Friday, December 9, 2011
Review: Kristin Chenoweth brought spunk and sparkle to Nasher (December 8)
The audience was spellbound.
DALLAS Watching Kristin Chenoweth greet her fans Thursday at the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas, the tiny actress became larger than life. Tottering on shiny gold three inch heels, she wrapped herself around fans as if she was greeting long lost friends, as if she picked up with them right where she left off.
Thursday's Nasher Salon featured a candid discussion with the spunky star, moderated by KERA's Jeff Whittington. Chenoweth is a tiny tour-de-force. With a Tony for her role as Sally Brown in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown and an Emmy for her supporting role in Pushing Daisies, along with nominations for her work in Broadway hit Wicked and her guest starring role on Glee, four albums, and having just wrapped ABC's upcoming Good Christian Belles, Chenoweth took the time to discuss her (busy) life at this sold-out event.
Perched in a high-seated directors chair, ankles crossed, Chenoweth spoke with an accent that is decidedly Southern, bestowing her with charm. Despite her celebrity status, she could very well be your neighbor, the self-deprecating kind who might swap recipes with you or offer you iced tea and good gossip.
She began in her curt, funny way: "I'm from Oklahoma, don't be mad at me," she said. When she told the audience that she's "still just a girl from Broken Arrow," it was believable, driven home by even more endearing quips. "I got my start in church singing 'I'm only 4-Foot-11 But I'm Going to Heaven and I Feel 10 Feet Tall.'"
When Whittington asked if her success was marked by an arduous period of "paying her dues," she admitted that she's had a certain amount of so-called breaks, but then leapt from her seat, slightly lifting the back of her black and gold sparkly cocktail dress: "Just when I think I've figured it out, I've got a sensor from the store stuck on my dress! That sorta explains life," she said. The audience might as well have been spellbound.
While discussing her career, Chenoweth attributed her success to not being afraid of failure and pursuing roles that seem unlikely fits. Although, it's impossible not to reflect on how her Emmy-winning role as Charlie Brown's little sister Sally is perhaps tailor-made for the tiny star.
She paints herself as a true theater junkie, saying, “there’s nothing like live performance.” But she also seemed grounded. “I’m 43 years old, I’m tired!” she yelled from stage.
The last thing she wants to do is become familiar, she said. “I don’t want you to know what you’re going to get from me,” she explained. For example, when approached to appear in Broadway’s wildly successful Wicked, she was sure they wanted her to be a munchkin. But no, Chenoweth played the part of Glinda, the popular blonde witch who befriends Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West. She seemed to love the storyline. “That show is about four things: acceptance, friendship, forgiveness, and love. It’s about life,” she said.
Earlier on Thursday, Chenoweth spoke with students at Booker T. Washington High School and also watched them perform. She said she was moved by the amount of talent she saw. "I still feel like one of them," she said. "They make me want to better. They remind me not to let the amazing things that have happened to me become normal."
Spunky and sparkly, yes she is, but a touch of humility made Chenoweth relatable.
Pegasus News Content partner - The Assignment Desk, DFW
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