Christmas With CHRISTMAS AT THE MET at The Metropolitan Opera Review: Kristin Chenoweth Wins Christmas With CHRISTMAS AT THE MET at The Metropolitan Opera Review: Kristin Chenoweth Wins Christmas With CHRISTMAS AT THE MET at The Metropolitan Opera Review: Kristin Chenoweth Wins Christmas With CHRISTMAS AT THE MET at The Metropolitan Opera Review: Kristin Chenoweth Wins Christmas With CHRISTMAS AT THE MET at The Metropolitan Opera



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