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Painting the Town

Miami’s Art Basel, by the numbers; Japan’s first foreign geisha simplifies the kimono; Berlin’s scoring leader; the world’s smallest brewery; Kristin Chenoweth gets back to her roots

NASHVILLE, TENN.
Country Home

With her new album, Kristin Chenoweth goes back to her roots

Fresh off a workout at the Hutton Hotel in Nashville, Kristin Chenoweth is wearing black yoga pants and a gray sweatshirt over her lean (and improbably tiny) frame. Her face is flushed, shining and, at 43 — without much makeup at all — flawless.

She’s in town to perform at the annual CMA Music Festival. With the fall release of her first country music record, Some Lessons Learned, the coloratura soprano and Broadway star has set off down a path that will bring her a little closer to her Oklahoma roots. “I always wanted to make a country album, but I was afraid. I didn’t know if people would accept it,” she says.

For all her anxiety, Chenoweth comes by country as honestly as any newly minted Music Row talent. She started out singing in church, and at the age of 19 chased her radio-dial dreams to Nashville’s now-defunct Opryland USA theme park, where she performed as a singer and dancer.

Now, after a blockbuster run on Broadway that included a Tony-nominated turn in Wicked, as well as an Emmy-nominated cameo on “Glee,” she’s returned to Nashville — closer to country music’s beating heart and closer to family — thanks to an album that began as little more than a clause she insisted on in her contract with Sony Masterworks.

And this might not be any old stop on a tour. Like Nicole Kidman before her, Chenoweth is thinking about moving here. Music City could be the perfect home for this Oklahoman, who has for years split her time between New York and L.A. “It feels right,” she says. “It feels welcoming.”

After a brief but nonetheless learned discussion about regional barbecue, it’s time to go. Chenoweth steps out of the lobby, strides over to a modest midsize sedan and drives off, all the while looking right at home. —BRANTLEY HARGROVE

 

THIS MONTH

CALENDAR OF WORLDLY EVENTS

NEW YORK The Big Apple becomes a laugh riot as the New York Comedy Festival brings headliners Louis C.K., Ricky Gervais and Sarah Silverman to the city’s best theaters. NOVEMBER 9–13 www.nycomedyfestival.com

SYDNEY The Sydney Opera House’s Concert Hall is a fittingly sublime venue for “Way to Blue: The Songs of Nick Drake,” a star-studded tribute to the British folk hero. NOVEMBER 11 www.sydneyoperahouse.com

PHOENIX Want a new look? The exhibit “Native American Bolo Ties: Vintage and Contemporary” at the Heard Museum might inspire you to give Arizona’s distinctive neckwear a try. OPENS NOVEMBER 19 www.heard.org

MONTSERRAT You might be losing steam, but the live volcano you’re running past should be just the motivation you need to keep going during the strenuous Volcano Half-Marathon. NOVEMBER 26 www.volcanorunner.com

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