Audiences will be treated to a wide variety of tunes at Kristin Chenoweth's New York concerts on Oct. 11 and 12 when the Tony-winning star kicks off the fifth season of Lincoln Center's "American Songbook" series, the acclaimed program devoted to the popular American song.
Chenoweth, who received rave reviews for her recent solo concerts at London's famed Donmar Warehouse, told Playbill On-Line Oct. 8, "[The Lincoln Center concerts] will be fairly similar to the Donmar [repertoire], but I've added some new songs, one of which was written specifically for these concerts."
The classically trained singer, who possesses a multi-octave range that is suited for the demands of both Broadway and opera, wouldn't reveal the song's title, saying, "It's a surprise. If I tell you the title, it gives the joke away, but it's really cute. Andrew Lippa wrote it, and he's done right by me in the past," she laughed. "I'm really thrilled with it." Lippa, it should be noted, composed two additional songs — including "My New Philosophy" for Chenoweth's Sally Brown — for the Broadway mounting of You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, the show that brought the performer her Tony for Best Featured Actress in a Musical.
The actress, who will star opposite Matthew Broderick in the upcoming TV production of "The Music Man," said, "There's a possibility of my next album featuring turn-of-the-century music, so I've been investigating some of that stuff, and I found a Stephen Foster song that I've added to the [Lincoln Center] program. There are also a couple songs that are more contemporary. Act One will be a lot of music from my album [Sony Classical's "Let Yourself Go"], and Act Two will be from the album and some new things. I'm kind of excited about it, plus we've added choreography. I have two back up dancers, and Kathleen Marshall's directing. She's so brilliant in how to rethink songs."
Among the other songs concertgoers can expect to hear are Marcie Heisler and Zina Goldrich's "Taylor (the Latte Boy)," which Chenoweth performed on "The Rosie O'Donnell Show"; Kurt Weill's "I'm a Stranger Here Myself"; Leonard Bernstein's "Glitter and Be Gay"; and a song cut from Andrew Lippa's The Wild Party. About the latter, Chenoweth explains, "I took part in the workshop [of The Wild Party]. That song was not my character's song, but I've never forgotten it. It really, really touched me, and I've always wanted to do it. [Andrew Lippa] helped put it in my key, and made it more suited for a concert version." Chenoweth has often been cast in productions set in the thirties and forties, and she admits, "I kinda belong there, which was the reason I did the album, [but] I really like all kinds of music. I love country music. I grew up singing country and gospel music. You'll hear flares of that, too, [this weekend]. I just look for songs that move me, that speak to me, like most singers do. That's how I choose songs."
Chenoweth's concerts will be held at the John Jay College Theatre, which is located in New York City on Tenth Avenue between 58th and 59th Streets. Tickets are priced at $45, and show time is 8 PM. For ticket reservations, call CenterCharge at (212) 721-6500; for more information, go to www.lincolncenter.org.
A complete interview with Kristin Chenoweth will be featured in the Oct. 11 posting of "Diva Talk."
—By Andrew Gans