Dana and I went to see Kristin Chenoweth in concert at Disney Hall this weekend. Loved it.
For starters, this was our first visit to Disney Hall. Very nice. Dana didn't like the carpet or seat covers, but otherwise we were pretty impressed. Considering it is a large hall, it doesn't feel cavernous, and most of the seats don't feel like they're far from the stage. (This is a good thing, because Dana and I were behind the stage in the second row from the top; I wasn't quite on the ball with getting these tickets.)
If you don't know who Kristin is (yes, I'm going to pretend we're on a first name basis), here's a bit of background: she's a Tony winner for playing Sally in You're a Good Man Charlie Brown, and a Tony nominee for playing Galinda in Wicked. She's small, southern, with long blonde hair and a speaking voice that's distinctively high and edgy. She was in the TV musical movies Annie and The Music Man. Most recently, she's been on The West Wing for the last couple of seasons as Annabeth, a media consultant for the administration.
She's got classical voice training, and she can use it. She has a fun mix where she can use an operatic soprano head voice and quickly cut in with an edge from her chest voice. And she can really perform; she doesn't sit still much, and her presence onstage is great. (And most of the time I saw her back.) I wasn't equally crazy about each of her song choices, but all in all they were great. There were a few showtunes, some cabaret pieces (is there a better name for that genre?), an aria from Candide, and a song made famous by Styx. Quite a mix.
Alanis Morrisette made a guest appearance to sing a duet from Wicked ("For Good"). Now I wouldn't call myself an Alanis fan in that I don't follow news or projects of hers, but I do own and enjoy her music. It was kind of fun to have her there (Kristin seemed to be a big fan), but I didn't feel like her vocal style really served the song. Maybe I'm too attached to Idina Menzel's vocal. Still, the song, which I can't help but endow with the emotional background from the show, was quite moving.
If you're ever given the chance to see her perform, I recommend it. She's got charm shining out of her pores (I guess 'oozing out' is the more common phrase, but doesn't really seem to have the right feeling). I'm sure in person she's got a little bit of diva in her (how could she not), but she sure comes across as a sweet southern girl, who can sing like no one's business.
Quick side note: in the audience were Stephen Schwartz, Jimmy Smits, and Allison Janney (in the front row, otherwise I'm sure I could have gotten those seats).