Milwaukeean Kate Baldwin Nominated for a Tony Award
That ethic has made
Baldwin a hot property on New York
stages, culminating with her Tony nomination for Best Actress in a Musical for Finian’s Rainbow. She’ll find out Sunday
night if she gets to walk up onstage at Radio City Music Hall. But either way, her career
continues to reach greater heights. She’s already been in London for more than a month with her new
show, Paradise Found.
Baldwin moved with her
parents and younger brother from Evanston,
Ill., to Shorewood when she was 7
years old. Her experiences with Shorewood High’s theater remain as vivid as
ever and were the starting point for what has become a very successful career.
“I wanted to be in Our Town [as a freshman], but I was too
young and inexperienced,” she recalls. “I did get to sing in Grease as a girl in the chorus. I had to
start at the beginning and prove myself.”
It wasn’t long before Baldwin was earning lead roles. By her sophomore year,
she was playing Eliza Doolittle in My
Fair Lady. As a junior, she portrayed Cinderella in Into the Woods, based on the successful Broadway musical. By her
senior year, Gensler chose a show because of the abilities of Baldwin
and a fellow student, as Shorewood become one of the first secondary schools to
“It’s still funny to
think about playing one of the dictators of Argentina at 17 years old,” she
says. “We did it because we didn’t know we couldn’t do it. It was a thrill and
a great source of pride.”
Baldwin already had
experience with Finian’s Rainbow
before she even arrived in Manhattan.
After graduating from Northwestern University’s theater program in 1997, she ended up
doing a number of shows at the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire, Ill.,
including that story about a pot o’ gold.
“I have plenty of
practice,” she says about Finian’s
A producer happened to
see her and was already thinking about a revival. “Finian’s Rainbow is the reason why I moved to New
York,” Baldwin says. “It’s the
gift that keeps on giving.”
Baldwin and her husband
of almost five years, fellow actor Graham Rowat, currently make their home on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.
They met during a production of 1776
in Washington, D.C., and have toured together in White Christmas (as the Bob/Betty
couple). While she’s in London, he’ll prepare
for work in Provincetown, Mass. And later this summer she’s off to do I Do! I Do! in Connecticut.
Such is the life of the
actor. But, as Baldwin is finding out, a
nomination by one’s peers comes with its perks, some unexpected. “The great
part of all this is hearing from people who I haven’t heard from in years,” she
says. “I’d really like to come back to Milwaukee
and do a show.”
And perhaps she will.
For Kate Baldwin, anything can happen—and usually does.
The 64th annual Tony Awardswill be broadcast live at 7 p.m. June 13 on CBS.