“What [the Women’s Association does] is so much about arts education for kids in this area, and that’s what I’m about,” Chenoweth told Playbill.com a few minutes before her performance. “I grew up in ‘Friday Night Lights’ land, and arts was the last priority. It makes me scared that it’s disappearing in our schools as we speak.”
When the award-winning performer took the stage at the PAC, her goal was to share not only the classics, but a style that resonates with her as well. “You want them to hear what inspires you,” Chenoweth said regarding the songs on her recently released album “Some Lessons Learned,” which hit number 14 on the country music charts.
After opening with “Should I Be Sweet” from Take a Chance, Chenoweth welcomed the New Jersey crowd, which also included former basketball star Shaquille O’Neal. During a brief encounter with a man over two-feet taller than herself, Chenoweth confessed that she gave him tips on how to become “Popular,” diving into the musical number written by composer-lyricist Stephen Schwartz for the hit musical Wicked.
Chenoweth then offered a few numbers from “Some Lessons Learned," including “God and Me,” “I Didn’t,” “Fathers and Daughters” and her first single, “I Want Somebody (Bitch About)” before heading back on stage for an encore performance of “The Girl from 14G” by Thoroughly Modern Millie composer Jeanine Tesori, which demonstrates Chenoweth’s extremely extensive range.
While at the Spotlight Gala, Chenoweth also talked with Playbill.com about her upcoming projects, including taking on the role of Lily Garland in the Broadway-bound revival of On the Twentieth Century. “I love the show, and I love the role of Lily because it’s very operatic in nature, but it’s a comedic role, so it utilizes two of the things that I do pretty well,” said Chenoweth, who confirmed she will be working with Scott Ellis on the production, who directed her in her Broadway debut, Steel Pier in 1997.
Also in the works for the busy performer is ABC’s “GCB,” which is currently in production and set to air in the network’s midseason; and a 20-city tour, which will be mapped out soon after the actress wraps production on “GCB” in the beginning of November. “People say, ‘You just don’t stop,’ but I can go for a week and then I have to be doing something,” she added.
To check out pictures from Chenoweth’s NJPAC performance, look below:
[caption id="attachment_19062" align="alignnone" width="450" caption="Photo by Amanda Brown/Courtesy of NJPAC"][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_19061" align="alignnone" width="450" caption="Photo by Amanda Brown/Courtesy of NJPAC"][/caption]
NJPAC CEO John Schreiber at the Spotlight Gala:
[caption id="attachment_19063" align="alignnone" width="450" caption="Photo by Amanda Brown/Courtesy of NJPAC"][/caption]