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Broadway star Kelli O’Hara shares Carnegie Hall solo debut with Barbara Cook, Kristin Chenoweth and,

How do you get to Carnegie Hall? “The King and I” Tony winner Kelli O’Hara took the personal route on Saturday for her solo debut concert that featured family, friends, two famous Broadway sopranos as well as a cheeky nod to presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

“I’m from Oklahoma,” said O’Hara, whose crimson gown all but screamed red state. “But if you’re wondering about my politics,” she added, “I should be wearing a pantsuit.”

It was the lone passing mention of politics in an evening that spilled over with O’Hara’s gorgeous singing and her recurring theme: “Never go solo. Never have, never will,” she said. “Never want to.”

It was a refreshing acknowledgment that individual concerts and brilliant Broadway careers (10 shows, and counting) like hers come with help. “Do I look like I’m alone up here?," she asked, gesturing to 12 musicians also on stage. She introduced each by name. By evening’s end, two dozen intimates — dressers, baby sitters, actors, siblings — had joined her. In between, theater great Barbara Cook appeared and lent her starry luster. Ten years earlier, O'Hara made a guest appearance when Cook headlined on the same stage. And Kristin Chenoweth, a fellow soprano from the Sooner State, joined O’Hara for a rousing surprise duet of — what else? — “Oklahoma!”

O’Hara is known for her sumptuous soprano and emotional transparency. She shone brightly as she surveyed works by Rodgers and Hammerstein, Stephen Sondheim and Marvin Hamlisch, despite her mention of laryngitis. She reminded that she’s unsurpassable when it comes to two of her signatures — “To Build a Home” from “The Bridges of Madison County” and the title song from “The Light in the Piazza.”

The most eloquent moment: She was joined by husband Greg Naughton and his two bandmates and her father-in-law James Naughton for James Taylor’s “That Lonesome Road.” Performed a cappella, it proved the power of the hall’s famous acoustics and of voices woven in harmony. Roads and life get lonely, sure. But when O’Hara performs — even a solo — she’s always in good company.

By Joe Dziemianowcz (2016, October 31). Broadway star Kelli O’Hara shares Carnegie Hall solo debut with Barbara Cook, Kristin Chenoweth and, briefly, Hillary Clinton. Retrieved from


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