PLAYBILL PLAYLIST: Wicked Actress and Texas Native Katie Rose Clarke Picks Songs That Go "Back to Her Roots"

By Michael Gioia
November 13, 2013

Katie Rose Clarke, who was recently seen as Glinda in Broadway's Wicked, premieres her new solo concert, Back On the Ground, Nov. 13 at 54 Below. In celebration of her solo concert, the Texas native goes "Back to Her Roots" as part of this week's Playbill Playlist



Here's how her 9:30 PM concert is billed: "After sailing in a bubble on Broadway and all across the country, Katie Rose Clarke is finally putting her feet back on the ground. Katie comes to 54 Below straight after starring on Broadway as Glinda in Wicked. Her Broadway debut came at a young age, playing Clara in Light In The Piazza and since then she has gone on to develop her own voice, style and poise. Now it's time to go back to her roots, let her hair down and sing the songs that inspired this young Texan beauty. She is hanging up her musical theater hat for the night to sing some rock and roll, acoustic pop, folk classics and original pieces."

The singer-actress, who explores folk, country, bluegrass and original pieces in her 54 Below concert, picks songs from her childhood that have inspired her sound and tells us why they made the list. 

Clarke has also been seen on Broadway as Clara Johnson in The Light in the Piazza.

Read the recent Playbill.com interview with Clarke and her former co-stars, Lindsay Mendez and Derek Klena, about starring in Wicked.

54 Below is located at 254 W. 54th Street. For more information and tickets, visit 54Below.com.

"Little Lion Man" (Mumford and Sons). I was late to the party with Mumford. I didn't start listening to them until earlier this year, but that doesn't mean my affection for this band is any less. Their music just hits your heartstrings.

"Papa Come Quick" (Bonnie Raitt). I grew up listening to Bonnie Raitt. I think that the very first time I heard the slide of her guitar I was a fan. I couldn't have been much older than seven or so. I will never be as cool as her. Picking one song will be hard, but the "Luck of the Draw" album is a special one. Any time she wails a bluesy riff on her guitar, I get excited. "Papa Come Quick" is a good one for that. And her version of "Love Me Like a Man" is perfect. She's just so cool.

"Souls Like the Wheels" (The Avett Brothers). I could listen to anything by the Avett Brothers on repeat. "Souls Like the Wheels" from "The Gleam" album — their lyrics are pretty perfect, and the guitar playing in this song is beautiful.

"Downpour" (Brandi Carlile). I really like Brandi Carlile. I'm not super familiar with all of her work, but I think "Downpour" is just so beautiful. I sang it in a concert I did in my hometown and almost added it to my set for 54 Below. I connected with this song differently at that point in my life than I do now, so I decided not to perform it. But it's still a favorite.

"Oh Atlanta" (Alison Krauss + Union Station). I will always love the "Alison Krauss + Union Station LIVE" album, and when they do "Oh Atlanta," you can't help but smile. I first heard that song from her "Now That I've Found You" album when I was about 10 or 11 years old. Between my sister and me that album got a lot of playtime. The Clarke sisters sang a lot of Alison Krauss together.

"Teach Your Children" (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young). I grew up singing with my dad and his brother and cousins. We'd just all get together; they'd each have guitars, and we'd sing all kinds of music that people my age should know but usually don't. I learned how to hear harmony by the time I was six. There were too many people singing that you had to just pick a harmony and stay on it. I thought that all families sat around and sang four-part harmony when they got together. This actually isn't normal as it turns out, but I wouldn't trade growing up that way for anything.

"The Sound of Silence" (Simon & Garfunkel). This was another go-to for family sing-along time, as well as "Scarborough Fair," which is another beautiful one of theirs. Dad always took Art Garfunkel's super-high harmony! I'll never get Dad's voice out of my head when thinking of these songs — which is an awesome thing.

"Sweet Baby James" (James Taylor). We sang so much James Taylor and saw him in concert when I was probably about 12. It was so fun when putting my 54 concert together and really thinking through what is truly my favorite music. I realized that I was so shaped by the music of my parent's generation. Good music is timeless, and that's all there is to it.

"The Water is Wide" (Karla Bonoff). This woman was an amazing songwriter. My sister and I also used to sing "Goodbye My Friend."

"Diva" (Beyoncé). I have to round this playlist out with pretty much anything by Beyoncé. I know, I know… You did NOT see that coming. It's not in the southern/folk/country genre, but she's from Houston, so she's making the cut. I LOVE her. And, I feel like when people say they don't love her, they're lying. Oh yeah, I can only pick one song… Okay: "Diva." Beyoncé is like girl power embodied. I want to be as confident and sexy as her!