Like a storyline from Glee, Mansfield musical theater students will live out Broadway dreams when they perform alongside award-winning actress and singer Kristin Chenoweth in a special benefit concert November 2.
The performance, taking place at Mansfield ISD’s Center for the Performing Arts, is part of Chenoweth's national "Places! The Kristin Chenoweth Experience" tour. It will raise funds for MISD’s Center Arts Program, which provides art performances and cultural events to students and the community.
According to Playbill, Chenoweth's tour is meant to be an educational initiative for students. “Mostly though, I want to help them have a good time through music,” she told the magazine.
A Mansfield stop happened to be pitch-perfect. The district, which brings in headlining acts every year to benefit the students and community, reached out to Chenoweth's management, "and she happily accepted," says Flo Torres, director of the MISD Center for the Performing Arts.
"Our goal is to expose our students to the fine arts in a unique way. We want to create lasting experiences with our students that they would not be able to have otherwise," Torres says. "So, we start researching different well-known artists to invite to work with our children in a big community event. The criteria for us is that the artist gives back to the community and supports education, the artist collaborates with our students and provides a deeper learning opportunity for them, and our students must be the opening act."
To Broadway buffs, Chenoweth is still best known for her original role of Glinda the Good Witch in Wicked in 2004. But her career spans stage, film, television, and voiceover work. She received an Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her role in Pushing Daisies in 2009. Ten years before that, she won a Tony Award for You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown. Chenoweth has been nominated for two Emmy Awards and a People’s Choice Award for her role on Glee.
Chenoweth's newest album, For the Girls, features duets with female powerhouses Ariana Grande, Dolly Parton, Jennifer Hudson, and Reba McEntire. It will release September 27.
"The first reaction when we tell people that Kristin Chenoweth is coming is, 'Are you serious? How did we get someone with such a big name?'" says Chuck Roe, MISD assistant director of fine arts. "Then, they start clamoring about it with their peers. They are beyond excited for this opportunity. I’ve had so many teachers come up to me wanting to work the event in any capacity."
Plans for the concert are still in the works, "but it will be fabulous," Torres promises, adding that students are preparing to audition for special roles in early September. "We’re just excited that our students will get to work with a Tony award-winning artist who has such a passion for students and the arts."
Tickets to the concert, $60-$85, go on sale at 10 am August 23 through Mansfield ISD Center for the Performing Arts' website.