Kristin Chenoweth – Royal Albert Hall

Kristin Chenoweth performed at the Royal Albert Hall, London

Kristin Chenoweth performed at the Royal Albert Hall, London. Picture John Russo

Kristin Chenoweth performed at the Royal Albert Hall, London.

Where do I begin? None of the highest praise would do justice to describing the experience of seeing Kristin Chenoweth’s fast-paced two and a half hour concert at the Royal Albert Hall. She was beyond fantastic, not only as a singer, but as a personality too: full of poise, but yet so vulnerable and genuine too.

I was not disappointed when I saw Chenoweth on Broadway in Promises, Promises four years ago, but seeing her perform live in a concert format was something else. The artist seemed so happy to be there, and as a result instantly won the audience over with both her persona and impeccable delivery.

Most of all she made every song her own, whatever the genre, whether it be musical theatre, country, gospel or disco – her versatility was the thing that impressed the most, along with her relationship with the audience. Not since Liza Minnelli or Sammy Davis Jr in their heyday have I seen an artist inject a performance with so much feeling, especially in such a huge venue. Her patter and song introductions were always clever, touching and funny at the same time, and aside from her famliar material, Chenoweth also sang numbers she had written herself (including one about Dolly Parton).

Chenoweth’s roles in the stage musical Wicked and the incredibly popular US TV series Glee have certainly raised her profile and her Bacharach/David duet ‘One Less Bell to Answer’/‘A House is Not a Home’ with Les Miserables’ current West End Jean Valjean, Peter Lockyer (which she sang with Matthew Morrison in Glee) was among the highlights of this magical evening. As was the rendition of ‘For Good’ with the first British Elphaba Kerry Ellis – as well as a muliti-lingual version of ‘Popular’. Another gem was her powerhouse duet with Alison Jiear to ‘Enough is Enough’, the Streisand/Summer classic.

Renditions of ‘Bring Him Home’, the first female interpretation I have ever heard, and ‘Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again’ from The Phantom of the Opera were also moments to be treasured. It was like hearing those songs for the very first time.

Backed by a terrific band, led by musical director Mary Mitchell Campbell, and a three-strong singing and dancing chorus, Chenoweth held the enthusiastic audience in the palm of her hand until the very end and her moving rendition of ‘I Will Always Love You’.

The audience didn’t want to leave and who could blame them? Let’s hope for a return engagement, perhaps with the only number I missed, Chenoweth’s roof-raising take on ‘Glitter and Be Gay’ from Candide.

Patrick Honoré

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