Kerry Butler Kerry Butler

Any way you slice it, today is a big day for Kerry Butler. By the time you read this, she should already know that she's been nominated for her overdue first Tony, for her starmaking turn in the stage adaptation of the ‘80s bomb Xanadu. (If she doesn't get the nod, then there is simply no justice in the world.) But, perhaps to ward off the jitters, the onetime Belle in Beauty and the Beast prefers to focus on the fact that May 13 also marks the release of Faith, Trust & Pixie Dust, her album of Disney cover songs. "It's hard not to get caught up in [Tony fever]," she admits to "But I don't think I'll even watch the nominations.

"Back when there was a lot of talk that I'd get one for Hairspray, I watched them, and right after I found out I didn't get it, I had to go to a rehearsal and wound up fighting back tears the whole time," she continues. "Even recently, I found myself getting stressed out during Xanadu because I'd been singled out in the [initial] reviews, and now all those critics and Tony voters were coming back to see it again. I even started forgetting my lines. Talk about scary! So now I'm just trying to focus on my muse calling in the show, which is to ‘remind mankind that there is something greater than wealth or fame, and that is the human experience rendered comprehensible through art.'"

Certainly, Butler has accomplished her mission with Pixie Dust. That the CD is beautiful is no surprise – her voice is, as ever, as warm as a sweetheart's embrace. But what's really remarkable is that the self-proclaimed Disney freak was able to tackle classics such as "When You Wish Upon a Star" from Pinocchio and "Baby Mine" from Dumbo with so little trepidation. "I wasn't scared at all," she insists, "and I'm a pin trader! I'm hardcore! It's just, I wasn't doing this album to show off, I was doing it to share something of myself. Music is such a big influence on my life — it helps me think, it can cheer me up, it can inspire me. And Disney songs especially move me, and not because of the flash, but because of the heart.

"So that's all this is," she concludes. "I wanted to share my love of Disney songs and put my own stamp on them."