Kerry Butler's 'Faith, Trust and Pixie Dust' Set For May Release
Golden-voiced Kerry Butler - currently doing double-duty as the star of Broadway's smash hit XANADU and as Lindsay Price's backstabbing assistant Reese on the NBC series "Lipstick Jungle" - has signed with record label PS Classics for her debut solo album entitled "Faith, Trust & Pixie Dust."
Under the supervision of music director and album producer Michael Kosarin, with new orchestrations by Broadway's best, including Tony Award-winner Michael Starobin (Assassins, Spelling Bee) and Larry Hochman (Monty Python's Spamalot), recording commences Friday, February 29th, in a Manhattan studio. The label has set a release date of May 13th, 2008.
In mid-January, Butler invited fans to help her pick one song for her upcoming album by sending in suggestions to her website. She noted at the time, "I am so excited about this project and wanted to do something unique - which was to throw it back to the people who have made suggestions in the past. So I decided I would leave one slot open after I chose the tracks that I just had to sing - and then let the listeners decide what that final song should be." The winning track, "God Help the Outcasts" (from the animated film Hunchback of Notre Dame) was suggested by Brandon Purves, who will receive an invitation to the studio when the song is recorded, and an autographed copy of the final CD. (The song was suggested by several people; Purves' submission was the first.) Unexpectedly, the several hundred submissions that Butler received ultimately led her to re-imagine the album. "I had originally envisioned doing an album of Disney songs," Butler reveals, "because I admit I have a crazy obsession with all things Disney. But when I first met with Tommy and Philip [of PS Classics], we knew we wanted to do an album that really spoke from the heart, and couldn't figure out how to keep the Disney idea 'small,' so we went in a different direction. But of the hundreds of submissions, dozens were Disney titles, and it got me thinking again: was there a way to do an album of Disney songs but keep it intimate? And this time, I found my way in. So I have the fans to thank not only for the submissions, but for helping me find my way back to my initial impulse!"
Tommy Krasker, co-founder of PS Classics, continues, "She and Michael Kosarin dove into the Disney repertoire one more time, determined to keep it personal and intimate. I admit Philip and I were skeptical until we heard their first demos, and they were extraordinary. They found a way 'in' to the material that really got to its emotional core, and fashioned the kind of deeply personal album Kerry was determined to create."
"I've wanted to do an album for a long time," Butler admits, "and with the success of XANADU, the timing seemed right. Recording the XANADU recording for PS Classics was such a joyous experience, we decided to continue our relationship on my solo album. I knew I wanted to keep the album personal and intimate, and in thinking of songs that made me smile, or had a theme of hope or optimism that I felt was so important, I kept coming back to songs that were Disney-related. I love so many of the Disney themes - when I'm sad or stressed, I know I need a dose of Disney! The challenge for me was to see if I could rediscover the Disney catalog in a very personal way, because for me, Disney World isn't about the rides, it's about the message."
Butler and music director Kosarin spent months exploring the Disney catalog, sifting through seventy years of material - from wartime standards to newer pop songs - making sure the material remained provocative, unexpected and eclectic even as the "message" stayed on track. The songs chosen for the first recording date - which include the classic "Baby Mine," the Jonatha Brooke pop hit "I'll Try" (from Return to Neverland), and "This Only Happens in the Movies", a song cut from a proposed sequel to Roger Rabbit and receiving its first recording here - are an exciting mix, but all reveal an intimate, acoustic sensibility tied to Butler's approach and philosophy. "I sing 'Baby Mine' to my daughter whenever I put her to sleep, so it's a song that's close to my heart. I'm thinking about bringing her to the recording session with me for inspiration! We're keeping it very small and acoustic, and getting to the heart of the lyric. I've known that song for so long - whereas "This Only Happens in the Movies" was totally unknown to me, but I responded to it right away. And the chance to premiere a song by Alan Menken, for whom I've done Beauty and the Beast and Little Shop of Horrors, was too exciting to pass up!"
"Right now, 'I'll Try' may be my favorite song on the album," Butler concedes. "We even took the album title - FAITH, TRUST & PIXIE DUST - from a lyric in the song. Like a few other tracks on the album, 'I'll Try' is about losing faith, which I think is something everyone can relate to. I have always wanted to be childlike - which is different than childish. A child believes in magic. Anything can happen, they aren't jaded yet. To believe in good, even when you see evil in the world, is something I struggle with. That's what I love about 'I'll Try.' It recognizes that it's hard to have faith, and all you can do is make a choice to try."
Kerry Butler received rave reviews for her current leading role in the hit Broadway musical Xanadu. Charles Isherwood in The New York Times said"Kerry Butler, as the Greek demi-goddess Clio, who also roams Venice Beach as the Australian mortal Kira, is simply heaven on eight little polyurethane wheels." Publications such as Vanity Fair, Variety, Newsday, New York Daily News, NY magazine, Entertainment Weekly, Time Out NY, Newark Star Ledger, Associated Press, New York 1 and others singled out her performance for being fresh, exciting and a "flowing vision on rollerskates." She is also currently doing double duty, appearing as Lindsay Price's backstabbing assistant Reese on the NBC series "Lipstick Jungle." which stars Brooke Shields and Kim Raver. Kerry made her Broadway debut as Belle in Beauty in the Beast. She followed that with Blood Brothers, Les Miserables and Little Shop of Horrors, for which she received an Outer Critics Circle nomination. Most notably she received rave reviews as Penny Pingleton in Hairspray, which garnered her with the prestigious Clarence Derwent Award, as well as Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle nominations.
Founded in 2000 by Tommy Krasker & Philip Chaffin, and a four-time Grammy nominee (for its cast albums of Assassins, Nine: The Musical, Grey Gardens and Company), PS Classics has been profiled in publications such as The New York Times and Variety for its diverse line of solo albums and cast recordings, and its commitment to the past, present and future of the Great American Songbook. Its solo albums range from jazz (Jessica Molaskey: Sitting in Limbo) to folk (Rebecca Luker: Leaving Home), from pop (Jane Olivor: Safe Return) to show music (Christine Andreas: Here's to the Ladies). Its acclaimed cast albums include the current Broadway production of Xanadu, as well as the London revival of Sunday in the Park With George, which recently opened in New York to huge acclaim. PS Classics is distributed exclusively by Image Entertainment. For more information, visit www.psclassics.com.