The album will be devoted to songs penned by Burton Lane and E.Y. Harburg, both separately and together. Lyricist Harburg and composer Lane wrote the famous score to Finian's Rainbow, which includes the standards "How Are Things in Glocca Morra?," "If This Isn't Love," "Look to the Rainbow" and more. Commercial producers announced that they will expand the Encores! production and bring it to Broadway later in 2009, with Baldwin and Cheyenne Jackson expected to repeat their roles as Sharon and Woody, respectively.
Rob Berman (resident musical director at Encores!) will serve as the album's music director; the orchestrators include Jason Robert Brown, Sam Davis, Joel Fram, Joshua Rosenblum, Georgia Stitt and Joseph Thalken.
Baldwin told Playbill.com, "I had the extraordinary good fortune to star in Finian's Rainbow this spring and fell in love with Burton Lane and Yip Harburg all over again. I have such a strong, personal connection to their work — I've loved Burton Lane's beautiful melodies for years and am still discovering Yip Harburg lyrics that delight me. I felt like they'd be the perfect companions as I embark on my first solo album."
(Little-known fact: Fresh out of college, Baldwin played Sharon in Finian's Rainbow at Marriott Lincolnshire Theatre in Illinois, earning a Chicago Joseph Jefferson Award nomination; she also understudied the role in a separate pre-Broadway tour of the show, which had a revised libretto by Peter Stone).
Tommy Krasker, co-founder of PS Classics, who is producing the disc, told Playbill.com, "I asked Kate, when we first spoke about the project, what attracted her to the songs of Lane and Harburg. And she responded, 'Romanticism, whimsy and smarts.' Well, Kate has that in spades, too, so it seemed like a perfect fit." Krasker said he is working toward an early fall release date. A track list has yet to be announced.
Baldwin has appeared on Broadway in The Full Monty, Thoroughly Modern Millie and Wonderful Town, as well as in Sondheim's Opening Doors at Zankel Hall. Regional roles include Betty Haynes in Irving Berlin's White Christmas in Toronto, San Francisco and Detroit; Katharine in Henry V at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey; Nellie Forbush in South Pacific (Helen Hayes Award nomination) at Arena Stage; and Amalia in She Loves Me (IRNE nomination) at Huntington Theatre Company and Williamstown Theatre Festival. Her concert work includes two appearances with Stephen Sondheim, as well as performances with the National Symphony Orchestra, the Portland Symphony Orchestra, and the American Songbook series at Lincoln Center. She is currently featured on the new PS Classics release, "Alphabet City Cycle," by Georgia Stitt and Marcy Heisler.
Founded in 2000 by Tommy Krasker and Philip Chaffin, and a four-time Grammy nominee (for its cast albums of Assassins, Nine: The Musical, Grey Gardens and Company), PS Classics "celebrates the heritage of Broadway and American popular song" through its critically acclaimed cast recordings; solo albums by such luminaries as Maureen McGovern, Victoria Clark, Jessica Molaskey, Rebecca Luker and Christine Andreas; and recordings drawn from rare sound archives, including "Sondheim Sings." Recent releases include the Broadway cast recording of The Story of My Life, and solo albums by Malcolm Gets and Stephanie J. Block.
For more information, visit www.psclassics.com.