Marriott Lincolnshire Hosts Heidi Kettenring One-Night Only in “Something Wonderful” Monday, March 18

Heidi Kettenring sings Karen Carpenter, Amy Boyle Photography
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Award-winning actor Heidi Kettenring, Chicago’s beloved leading lady, will be wowing audiences with her Something Wonderful concert for one night only at the Marriott Lincolnshire Theatre on Monday, March 18, at 7:30 p.m. Heidi Kettenring generously participated in a Splash Magazine Worldwide interview on March 9, 2024.

Heidi Kettenring in Big Fish, Photo: Liz Lauren

SBL: I understand you were born in Metairie, Louisiana, and grew up in Nashville, Tennessee. Were there any early experiences that led you into singing and acting as a career? Did you have formal or experiential incidents that inspired you to become the Chicago leading lady you are universally recognized as?

Heidi Kettenring in Sound of Music, Photo: Liz Lauren

HK: I can’t really point to any particular moment that started my path toward performing. But I know I did my first on-stage performance in the fourth grade in a musical written by the nuns at my school called Finding Tomorrow, in which Little Orphan Annie and Oliver Twist meet and go on a journey. I played Dorothy and sang “Over The Rainbow.” I was hooked. But I also have been making up songs and getting lost in make-believe since I could speak, so–I guess it’s always been there.

You attended Northwestern University in Evanston. What were your favorite classes there and why did you remain in the Chicago area when Los Angeles and New York seem like the pinnacles of stardom?

Heidi Kettenring Hello Dolly, Photo: Liz Lauren

I loved Northwestern. Most of my classes in the Theater Department were fantastic, but I also took a lot of wonderful English classes. And one of my favorites was a Russian literature class taught by Irwin Weil. And it’s funny you use the phrase “pinnacles of stardom” about LA and NYC. I never had any desire to live in LA or New York. First of all, I fell in love with Chicago and Evanston when I moved here at 17. And I learned I could make a good living as a working performer. That is all I ever wanted. I had no desire for “stardom.” I have simply wanted to be successful in this field that I love while being able to have a full and rich life outside of work. And I have been very lucky to achieve that. Chicago has my heart.

This year the Jeff nomination total actually rose to 10! You know, awards are a funny thing.

Heidi Kettenring Hello Dolly, Photo: Liz Lauren

Who is the most influential person in your acting career and why?

Heidi Kettenring Hello Dolly, Photo: Liz Lauren

Oh goodness. Well, my husband, David Girolmo, has been the person to whom I have looked for help, advice, inspiration and encouragement since before we were even dating. He is basically the person who said, “Do you want to do this? Then do it!” I also had a time between graduating NU for about three years after where I was lost and insecure and didn’t know what to do with my life or quite frankly who I was. I ended up working with a now dear departed friend named Roy Hine at The Wagon Wheel Theatre who reignited my love for the theatre. I thank him constantly for reminding me that I loved it and starting me back on the path.

What do you consider your biggest career triumph to be and why?

I think the biggest triumph is that I get to cross over into so many different areas of the arts. This year alone I will have been able to do a big fun musical like Guys And Dolls, a classic, dark, psychological play like Equus and a concert that I put together with a five-piece band, all in six months.

What was your biggest heartbreak in the arts?

Heidi Kettenring in Hello Dolly, Photo: Liz Lauren

I think one of the biggest heartbreaks is the loss of dear friends. In the arts, we become very close for a short period of time with the people we work with, like a family. And if you are lucky some of those relationships last beyond that short time and grow and grow. I’ve been blessed with so many wonderful people in my life. And sadly, have watched far too many of them pass away. I’ve had some truly great friends in this business die far too young. I’m lucky to have known them at all, but wish they were still with me.

You are performing “Something Wonderful” in concert on March 18 at the Marriott Lincolnshire Theatre. What led you to feature that particular song?

Well, I am actually NOT singing that song. 🙂 My apologies to anyone who is hoping for it! It is a song from The King And I which is a favorite show I have done, and I WILL be singing “Hello Young Lovers” from that show. It seemed an appropriate title because I truly feel that my life has been wonderful. And continues to be so. It is full of its challenges for sure, but I have been blessed with a life that brings me great joy. And this concert is a snippet of that!

Heidi Kettenring in concert, Photography: Amy Boyle Photography

Other songs you are including in this performance are “Hello, Dolly!,” “People,” from Funny Girl, “Close To You,” “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly,” “So Long, Dearie,” and “You’ve Got A Friend.” How significant are these songs in your life?

Every song I am singing in the show has a meaning to me. The Marriott asked me to come back and do a concert – I have done my Karen Carpenter show there a few times now – and they wanted something a little different this time. I have done 30 musicals at the Marriott. So, this concert includes songs from many of the shows I have done there as well as non-musical theatre songs that have great meaning in my life. The Marriott has been an artistic home to me over the last 25 years and much of this concert is a celebration of that.

Do you tell us your life story through these songs and talking to the audience after each song?

The evening is filled with anecdotes about shows I have done, people in my life, my heartbreaks and losses and joys and loves. I wouldn’t say it is a full life story, but I hope that the audience gets to know me a lot more than they did before by the end of the evening.

Heidi Kettenring, Amy Boyle Photography

Is this your first experience with this concert format? I know you did Karen Carpenter Concerts, but this is more about you, correct?

I actually started doing concerts in more this format a while ago. I think it really all started back in 1998 when Beckie Menzie, an incredible cabaret performer and dear friend, asked me to do a cabaret at the old Gentry on State. Since then, I have done little concerts here and there that I put together of just favorite songs. When I first hooked up with Michael and Angela Ingersoll at Artists Lounge Live, the first concert I did was more about me as well. The Karen Carpenter Show wasn’t created until about five years ago.

How and why did you decide to perform Something Wonderful?

I think this is sort of answered in a previous question, but I was lucky to be asked by The Marriott to come do a concert and so here we are!!

How much rehearsal time with your exceptional orchestra was required for this production?

I will have had a private session with my music director and piano player Chuck Larkin to figure things out like keys and cut-offs and feel, etc.., then one four-hour rehearsal with the band and then sound check the day of. That’s it! These musicians are SO INCREDIBLE that is all we need!

How do you warm up before taking the stage?

I do a short vocal warm up, drink a ton of water, I have every lozenge known to man, and I do my best to stay as relaxed as possible! I love doing concerts like this, but the nerves come no matter what, so I just focus on the fact that I love it!

What have I not asked you that you would love to share with your audiences?

Heidi Ketternring in Footloose, Photo: Liz Lauren

The audience is ultimately why I love doing these concerts. Were it not for them, I would have no career. So, what I would like to share is–thank you. Thank you for choosing to spend your time in a theatre having a shared experience with the others in the room and for supporting the live arts.

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions.

Tickets are $60.00 (not including tax and fees) and can be purchased now by calling the box office at 847-634-0200, in person at the Marriott Theatre Box Office, or online at Marriott Theatre subscribers receive a 20% discount, and groups of 20 or more receive a substantial discount (subscriber and group discounts are only available through Marriott Theatre Box Office). Marriott Theatre is located at 10 Marriott Drive, Lincolnshire, IL 60069.

Photos: Courtesy of Liz Lauren, Amy Boyle Photography, Artists Lounge Live


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