Broadway star to Obama: Stand up for women’s health

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Kate Baldwin has put her acting chops to use both on Broadway and on stages around the country. 

Her starring role in the recent revival of Yip Harburg’s and Burton Lane’s hit classic musical, “Finian’s Rainbow,” earned her Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critic’s Circle Award nominations.  

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Baldwin’s Broadway appearances include “The Full Monty,” “Thoroughly Modern Millie” and “Wonderful Town.” She starred in “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas” (in San Francisco, Detroit and Toronto), “The Women” at The Old Globe, “Henry V” at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, “I Do, I Do” at Westport Country Playhouse, “She Loves Me” at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, Michael John LaChiusa’s new musical “Giant” at Dallas Theater Center and “South Pacific” at Arena Stage, earning her a Helen Hayes Award nomination, according to a Detroit Symphony Orchestra press release.

She returned to Arena Stage in “The Music Man.” Baldwin has performed in concert with the New York Pops, with the American Songbook series at Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center and at the legendary New York nightclubs Feinstein’s at Loews Regency and Birdland. 

Her concert work also includes several appearances with Stephen Sondheim as a featured performer in his critically acclaimed “A Conversation with Stephen Sondheim.” She has sung as part of the Chicago Humanities Festival, with the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C., the Portland Symphony Orchestra and the River Concert Series. On television, her work includes guest starring on NBC’s “Law & Order: SVU” and a featured role in the PBS filming of Stephen Sondheim’s “Passion.” Her film work includes “The Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best,” according to the Detroit Symphony Orchestra biography.

Baldwin’s debut album, “Let’s See What Happens,” is available at psclassics.com, as is her most recent recording, “She Loves Him,” which features the works of Sheldon Harnick and was recorded live at Feinstein’s in New York.

Baldwin resides in Brooklyn, N.Y., with her husband, actor Graham Rowat.

ROBIN BRONK: If you had five minutes in the Oval Office with President Obama, what would you discuss with him? What issue would you like him to know about?

Kate Baldwin: The attack on women’s health that is happening at the state level is dangerous and scary. Women who need safe, legal services should have access to them and not put their health and family’s well-being at risk.  

RB: If you could ask the president one question, what would that be?

KB:  Can you explain the surveillance programs enacted by the NSA, how they make us safer and how they are legal?

RB: What piece of advice would you give Obama as he settles into his second term in office?

KB: It is time to address the huge environmental problems we and our children face. Be bold! Keep pushing forward. 

RB: If you were going to send the president to one of your favorite places in the United States for one day, where would that be? Why?

KB: Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater. I’d want him to see how theater can inspire, teach and heal people. Arena Stage has a commitment to its community and the American public as a whole to bring us together. It is a uniting place. 

RB: What CD would you recommend that the president add to his collection? Why?

KB: “Eva Cassidy Live at Blues Alley.” Tracks like “Stormy Monday,” “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and “People Get Ready” are soulful reminders to keep going even though its difficult.  

RB: Would you ever consider a political career?

KB: Absolutely not. I could never play the game you’ve got to play to be successful. 

Robin Bronk is CEO of The Creative Coalition — the leading national, nonprofit, nonpartisan public advocacy organization of the entertainment industry. Bronk is a frequent speaker on the role of the entertainment industry in public advocacy campaigns and represents The Creative Coalition and its legislative agenda before members of Congress and the White House. She produced the feature film “Poliwood,” airing on Showtime, and edited the recently published book Art & Soul. Bronk pens this weekly column with assistance from Risa Kotek.