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the world according to . . .

KATE BALDWIN AVENUE back-page column asks New York notables our AVENUE’s version of the questionnaire made famous by Marcel Proust

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ne of the season’s most talked-about Broadway musicals, Big Fish, is a standout show for its collaboration of Tony-winning talent, its director and choreographer, leading male actor and costume designer. But audience members also point to a hidden gem in the theatrical equation: leading lady and Broadway veteran Kate Baldwin, who practically steals the show each night. Beyond her impressive résumé, which includes The Full Monty, Thoroughly Modern Millie and Wonderful Town, Baldwin possesses more than average vocal chops: She’s been a soloist with the New York Pops and has appeared at Feinstein’s and in Lincoln Center’s prestigious “Songbook Series.” Here, she reveals her Midwestern roots, behind-the-curtain secrets and ways in which she spends her free time when she’s not under bright stage lights, wearing many, many wigs. Big Fish at Neil Simon Theatre, though Dec. 29.

WHEN DID YOU FIRST FEEL LIKE A NEW YORKER? When I haggled the price of a gypsy cab ride down to half of what the driver first quoted me. I left that sweet Midwestern girl act behind. WHAT’S YOUR EARLIEST NEW YORK CITY MEMORY? A Fourth of July party on my friend’s roof. We watched the fireworks light up the sky, and I fell hard for New York City. WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE NEW YORK DISCOVERIES? Food trucks, the Public Theater, a boutique in the West Village called Darling, Fleisher’s meats, Goorin Bros. hats, but most of all my friend and stylist George Brescia. WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE WATERING HOLES? Bar Centrale. Dig Inn for lunch, Bar Americain for dinner and City Winery for a night out. For true comfort, I go to Otto in Greenwich Village. It has the right balance of easy, inviting setting and simple yet lovely food. The wine is good too. LAST BROADWAY SHOW YOU SAW? Vanya and Sonya and Masha and Spike. I laughed until I couldn’t breathe. 104 | AVENUE MAGAZINE • DECEMBER 2013

WHICH NEW YORKER DO YOU MOST ADMIRE? Phyllis Newman. She’s smart, charismatic, funny, philanthropic and has done so much for other actors, especially with her Women’s Health Initiative. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE NEW YORK CLICHÉ? LEAST FAVORITE? I truly believe that the city never sleeps, and I love that. It is completely untrue that New Yorkers are rude. They are kind, but pressed for time. IF YOUR APARTMENT WERE ON FIRE, WHICH ONE OBJECT WOULD YOU RESCUE? My Chanel bag because it is the fanciest thing I own and represents a time in my life I never want to forget. WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART OF BEING A BROADWAY STAR? Talking to young people at the stage door. They are full of hope and never miss a beat. Tonight, one told me which of my eyes shed more tears. They see it all. ANY BEHINDTHE-CURTAINS SECRETS YOU CAN SHARE? I wear five different wigs in the show. FIVE. That’s a lot of hair.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE ASPECT OF THE THEATER DISTRICT? I like that every waiter knows how to get his or her dining party to a show on time. I also love the camaraderie of the gals who keep their lashes on between shows on a Wednesday or Saturday when they go out to grab dinner. Wig hair-plus-lashes equals “showgirl.” WHAT’S YOUR ALL-TIME FAVORITE SHOW AND ACTORS? I absolutely love Sunday in the Park with George. I’ll see Cherry Jones, Mark Rylance, Bernadette Peters or Michael Cerveris in anything. WHAT’S YOUR MOST MEMORABLE NEW YORK MOMENT? I had been living in New York for six years when I became engaged to my husband. I went to the Diamond District to get my engagement ring resized, and in the elevator, a diamond dealer asked me where I was from. Proudly, I told him that I lived here. He reminded me that that didn’t mean I was from New York. And privately I thought, “Yeah, but I chose this place. And it made room for me.” WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP? An apprentice to the world’s best chefs. ✦ —As told to Charlotte Ross

Profile for AVENUE Magazine

AVENUE December 2013  

Founded in 1976, AVENUE is a must-read among the city’s most discerning, stylish and savvy audiences. As Manhattan’s oldest society magazine...

AVENUE December 2013  

Founded in 1976, AVENUE is a must-read among the city’s most discerning, stylish and savvy audiences. As Manhattan’s oldest society magazine...