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Kristin Chenoweth: My Love Letter to Broadway: EW review

Posted on

Walter McBride

Kristin Chenoweth: My Love Letter to Broadway

type:
Stage
Current Status:
In Season
run date:
11/02/16
performer:
Kristin Chenoweth
director:
Richard Jay-Alexander
genre:
Concert, musical

We gave it an A-

If you know Kristin Chenoweth as the original bubbly (and bubble-wrapped) Glinda in Broadway’s Wicked or the boozy hellraiser April Rhodes on Glee, her one-woman concert, My Love Letter to Broadway, at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre delivers all that we’ve come to love: a sparkling soprano, massive stage presence, and killer comic timing. 

The Tony-winner unleashes her inner torch singer for Hoagy Carmichael’s “I Get Along Without You Very Well,” from her just-released album, The Art of Elegance; trills giddily through My Fair Lady’s “I Could Have Danced All Night”; and gently ribs a certain carrot-colored presidential candidate in her signature Wicked tune, “Popular.” (Apologies to all other Good Witches, but no one makes that song sing like Chenoweth does.)

Glee fans will be happy to hear the beautifully mournful Burt Bacharach-Hal David number “A House Is Not a Home,” while Broadway diehards will be delighted by her gorgeous delivery of “A Quiet Thing” — an underappreciated John Kander and Fred Ebb ballad, from the 1965 Liza Minnelli vehicle Flora, the Red Menace. Her stab at Stephen Sondheim’s masterful “Losing My Mind” blended with Willie Nelson’s “Always on My Mind” might be more interesting in theory than in actual practice.

Throughout it all, she looks smashing in stunningly cut Christian Siriano costumes (three words: magenta sequined romper) and sky-high glitter-adorned heels — you’d never guess she’s 4-foot-11 if she didn’t mention it repeatedly, and good-humoredly.

But here’s something you’d never expect: The biggest ovation of the night EW attended came from what Chenoweth — a proud Christian and a staunch supporter of LGBTQ rights — called “a Jesus song.” With the help of the Performing Arts Project, a 16-member choir, the star took us to church with a roof-raising rendition of “Upon This Rock.” Sandi Patty would be proud.

And one suspects that Dolly Parton — one of Chenoweth’s idols — would love her intimate rendition of the country singer’s bluegrass-tinged “Little Sparrow,” which also gives the show’s string-heavy six-member band a real chance to shine. Chenoweth has frequently mentioned playing Parton in her life story. But first, KC, how about reviving a famous Parton part: Miss Mona in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas? A Love Letter is all well and good, but unfortunately, it’s written only through Nov. 13. A-