Diva Friday: Kate Baldwin


I have a new diva crush. She’s a fiery red head with a glorious soprano/belt who radiates poise, class and brains. She’s the thinking man’s ingenue. Why: it’s none other than Kate Baldwin.

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Sadly, I’ve never actually seen Ms. Baldwin perform on any stage before. The only real performance I’ve seen of this Northwestern alum is her two-minute appearance in the Lincoln Center airing of Sondheim’s Passion, with Patti LuPone and Micheal Cerveris. She played “the mistress,” filling in at the last second for Laura Benanti. And, of course, she was stunning.

However, from the various recordings she’s sung on and the interviews with her I’ve read, I’m smitten.

As Broadway.com “Word of Mouth” reviewer Tom said in reaction to seeing her current performance in Finian’s Rainbow:

“If she were a man, I would take her to Connecticut and gay marry her.”

Bravo, Tom. Bravo.

Speaking of Finian’s Rainbow — this recently opened revival is Kate’s first true starring role on Broadway. How did she fare? Well, the reviews are in, and she’s poised for stardom:

To call Kate Baldwin a newcomer is perhaps an overstatement. Ms. Baldwin has appeared on Broadway before and has a solid list of regional and Off Broadway credits. But never has she made the bewitching impression she does here. (full review)
– Charles Isherwood, NY Times

…Baldwin, mostly seen on Broadway up to now in secondary roles or replacement casts, is a revelation. A Maureen O’Hara-type beauty with an agreeably feisty manner and a crystal-clear soprano, she makes gorgeous work of her wistful solo “How Are Things in Glocca Morra?” and sings gloriously with Jackson and other cast members on such standards as “Old Devil Moon” and “Look to the Rainbow.” (full review)
– David Roony, Variety

Best of all is Kate Baldwin, whose memorable appearances in such regional-theater productions as Huntington Theatre Company’s 2008 revival of “She Loves Me” have made me wonder why she doesn’t work regularly on Broadway. Ms. Baldwin is the real deal, a rich-voiced soprano who can also act. (full review)
– Terry Teachout, Wall Street Journal

See? They adore her.

Leading up to these fancy clippings, she’s done the regional circuit for years, playing everything from the scheming Milady in the now-defunct North Shore Music Theatre’s production of The Three Musketeers:

(I saw the Chicago production of Musketeers in Feb. 2007 — my thoughts here.)

…to Sarah Brown in Guys and Dolls at the Papermill Playhouse:

KateBaldwin_SarahBrown

…the caustic Charlotte in A Little Night Music at Centerstage Baltimore

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…Amalia in She Loves Me at Huntington Theatre

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…and Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady in Sacramento.

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In addition, she has a new CD out: Let’s See What Happens. I have it. Just like Ms. Baldwin, it’s classy, smart and lovely. Get it.

To learn more about Ms. Baldwin, visit kate-baldwin.com.

To close us out, Ms. Baldwin singing “How Are Things in Glocca Morra?” from Finian’s Rainbow:

Read previous Diva Friday columns >>

4 thoughts on “Diva Friday: Kate Baldwin

  1. She was BRILLIANT as Charlotte in ALNM; she caught everything that character should be, without overplaying either the bitch or the self-pity. I’d love to see her play Desirée some day.

    1. Good call, Kari! I’m sure she’ll transition beautifully from ingenue to leading lady. She has the heft and presence, it seems.

  2. Yay!! Diva Friday’s are back!!! Missed them. Missed you. She looks like a young Mary Ernster. I remember she also played Lizzie in “Baby” and Sharon in “Finian’s Rainbow” (winning a Jeff) at the Marriott.

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