Broadway dynamo brings For The Girls to Nederlander for 8 performances.
By: Patrick Christiano
November 12, 2019: The curtain rises on Tony and Emmy Awarding winning dynamo, Kristin Chenoweth’s Broadway show For The Girls, to reveal the petite star dressed in only an oversized promotional t-shirt for her show, inside out. It’s a staged moment that Kristin calls the prologue. In hardly a flash she is back and bedazzling, in a bedded mini dress, with her dynamic two co-stars for the, evening, Crystal Monee Hall and Marissa Rosen, who the star shares much of the spotlight with, for a rousing rendition of Helen Reddy’s “I Am Woman.” For The Girls is a celebration of powerful women and features songs by women, some of which are on Chenoweth’s recently released album of the same name. These three women are superb and form the heart of the evening, backed by five musicians and the renowned Mary-Mitchell Campbell on piano, providing musical direction as well.
The star followed this with a haunting rendition of Trisha Yearwood’s “The Song Remembers When” followed, later, by an equally mesmerizing “The Way We Were, continuing the theme of powerful women influences in her life. Seeing the petite dynamo on the stage of the Nederlander, where so many legends, including Lena Horne, have played, one could hardly believe its been 16 years since she created Glinda in Steven Schwartz’ long running hit musical Wicked.
Chenoweth scored a Tony nomination for that role, becoming the youngest nominee in the leading actress in a musical category or so she said. This may be more of her self-deprecating sense of humor, which she does so well, and was sprinkled beautifully and judiciously throughout the evening. The lady is not only a trained opera singer, she is comic genius and watching her is always a surprising delight. Two of those delights were moving renditions of Judy Garland classics, “Over the Rainbow,” delivered atop a baby grand piano, followed by “The Man That Got Away,” played downstage center and powerful.
Chenoweth last appeared on Broadway three years ago with the superlative My Love Letter to Broadway , Chenoweth’s show this time around is more of a variety special, a tribute to the women in the show and the women that influenced them, so the star’s generosity of spirit is prominently on display throughout. On Sunday evening a one of the star’s special guests was Alli Mauzey, a one-time Glinda, who joined Chenoweth for a tiny bit of the classic “Popular” from Wicked. Chenoweth then turned the stage over to the gifted Alli, who momentarily raised the temperature in the theater with a searing “I Could Have Danced All Night.”
Wicked composer-lyricist Stephen Schwartz was the Star’s special guest for the evening. Each night there will be a different guest. Schwartz, first, duetted with Chenoweth on a stunning version of The Eagles’ “Desperado,” a megahit for Linda Ronstadt, before joining Chenoweth and Mauzey on the sublimely beautiful For Good.
Chenoweth closed out the evening, directed by Richard Jay-Alexander, with a tribute to her friend, the legendary Dolly Parton, by performing her hit ballad, I Will Always Love You, made popular by Whitney Houston in The Bodyguard. She put down the microphone, creating a beautiful moment, for the final verse singing a cappella to the audience sending us out of the theater reminding us of her extraordinary talent.
Kristin Chenoweth: For the Girls continues at the Nederlander Theatre (208 West 41st Street), November 15-17 remaining shows Visit www.ticketmaster.com for tickets. Photography: Nellie Beavers