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Curiocity: Kristin Chenoweth Hits A High Note

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(credit: Jeremy Cowart)

(credit: Jeremy Cowart)

Sara Boyd Sara Pelissero
Sara Pelissero joined the WCCO web team in August of 2009. You can...
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It’s not often that a performer receives a standing ovation, just for gracing the stage — and during a make-up concert, no less. But when you have as much talent that Kristin Chenoweth does, it seems more than deserved.

Before singing one note Tuesday night, Miss Chenoweth had the State Theatre audience wrapped around her little finger. I mean, let’s be honest, she could’ve decided to sit and read the encyclopedia for an hour and we would’ve cheered and screamed for more.

But lucky for us, Chenoweth instead proved over and over why she’s the definition of a Triple Threat.

In a show that highlighted everything from her Broadway days to her love of opera and of course, her southern, country roots, Chenoweth wowed the crowd with a voice that is seriously powerful yet completely effortless.

It’s purely astonishing how such a tiny little woman — she’s 4-foot-11, without the Christian Louboutin heels — can bust out this incredible, pitch-perfect, booming voice by simply opening her mouth. And if that wasn’t enough, she accompanies that big voice with some of the most adorable sass and incredibly charming humor ever to grace a stage.

But perhaps the biggest treat came during her more intimate and transparent moments. The biggest example of this came during one of her more anticipated ballads — the signature song from her Broadway smash, “Wicked.”

Wearing a Glinda-esque blue ballerina dress, Chenoweth announces that during her typical shows, she likes to ask a member from the audience to join her on stage for a duet of “For Good.” However for this performance, she had something special planned.

She asked one of her biggest fans, Katie, to join her on stage. Katie was also joined by her deaf interpreter. In an emotional and beautiful duet, Chenoweth sang and Katie signed. I’m pretty sure there wasn’t a dry eye in the entire theater — including the two sparkly eyes of Miss Kristin. (And here I thought Kristin’s tribute to Oprah with that song would go down as the most emotional rendition.)

Still finishing the song beautifully, it was apparent that Chenoweth was more than moved. So much so that after a long embrace with her new friend Katie — and a heartfelt standing ovation — Kristin completely lost track of where she was at in the show. It was a moment that Tuesday night’s audience, Katie and Kristin herself will surely never forget.

Between moments of emotion, we also got to learn more about the woman behind the voice — her upbringing through country songs, her ever-lasting love of Dolly Parton, her christian roots and her less-than-booming love life.

She humbly thanked the audience for spending a Tuesday night with her and apologized for not being here sooner. After being diagnosed with a tracheal infection last week, Chenoweth was forced to cancel her Father’s Day show in Minneapolis. In a moment of total transparency, she showed a video she made for her father on the day she was supposed to be here. It showed a stripped-down, make-up-less Chenoweth holding “Happy Father’s Day” signs in lieu of her beautiful, yet somewhat broken voice. If she hadn’t already won us over, this clearly pushed her over the edge.

She did a multi-cultural rendition of “Wicked’s” “Popular,” a gorgeous and heartbreaking performance of Les Miserables’ “Bring Him Home (The Prayer)” and ended the evening with the original country version (and a tribute to Miss Whitney Houston) of “I Will Always Love You.”

It was everything and more that a fan could want from a Kristin Chenoweth show. The audience left the theater having just received a true gift — a live viewing of one of the biggest voices of our lifetime and a chance to meet the real woman behind the star we’ve all adored.

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