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Show-tune kings: with cast albums ranging from Nine to the gay off-Broadway smash Zanna, Don't! life and business partners Tommy Krasker and Philip Chaffin make their PS Classics label a labor of love.

For music producer Tommy Krasker and actor-singer Philip Chaffin, Broadway has gone to the dogs--specifically, to their pets Please, an Australian cattle dog, and Sumner, a bull terrier, for whom Krasker and Chaffin named their successful indie label PS Classics. In much the same way they rescued their canine pals from the Pasadena, Calif., dog pound, the couple are on a joint mission of love to save select vintage musicals.

"We know we're not doing Top 40," says bookish and bespectacled Krasker, 44, who produced, among others, the Broadway cast recording of Titanic and the cast album for the early Stephen Sondheim rarity Saturday Night. "But we know we're doing music that lasts," he adds.

That enduring music includes such PS Classics releases as Vincent Youmans's unrecorded 1932 musical, Through the Years, to new, often queer-friendly material, including the original cast recordings of Zanna, Don't! (starring Queer Eye for the Straight Guy minister of culture Jai Rodriguez) and My Life With Albertine (music and lyrics by Ricky Ian Gordon). The label's repertoire also includes solo recordings by out musicians Darius de Haas, Chaffin, and others.

When Krasker, a New Hampshire native, was working as an archivist of a series of restored Gershwin musicals in the late '80s, he was sent to California to check out a production of one of iris projects, Strike Up the Band, by a Pasadena troupe. "Philip had a solo in act 2. I didn't know him, but I made a note that he had this gorgeous tenor voice," Krasker continues. "And that he was awfully cute."

Five years later, after Krasker had moved from New York City to Los Angeles, the pair struck up a partnership. "It was a setup," explains Chaffin, 39, an old-school-handsome gent from Baton Rouge, La. "I saw Tommy's name in a program at the Hollywood Bowl and sent him a head shot. Then a mutual friend played Cupid." The couple celebrated their 10-year anniversary earlier this year.

In the three years since inaugurating PS Classics with the release of Chaffin's Where Do I Go From You? the pair have issued over a dozen discs and racked up respectable sales. Their biggest hit is a new recording of Nine, starring Antonio Banderas and Chita Rivera. "We've shipped about 35,000," notes a beaming Krasker. No small that for a business run out of the couple's three-story Bronxville, N.Y., home, where they have lived since 1997.

Though this up-close-and-personal situation might drive some folks batty, both Krasker and Chaffin insist that balancing their work and their relationship has never been a problem for them. "We have so much fun," Krasker says, "bouncing ideas off each other about the records we're working on--"

"And getting the second opinion that we both need," adds Chaffin.

"But," says Krasker, "there are times when we have to force ourselves to shut down and let the business stuff go. We could easily stay up every night talking strategy, so we really do have to know our own limitations."
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Author:Beghtol, L.D.
Publication:The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Article Type:Interview
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 9, 2003
Words:502
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