Written by: Lawrence Ricardo, Staff Writer Sonoma State STAR
It’s not every day that a Tony and Emmy Award-winning actress graces their presence at Sonoma State University. Kristin Chenoweth, who is most known for her originating role of Glinda in the musical “Wicked” visited the Green Music Center on Friday to conclude the summer season during her Coming Home tour.
Unlike most of the superstars that perform at the Green Music Center, Chenoweth has a soft spot for Sonoma County. Though she has never been to the area, she expressed how welcomed she felt, feeling at peace when she briefly stopped by to see the sold-out show at Schroeder Hall the day before.
Chenoweth had mentioned that the Schulz Family was near and dear to her heart. Prior to her reigning days in “Wicked,” Chenoweth had originated the role of Sally Brown in the 1999 Broadway Revival of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.” The Schulz Family, who created the Peanuts Comic Strip, can be found in many locations around Sonoma County. The Jean and Charles Schulz Information Center, Charlie Browns café and Schroeder Hall are locations that carry on the Schulz Family legacy.
Sonoma State’s Greek Life was also excited to learn that Chenoweth is a proud alumna of the national sorority, Gamma Phi Beta, in which she threw up the crescent moon sign on stage to give the ladies a shoutout who had come to her concert.
Chenoweth delivered an outstanding concert which was lined with humorous stories from years back and those as recent as the day before. During one instance, she spoke about a story of how she was cast as Val in “A Chorus Line” at Oklahoma City University in which the conservative nature of Oklahoma led her to change one of her solo songs, “Tits and Ass to Boobs and Butts.” With a positive attitude, Chenoweth delivered her rendition of “Boobs and Butts” to the fullest. In addition, Chenoweth belted other musical favorites including “For Good” and “Popular” from “Wicked”, “Maybe This Time” from “Cabaret” and “Somewhere over the Rainbow” from “The Wizard of Oz.”
Chenoweth’s goal of the night was to show her audience how important arts education and young talent is to her. Her strive to inspire others to reach their full potential and chase their dreams was both remarkable and uplifting. “If you think that there is anything else you could do and be happy, then do that. But if you absolutely can’t, then you go for it. And don’t let anybody tell you no,” Chenoweth said during her last few moments on stage. Chenoweth founded the Kristin Chenoweth Theatre in her hometown, Broken Arrow, OK, as she realized that her hometown had no musical theater outlet and wanted to make a change for the better. For those who have followed Chenoweth’s journey, this greatly inspired the storyline she had on FOX’s Glee in which her character, April Rhodes, donates money to fund William McKinley High’s auditiorium named The April Rhodes Civic Pavillion.
At one part of the night, Chenoweth brought an aspiring musical theatre student to perform For Good with her on stage to further showcase the importance of young artistry. The crowd gave the student a loving-standing ovation because of her bravery to perform in front of thousands of patrons alongside Kristin Chenoweth herself.
Audience member and Sonoma State Sophomore Katie Kelly had much to say about Chenoweth bringing a young artist on stage with her. “That girl’s voice almost topped [Kristin Chenoweth] and that was pretty amazing. It was cool that she brought someone up to sing with her.”
Though Chenoweth had to be back on the road again for her next tour stop, she didn’t hesitate to take the time to meet a few of the fans that had come out to support her. Sonoma State Senior, Lauren Funaro, was one of the lucky few who met her post-concert. “It was so exciting meeting someone who I deeply admired since I was a kid,” said Funaro. “She was a very sweet and endearing person too, and it was surreal being able to joke and laugh with her.” Chenoweth’s on-stage persona transcended to her meet and greet. She was very personable and even remembered some faces that she had seen the day before at Target.
For ticket information and tour dates for Kristen Chenoweth’s Coming Home Tour, visit officialkristinchenoweth.com/tour