She’s always so gleeful.
And now that her PBS concert special has aired and a souvenir can be had in the form of Coming Home, her first live DVD and/or CD, Gleeful should be capitalized.
“The whole experience was very emotional,” Kristin Chenoweth gushes of the historic performance that’s captured on her first Concord Records release. The aptly titled 15-song album captures the versatile singer-actress singing for “a rapturously enthusiastic crowd” (as her flaks gush) at the Kristin Chenoweth Theatre in the Broken Arrow Performing Arts Center in her hometown of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. There will also be a deluxe CD–with three extra tracks–available only at Target. You might think Okies are more the Walmart crowd.
“Any time you come home, you have a flood of emotions, and singing in front of people I’ve known most of my life made me even more nervous,” Chenoweth says. “But I couldn’t imagine doing it anyplace else. I just wanted them to be proud of me.” Chenoweth os accompanied by an 11-piece band incorporating strings, horns and woodwinds, along with a trio of backup vocalists and the Broken Arrow High School Choir. The set list spans her entire stage and screen career and encompasses the breadth of her musical interests, incorporating Broadway classics, timeless pop standards and contemporary material, covering a remarkable amount of stylistic ground while providing a compelling showcase for Chenoweth’s abundant talent and charisma. Coming Home’s many highlights include powerful new renditions of “Popular” and “For Good,” both of which Chenoweth introduced in her starring role in the Broadway smash Wicked. She also brings fresh energy and emotion to such venerable standards as Lerner and Loewe’s “I Could Have Danced All Night,” Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg’s “Over the Rainbow,” Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein’s “All the Things You Are,” “Bring Him Home,” from Les Misérables and “Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again,” from The Phantom of the Opera. Elsewhere on Coming Home, Chenoweth demonstrates her longstanding affinity for the songs of John Kander and Fred Ebb with stirring readings of the duo’s enduring compositions of Liza’s “Maybe This Time” and the novelty ditty “My Coloring Book.” Her interpretive skills also illuminate Parton’s “Little Sparrow,” the contemporary spiritual “Upon This Rock,” and Streisand and Summer’s disco-era smash “No More Tears (Enough Is Enough).” Chenoweth also revisits the poignant “I Was Here” and “Fathers and Daughters,” which she originally recorded in 2011, and taps into the timeless resonance of Stephen Foster’s 19th-century ballad “Hard Times Come Again No More.”
“I can’t just sing a song for no reason, so I only choose songs that mean something to me,” Chenoweth states. “For example, I chose ‘My Coloring Book’ because when I was in college, my voice teacher didn’t think I understood the song, and told me to pull it out one day when I did. So I’m singing it all these years later, and she was there to witness it. I also like to reintroduce songs that people may not be familiar with, like Stephen Foster’s ‘Hard Times,’ which is from 1853 but sounds like it could have been written today. And I love to do songs that people wouldn’t expect from me, like ‘Enough Is Enough.’ “I’m known for musical theatre,” she continues, “but I grew up with country and gospel, and I’ve always loved standards and operas. So I figured that this live album would be a good chance to show people the different things that influenced me and the different things I can do.”
Chenoweth plans to return to Broadway in early 2015 with a starring role in the Roundabout Theatre Company’s 20-week limited engagement of On the Twentieth Century. Chenoweth says that she finds it liberating to sing in a concert situation, engaging directly with the songs and her audience. “When I’m in a concert setting, I don’t have to play a role,” she notes. “It’s more of a challenge to sing as yourself, because you can go to a very raw place that you don’t always want to share, or maybe you don’t mean for it to come out. But it’s all part of being an artist and letting people see who you are. And hopefully when people listen to this CD, they’ll have a better idea, or maybe even a different idea, of who Kristin Chenoweth is.”
We gleefully wondered about that.
She’s always so gleeful.