Coming HomeKristin Chenoweth
“The whole experience was very emotional,” Kristin Chenoweth says of the historic performance that’s captured on Coming Home, her first Concord Records release and her first-ever live album.
The aptly titled 15-song album captures the versatile singer-actress singing for a rapturously enthusiastic crowd at the Kristin Chenoweth Theatre in the Broken Arrow Performing Arts Center in her hometown of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.
“Any time you come home, you have a flood of emotions, and singing in front of people I’ve known most of my life made me even more nervous,” Chenoweth observes. “But I couldn’t imagine doing it anyplace else. I just wanted them to be proud of me.”
The career-spanning CD is the audio counterpart to Kristin Chenoweth: Coming Home, the artist’s first television concert special.
The personally-charged performance finds Chenoweth accompanied by an expert 11-piece band incorporating strings, horns and woodwinds, along with a trio of backup vocalists and the Broken Arrow High School Choir. The set list spans her entire stage and screen career and encompasses the breadth of her musical interests, incorporating Broadway classics, timeless pop standards and contemporary material, covering a remarkable amount of stylistic ground while providing a compelling showcase for Chenoweth’s abundant talent and charisma.
Coming Home‘s many highlights include powerful new renditions of “Popular” and “For Good,” both of which Chenoweth introduced in her starring role in the Broadway smash Wicked. She also brings fresh energy and emotion to such venerable standards as Lerner and Loewe’s “I Could Have Danced All Night,” Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg’s “Over the Rainbow,” Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein’s “All the Things You Are,” and the more recent show tunes “Bring Him Home,” from Les Misérables; and “Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again,” from Phantom of the Opera.
Elsewhere on Coming Home, Chenoweth demonstrates her longstanding affinity for the songs of John Kander and Fred Ebb with stirring readings of the duo’s enduring compositions “Maybe This Time” and “My Coloring Book.” Her interpretive skills also illuminate Dolly Parton’s “Little Sparrow,” the contemporary spiritual “Upon This Rock,” and Barbra Streisand and Donna Summer’s disco-era smash “No More Tears (Enough Is Enough).” Chenoweth also revisits the poignant “I Was Here” and “Fathers and Daughters,” which she originally recorded in 2011, and taps into the timeless resonance of Stephen Foster’s 19th-century ballad “Hard Times Come Again No More.”
“I can’t just sing a song for no reason, so I only choose songs that mean something to me,” Chenoweth states. “For example, I chose ‘My Coloring Book’ because when I was in college, my voice teacher didn’t think I understood the song, and told me to pull it out one day when I did. So I’m singing it all these years later, and she was there to witness it. I also like to reintroduce songs that people may not be familiar with, like Stephen Foster’s ‘Hard Times,’ which is from 1853 but sounds like it could have been written today. And I love to do songs that people wouldn’t expect from me, like ‘Enough Is Enough.’
“I’m known for musical theatre,” she continues, “but I grew up with country and gospel, and I’ve always loved standards and operas. So I figured that this live album would be a good chance to show people the different things that influenced me and the different things I can do.”
Since achieving Broadway stardom with her roles in You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown and Wicked, Kristin Chenoweth has effortlessly transitioned between her parallel careers in stage, television, film and music. After winning a Tony Award for You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown and earning a Tony nomination for Wicked, she won an Emmy Award for her role in the ABC TV series Pushing Daisies, and was nominated for two Emmy Awards and a People’s Choice Award for her work in the Fox series Glee. In addition to numerous other TV, film and stage projects, she was a series regular on NBC’s The West Wing, was a guest judge on American Idol and has recorded four studio albums.
Her celebrated acting career aside, Chenoweth says that she finds it liberating to sing in a concert situation, engaging directly with the songs and her audience.
“When I’m in a concert setting, I don’t have to play a role,” she notes. “It’s more of a challenge to sing as yourself, because you can go to a very raw place that you don’t always want to share, or maybe you don’t mean for it to come out. But it’s all part of being an artist and letting people see who you are. And hopefully when people listen to this CD, they’ll have a better idea, or maybe even a different idea, of who Kristin Chenoweth is.”