Last night was the culmination of Act III, the three nights of performances that opened the AT&T Performing Arts Center. The finale was billed as “an evening of Broadway,” and it was topped off with a rocking party. First, the singing and dancing, then we’ll get to some pictures, including one of a celebrity who is my new best friend.
The fun started with Kiril Kulish spinning and flipping all over the stage. For my money, he dances better than he sings.
Next up was Kristin Chenoweth, who was simply amazing. She came out wearing a UT jersey, explaining that she was from Oklahoma and had lost a bet on the game. Her first song was “Popular,” from Wicked, which she told us she sang to Colt McCoy when she ran into him after the game. A great device. Then she took off the jersey — under which she was wearing a pick dress, alas — and proceeded to absolutely destroy the performance hall with her pipes. How that much sound comes out of such a tiny body is beyond me. She’s phenomenal. And funny.
George Hearn apparently just showed up to collect his paycheck. For his between-song interaction with the audience, he stared at the mic and waited for the horn section to empty its spit valves. That was it.
Patti LuPone was the headliner. She’s a diva (in a good way), and the audience loved her. But I think a lot of that reaction had to do with age. Let’s put it this way: I don’t think many in attendance last night have watched an episode of Sit Down, Shut Up, the animated show for which Chenoweth does a voice.
One final note about the hall: they’re still working out the kinks with the sound system that gave Sir Norman Foster problems earlier in the week. At one point, the mics had to be shut down mid-performance because of a nasty squeal from a feedback loop. Not good.
Okay, on to the pictures.
Finally, I’d like to say this about all that: a lot of hopes have been hung on the Performing Arts Center and the completion of the Arts District. The mayor has called it a “game changer.” It is going to draw people back to the city’s center. It’s going to put elevate Dallas on the world’s cultural stage. And so on. Only time will tell. But last night’s party was certainly a thing of wonder. Several people I talked to expressed a sense of awe, as if they were seeing Dallas — or a new version of it — for the first time. Of course, that could have been the booze talking, too.