Broadway bound: Morristown’s MPAC youth chorus to back Kristin Chenoweth, Nov. 6

Kristin Chenoweth with MPAC's Performing Arts Company, September 2016 in Morristown. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Kristin Chenoweth with MPAC's Performing Arts Company, September 2016 in Morristown. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
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Video: MPAC will reprise ‘I Was Here’ on Broadway with Kristin Chenoweth

By Kevin Coughlin

Cathy Roy always tells her students at Morristown’s Mayo Performing Arts Center to sing their best — you never know where it might lead you.

On Sunday, Nov. 6, 2016, it’s leading 16 of her teens to Broadway, to perform with Kristin Chenoweth.

“They’re thrilled,” said Roy, MPAC’s education director. “It gives us confidence, that she has faith in us.”

Kristin Chenoweth at MPAC's 2016 season opener. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Kristin Chenoweth at MPAC’s 2016 season opener. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Chenoweth, whose credits span from Wicked to The West Wing, evidently liked what she heard when the Mayo Center’s Performing Arts Company joined her onstage for her season-opening shows at MPAC in September 2016 and 2015.

She has asked the youths to accompany her for two songs at the Lunt-Fontanne Theater, where she’s earned great reviews for My Love Letter to Broadway, which runs through Nov. 13.

The Mayo singers will back Chenoweth in Upon This Rock and I Was Here, numbers they performed with her in Morristown.  They are scheduled to close each half of the 7 p.m. concert, said Roy, who chose her most seasoned 16-year-olds for the gig.

Kristin Chenoweth with MPAC's Performing Arts Company, September 2016 in Morristown. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Kristin Chenoweth with MPAC’s Performing Arts Company, September 2016 in Morristown. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Roy said it’s the first Broadway appearance for MPAC’s Performing Arts Company, and everyone is ecstatic that it is with Chenoweth, the 4-foot-11 star with a voice as big as her native Oklahoma.  She made a giant impression in Morristown.

“Kristin is so inspiring,” Roy said. “You don’t know what to expect with different performers. She was so kind, so humble, so giving to the kids.

“They all look up to her anyway. To have her be nicer, more talented and more generous than you can imagine–she’s a special person.”

Word is getting around about Roy’s program as well.  Last November, six of her students performed with several stars–including Chenoweth–at the White House for a TV special.

And this Monday, Nov. 7,  it’s back to Broadway.

Director Cathy Roy, right, leads rehearsal of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamboat.' Aja Baitey, in the white shirt, says it's not so bad singing with the boys. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Director Cathy Roy, right, leads rehearsal of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamboat’ at MPAC in 2013.  Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Two buses will deliver 80 of Roy’s MPAC students, who range from age 13 to 21, to Gotham Hall to perform Morning Glow, from Pippin, at a gala for the Dramatists Guild Fund.

That one, Roy said, came about thanks to Broadway composer Andrew Lippa (I Am Anne Hutchinson), who heard of MPAC’s choristers “through a friend.”

Hmmm. He’s collaborated with a certain petite Oklahoman on a bunch of projects…

Video: Kristin Chenoweth introduces MPAC youth chorus to Stephen Foster

 

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