Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Song of Bernadette!
Bernadette Peters, Inside the Actors Studio
I hope this finds you having a marvelous day. Had trouble sleeping last night and got off to a great day. Watched The View with the delightful Bernadette Peters guesting and got the inspiration for my blog. Bernadette, of course, is currently starring in Follies on Broadway. I, for one, LOVE HER in this role! This is a limited run, Go see her if you can. Just the right combination of wanting to be there and not there. That's what makes Sally Durant lovable. She said this morning on The View that this was her 15th Broadway show. It is her sixth Sondheim musical if you count the concert version of Anyone Can Whistle.
I first became aware of Bernadette because of her frequent appearances on The Carol Burnett Show. The following is from Wikipedia, Google, and YouTube. No Copy write Infringement intended!
Bernadette Peters (born Bernadette Lazzara on February 28, 1948) is an American actress, singer and children's book author from Ozone Park, Queens, New York. Over the course of a career that has spanned five decades, she has starred in musical theatre, films and television, as well as performing in solo concerts and recordings. She is one of the most critically acclaimed Broadway performers, having received nominations for seven Tony Awards, winning two, and eight Drama Desk Awards, winning three. Four of the Broadway cast albums on which she has starred have won Grammy Awards.
I have only met Bernadette once. It was backstage after a concert she gave in Florida. She was incredibly gracious and generous with her time afterwords and very down to earth. YES, I AM A FAN!
In the 1980s, she returned to the theatre, where she became one of the best-known Broadway stars over the next three decades. She also has recorded six solo albums and several singles, as well as many cast albums, and performs regularly in her own solo concert act.
Peters also continues to act in films and on television, where she has been nominated for three Emmy Awards and three Golden Globe Awards, winning once.
Peters is particularly noted for her starring roles in stage musicals, including Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Woods, Song and Dance, Annie Get Your Gun, Gypsy, A Little Night Music and Follies, becoming closely associated with composer Stephen Sondheim. She had a four-year romantic relationship with comedian Steve Martin and was married to investment adviser Michael Wittenberg for over nine years until he was killed in a helicopter crash on September 26, 2005. Peters is known for her charitable work, including as a founder of the Broadway Barks animal charity.
Peters was born Bernadette Lazzara to an Italian-American family in Ozone Park, Queens, New York, the youngest of three children. Her siblings are casting director Donna DeSeta and Joseph Lazzara.
Her father Peter drove a bread delivery truck, and her mother, Marguerite (née Maltese),started her in show business by putting her on the television show Juvenile Jury at the age of three-and-a-half. She appeared on the television shows Name That Tune and several times on The Horn and Hardart Children's Hour at age five.
In January 1958, at age nine, she obtained her Actors Equity Card in the name of Bernadette Peters to avoid ethnic stereotyping, with the stage name taken from her father's first name.
She then appeared on NBC television as Anna Stieman in A Boy Called Ciske, a Kraft Mystery Theatre production, in May 1958, and in a vignette entitled "Miracle in the Orphanage", part of "The Christmas Tree", a Hallmark Hall of Fame production, in December 1958 with fellow child actor Richard Thomas and veteran actors Jessica Tandy and Margaret Hamilton.
She first appeared on the New York stage at age 10 as Tessie in the New York City Center revival of The Most Happy Fella (1959).
In her teen years, she attended the Quintano's School for Young Professionals, a now defunct private school that several famous people, such as Steven Tyler, attended.
At age 13, Peters appeared as one of the "Hollywood Blondes" and was an understudy for "Dainty June" in the second national tour of Gypsy.
During this tour, Peters first met her long-time accompanist, conductor and arranger Marvin Laird, who was the assistant conductor for the tour. Laird recalled, "I heard her sing an odd phrase or two and thought, 'God that's a big voice out of that little girl,'"
The next summer, she played Dainty June in summer stock, and in 1962 she recorded her first single. In 1964, she played Leisl in The Sound of Music and Jenny in Riverwind in summer stock at the Mt. Gretna Playhouse (Pennsylvania), and Riverwind again at the Bucks County Playhouse in 1966.
Upon graduation from high school, she started working steadily, appearing Off-Broadway in the musicals The Penny Friend (1966) and Curly McDimple (1967)
It was Peters' performance as "Ruby" in the 1968 Off-Broadway production of Dames at Sea, a parody of 1930s musicals, that brought her critical acclaim and her first Drama Desk Award.
