Tony, Emmy award-winning singer to perform at SDSU




Count Kristin Chenoweth in when it comes to the mashed potato wrestling contest in Clark, South Dakota.

Chenoweth, the Emmy and Tony award-winning actress, will be visiting South Dakota State University this April to perform a concert.

“I heard there’s a mashed potato wrestling contest somewhere in the state,” Chenoweth said. “If it involves cheese, I’d like to be a participant.” 

While there are no promises Chenoweth will actually attend the contest in Clark, which takes place every August, SDSU officials are excited to have her in Brookings April 25.

The concert, titled “An Evening with Kristin Chenoweth Celebrating the ‘Art of Elegance,’” will be 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Performing Arts Center.

Chenoweth is well-known for her roles on Broadway and in television. She earned a Tony Award for her role in “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” and was nominated for her role as Glinda the Good Witch in the Broadway musical “Wicked.” She recently performed as Velma Von Tussle on NBC’s “Hairspray Live.”

April’s concert is a fundraiser for the SDSU music scholarship program and is put on by Woodbine Productions. All profits made by ticket sales will be donated to the music department’s scholarship fund. This year, the SDSU Foundation has brought the Midtown Men and tenThing to SDSU. Chenoweth’s performance is the last of this year’s run.

According to Rina Reynolds, development director for the College of Arts and Sciences, the Foundation brings in only high-quality talent. The performer should be a good match for the community and someone who students and locals can learn from and enjoy.

Not only are officials excited for the arrival of this star, but Chenoweth is excited, too.

“I love to perform songs no one expects from me, like Don Henley, Dolly Parton … but I also want to do songs I’m known for,” Chenoweth said. “The styles range from country to music theatre to opera to just plain old Americana. Lately, there’s a song that I love by Broadway composer Jason Robert Brown called ‘Fifty Years.’ It’s about enduring love, and I’m hoping to perform it while I’m there.”

According to David Reynolds, head of the Department of Music at SDSU, the show is selling tickets quickly. But he said there is no bad seat in the venue, which holds 1,000 people.

“She’s performing in concert halls that have 3,000 seats, so ours is kind of an intimate room for this kind of a concert,” he said. “You can be in the back room of the first floor and be able to tell what kind of shoes she’s wearing. They will be fabulous.”

Woodbine Productions is the product of an anonymous donor whose goal is to allow students and the community to witness outstanding talent at affordable pricing, Rina Reynolds said. The donor pays the entire cost of these performances put on at SDSU.

Chenoweth went to college at Oklahoma City University and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in musical theatre and a master’s degree in opera performance. In college, she enjoyed studying music theory and the languages in opera performance. She was also part of many musical theater and theater productions.

“I would have given anything while (I was) a student at OKCU to have an opportunity to work and/or sing alongside somebody who was doing my chosen career. The truth is, it’s a huge inspiration for me to be able to sing with young artists,” Chenoweth said. “They fill me up in such an awesome way, and I hope I inspire them too.”


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