EXCLUSIVE: PS Classics Will Record A Minister's Wife With Bobby Steggert, Marc Kudisch and Kate Fry

By Adam Hetrick
June 8, 2011

Lincoln Center Theater's Off-Broadway production of A Minister's Wife, the musical adaptation of George Bernard Shaw's Candida with a score by Joshua Schmidt and Jan Tranen, will be recorded by PS Classics for a late summer release.



Tony-nominated actor and director Austin Pendleton, who also wrote Orson's Shadow and Uncle Bob, penned the adaptation with a score by Adding Machine: The Musical composer Joshua Schmidt and lyrics by Jan Tranen. PS Classics also preserved the cast album of Schmidt's acclaimed Off-Broadway musical Adding Machine in 2008.

The cast, including Tony Award nominees Bobby Steggert (Ragtime, The Grand Manner) and Marc Kudisch (9 to 5, The Apple Tree) and Jeff Award-winning Chicago actress Kate Fry (Oh Coward!), will assemble June 26 in a Manhattan recording studio to capture the intimate chamber musical on disc. PS Classics co-founder Tommy Krasker, who also produced the original cast recording of Schmidt's Adding Machine, will produce the album.

"Philip [Chaffin, co-founder of PS Classics] and I both found A Minister's Wife incredibly moving and impressive, and we're so pleased that the opportunity arose for us to record it," Krasker told Playbill.com. "I know for myself, having produced the Adding Machine album a few years ago, I wondered what Josh's 'next' work would sound like; I loved Adding Machine and thought the score was amazing, but you don't really know, after one show, what the composer's 'voice' is -- or if they truly have one, the way the greats from Kern and Arlen to Sondheim and Yeston do. But A Minister's Wife started, and from the first notes of music, even though the setting and tone couldn't have been more different from Adding Machine, the music was unmistakably Josh's. I know as a record producer, when I hear that, when that happens, it's so incredibly powerful. I'm very excited about preserving this show on disc."

Based on the first 1898 version of Candida, the musical A Minister's Wife debuted at the Writer's Theatre in Glencoe, IL, in May 2009. Writer's Theatre artistic director Michael Halberstam, who conceived the production and staged the premiere, directed the LCT production, which will conclude June 12 in the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater. Previews began April 7.

Actors Steggert, Kudisch and Fry make up the love triangle central to Shaw's tale of a wife asked to choose between her tight-laced husband and a handsome young poet. Completing the cast are Liz Baltes and Drew Gehling. Fry and Baltes both appeared in the 2009 premiere of the musical.

The musical, according to Lincoln Center Theater, "explores the fires burning beneath the surface of a seemingly ordinary marriage. The Revered James Morell (Kudisch) and his wife, Candida (Fry), are happily married – or at least they think – until a romantic young poet (Steggert) enters their life."

A Minister's Wife has sets by Allen Moyer, costumes by David Zinn, lighting by Keith Parham, sound by Scott Stauffer, orchestrations by Joshua Schmidt, musical direction by Richard Carsey and is conducted by Tim Splain.

Founded in 2000 by Tommy Krasker & Philip Chaffin, and a six-time Grammy nominee (for its cast albums of Assassins, Nine: The Musical, Grey Gardens, Company, A Little Night Music and Sondheim on Sondheim), PS Classics celebrates the heritage of Broadway and American popular song through its award-winning cast recordings; solo albums by Kate Baldwin, Maureen McGovern, Victoria Clark, Jessica Molaskey and Christine Andreas; and recordings drawn from rare sound archives, including "Sondheim Sings."

Upcoming releases include Jason Robert Brown and Marsha Norman's "novel symphony for actors and orchestra" The Trumpet of the Swan, the 1930 version of George and Ira Gershwin's Strike Up the Band, and solo discs by Kate Baldwin and Liz & Ann Hampton Callaway.

Visit the label's website, PSClassics.com.