Philip Chaffin Recording Dorothy Fields Album for PS Classics

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21 Aug 2013

Philip Chaffin
Philip Chaffin

PS Classics co-founder and A&R director Philip Chaffin has begun recording his fourth solo album, this one dedicated to the songs of lyricist Dorothy Fields, Playbill.com has learned.

The album will consist of both standards and little-known songs that Fields wrote between 1928 and 1973 with such composers as Jimmy McHugh, Jerome Kern, Sigmund Romberg, Harold Arlen, Morton Gould, Arthur Schwartz and Cy Coleman.

Fields' Broadway shows include Blackbirds of 1928, Stars in Your Eyes, Up in Central Park, Arms and the Girl, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, By the Beautiful Sea, Redhead, Sweet Charity and Seesaw. Her film musicals include "Roberta," "I Dream Too Much," "Swing Time," "Joy of Living," "Mr. Imperium" and "Excuse My Dust."

Music director Todd Ellison (Annie, La Cage aux Follies, Spamalot) is conducting the orchestra; the arrangers include Jonathan Tunick, Doug Besterman, Jason Carr, Glen Daum, David Loud, Joseph Thalken, Sam Davis, Matt Aument, David Wolfson and John Baxindine.

The album is being produced by Chaffin's husband, PS Classics co-founder Tommy Krasker. Krasker told Playbill.com that he and Chaffin expect to complete recording during the fall, and hope to have it in stores in time for the holidays.



"Philip and I had spoken for a while about him doing an album devoted to the work of one songwriter, but it took us almost ten years to find the right fit. At one point, we thought Kern, then we thought Mercer – that actually ended up becoming his Southern album – but then we both thought of Dorothy Fields, and it seemed both unexpected and appealing. And a great fit: the McHugh and Kern songs are so up Philip's alley, but he's also really well-suited to a lot of Fields' iconic theatre roles, from Johnny Nolan in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn to Jerry Ryan in Seesaw," Krasker said. "When I was just out of college, I wanted to compile a Dorothy Fields lyric book – I had arranged and directed a Dorothy Fields revue in college – so I went around collecting every Dorothy Fields song, from the known to the completely unknown, like leadsheets from film musicals in the early thirties that never made it into production. All that material was still in two big boxes in the attic, and it's definitely come in handy."

Chaffin recently completed a run of Cole! at Music Theatre of Connecticut, and just prior to that, appeared as Arnold in the New York revival of Tom Griffin's The Boys Next Door. He has appeared in New York City in both concerts (including several of the Encores! productions at City Center, as well as Lyrics and Lyricists at the 92nd Street Y) and in theatrical evenings, including the Broadway premiere of Alan Menken and Tim Rice's King David. He is featured on recordings of Nonesuch Records' Pardon My English, New World Records' Tell Me More, and several PS Classics discs, including Sweet Little Devil, Sweet Bye and Bye and "The Maury Yeston Songbook." His first solo CD, the big-band album "Where Do I Go From You?," launched the PS Classics label in 2000; his second album, "Warm Spring Night," which celebrated a century of Broadway love songs, was released in 2005. His third album, "When the Wind Blows South," was named one of Playbill.com's "year's best" in 2008." Since 2001, Chaffin has divided his time between performing and running PS Classics, where as A&R Director, he reviews submissions, and green-lights and supervises all recordings. He has received two Grammy nominations, for co-producing the Broadway cast recordings of Sondheim on Sondheim and Follies.

Founded in 2000 by Tommy Krasker & Chaffin, and an eight-time Grammy nominee (for its cast albums of Assassins, Nine: The Musical, Grey Gardens, Company, A Little Night Music, Sondheim on Sondheim, Follies and The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess), PS Classics celebrates the heritage of Broadway and American popular song through award-winning cast recordings; solo albums by such artists as Maureen McGovern, Victoria Clark, Steven Pasquale, Liz Callaway and Christine Andreas; and restorations of long-lost musicals, including Sweet Little Devil, Sweet Bye and Bye and Strike Up the Band 1930. Recent releases include Rebecca Luker’s solo disc "I Got Love (Songs of Jerome Kern)," the world premiere recording of Anthony Rapp’s one-man show, Without You, and the revue Noel and Cole.