Philip Chaffin Will Debut Solo Show Based on 2018 Recording Will He Like Me? | Playbill

Cabaret & Concert News Philip Chaffin Will Debut Solo Show Based on 2018 Recording Will He Like Me?

Chaffin will be accompanied by pianist (and husband and fellow PS Classics co-founder) Tommy Krasker for the gay love story.

Philip Chaffin

PS Classics co-founders (and husbands) Philip Chaffin and Tommy Krasker will share the stage June 26 for the debut of Chaffin‘s new solo show, Will He Like Me?, at Coachella Valley Repertory in Palm Springs.

Drawn and expanded from Chaffin's 2018 Bistro Award-winning album of the same name, the 80-minute, one-act show consists of 29 classics of the Great American Songbook, songs originally performed by women and now reimagined for the marriage equality era.

Krasker, whose first New York job was rehearsal pianist on the original production of Nine, will accompany Chaffin at the piano.

Will He Like Me? charts a gay man navigating a series of relationships, from first date to final farewell through song. Chaffin’s 2018 album—which included “When I Marry Mister Snow,” “Happiness Is a Thing Called Joe,” “An Occasional Man,” and "Man With a Load of Mischief"—has been augmented with 12 additional theatre songs.

Chaffin says in a statement, “We always hoped that the album would become a stage show, but it called for a whole lot of rethinking. On the album, the storyline was left to the listener’s imagination. Here we see the man go through five distinct relationships—each with a beginning, middle, and end—and that took us years to figure out, because we wanted to stick to songs that men wouldn’t or even couldn’t sing just a decade or two ago. The new songs include even more classic songwriters: Cole Porter and Frank Loesser and Jerry Herman and Burton Lane—plus two John Bucchino songs I’ve always loved, that were introduced by Liz Callaway and Andréa Burns on albums we ourselves released.

"It’s funny: in 2018, the album felt like a celebration of new freedoms," he continues. "Now, when LGBTQ rights seem in danger again, the show gets me very emotional. Getting onstage and telling a gay man’s love story through classic theatre songs—and doing it during Pride Month—is very moving. I was actually rehearsing ‘Lovely, Lonely Man’ last week when we heard that Richard Sherman had died. I thought that never in a million years—when I was growing up in Louisiana—did I imagine that someday I’d be singing that on a stage, and not have to change ‘man’ to ‘girl’ or something like that. I think Palm Springs is the perfect place to premiere the show—and I’m so thrilled that Coachella Valley Rep invited me to do it. It feels liberating—and important at this time—to sing these songs honestly.”

Chaffin and Krasker plan to have the new songs orchestrated later this summer, then head into the studio, record them, and add them to the original album, so that the new stage version is available on disc. They also hope to perform the show—a hybrid of a musical and a concert—at cabaret spaces and stages across the country.

The show is part of Coachella Valley Repertory’s Summer Cabaret Series, which also includes Melissa Errico, Faith Prince, and Ken Page.


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