Reba McEntire, Kristin Chenoweth delight audiences with impressive performance
By Joe Southern
Two gals from Oklahoma took over the Smart Financial Centre last weekend, each giving very different but stunning performances.
Country music legend Reba McEntire packed the place out Friday night, followed Saturday by a smaller and more intimate crowd for Broadway and television star Kristin Chenoweth. Both women commented about Sugar Land’s new entertainment venue.
“Oh my gosh!” McEntire exclaimed. “Do you guys know how lucky you are to have a beautiful venue like this in your area?”
This from a performer going into her 41st year and who has played in countless venues around the world. Chenoweth noted how nice the stage is and how much she enjoyed the setting.
McEntire’s nearly 90-minute show contained nearly two-dozen songs, including some from her new gospel album due to be released Feb. 3. From “Sing it Now: Songs of Faith and Hope” she sang “Swing Low Sweet Chariot,” “God and My Girlfriends” and made the public debut of “Back to God.”
Among her hits, she performed “Whoever’s in New England,” “Little Rock,” “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter,” “Walk On,” “Greatest Man I Never Knew,” “Because of You,” “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia,” “Does He Love You,” “Is There Life Out There” and more.
For an encore, she returned to the stage in a daring red dress and sang “Fancy.”
The next night, Chenoweth ran the gamut from hokey to haute, alternately belting power ballads and Broadway tunes (including the quirky “Taylor the Latte Boy”) while playfully mixing it up as a country girl from Oklahoma. She came on stage waving a Texas flag and after her first song made a big show of drinking from a Whataburger beverage container. She even had her new dog Thunder brought on stage where there was a lot of snuggling, smooching and licking.
Sharing the stage with her pianist and music director, Mary-Mitchell Campbell, Chenoweth brought energy and exuberance to the small but appreciative crowd at the Smart Financial Center.
The diminutive diva is currently touring in support of her “The Art of Elegance” album. Her most recent television appearance was on “Hairspray Live!”