She had appeared in an earlier 1966 version of Dames at Sea at the Off-Off-Broadway performance club Caffe Cino.
Peters had starring roles in her next Broadway vehicles—Gelsomina in La Strada (1969) and Hildy in On the Town (1971), for which she received her first Tony Award nomination.
She played Mabel Normand in Mack and Mabel (1974), receiving another Tony nomination. Clive Barnes wrote: "With the splashy Mack & Mabel ... diminutive and contralto Bernadette Peters found herself as a major Broadway star."
Although these had short runs, Peters was singled out for praise by the critics,
and the Mack and Mabel cast album became popular among musical theatre fans.
She moved to Los Angeles in the early 1970s to concentrate on television and film work.
Peters has appeared in 32 feature films or television movies beginning in 1973, including Mel Brooks' 1976 film Silent Movie (for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award), the musical Annie (1982), Pink Cadillac (1989), in which she co-starred with Clint Eastwood, and Woody Allen's Alice (1990).
Peters starred opposite Steve Martin in The Jerk (1979), in a role that he wrote for her, and Pennies From Heaven (1981), for which she won the Golden Globe Award as Best Motion Picture Actress in a Comedy or Musical.
In Pennies from Heaven, she played Eileen Everson, a schoolteacher turned prostitute. Of her performance in Pennies From Heaven, John DiLeo wrote that she "is not only poignant as you'd expect but has a surprising inner strength." Pauline Kael wrote in The New Yorker: "Peters is mysteriously right in every nuance." Kael further noted that "The dance numbers are funny, amazing, and beautiful all at once; several of them are just about perfection."
A review of the DVD reissue noted, "Peters brought a cocky attitude and a sexy exuberance to the musical numbers."
Bernadette Peters was Honored at The Westport Playhouse on September 19th.
The last time Bernadette Peters was in a show at the Westport Country Playhouse, it was 1967 for a summer stock production of "Riverwind."Remember that show? Neither do I. But since then the gal has done well for herself!
Peters and Martin had begun a romantic relationship in 1977 that lasted approximately four years.
By 1981, her popularity had led to Peters appearing on the cover and in a spread in the December 1981 issue of Playboy Magazine, in which she posed in lingerie designed by Bob Mackie.
Peters appeared with three generations of the Kirk Douglas family in the 2003 film It Runs in the Family, in which she played the wife of Michael Douglas's character.
In May 2006, she appeared in the movie Come le formiche (Wine and Kisses) with F. Murray Abraham, filmed in Italy, playing a rich American who becomes involved with an Italian family that owns a vineyard.
The DVD was released in 2007 in Italy.
She starred in a film titled Coming Up Roses, playing a former musical-comedy actress with two daughters.
The movie, produced by Bullet Pictures, Inc. and directed by Lisa Albright was filmed in March 2010.
In 1982, Peters returned to the New York stage after an eight year absence in one of her few non-musical stage appearances, the off-Broadway Manhattan Theatre Club production of the comedy-drama Sally and Marsha, for which she was nominated for a Drama Desk Award. She then returned to Broadway as Dot/Marie in the Stephen Sondheim–James Lapine musical Sunday in the Park with George (1984), for which she received her third Tony Award nomination. The New York Times reviewer Frank Rich called her performance "radiant".
She recorded the role for PBS in 1986, winning a 1987 ACE Award.
Her next role was Andrew Lloyd Webber's Song and Dance (1985), winning her first Tony for Best Leading Actress in a Musical for her performance in the role of Emma. Theater critic Frank Rich wrote in an otherwise negative review of the show that Peters "has no peer in the musical theater right now."
She then created the role of the Witch in Sondheim-Lapine's Into the Woods (1987). Peters is "considered by many to be the premier interpreter of [Sondheim's] work," according to writer Alex Witchel.
Raymond Knapp wrote that Peters "achieved her definitive stardom" in Sunday in the Park With George and Into the Woods.
Sondheim has said of Peters, "Like very few others, she sings and acts at the same time," he says. "Most performers act and then sing, act and then sing ... Bernadette is flawless as far as I'm concerned. I can't think of anything negative."
Peters continued her association with Sondheim with a 1995 benefit concert of Anyone Can Whistle. Additionally, she appeared in several concerts featuring Sondheim's work, and performed for him at his 1993 Kennedy Center Honors ceremony.
She next starred in the musical adaptation of Neil Simon's The Goodbye Girl with music by Marvin Hamlisch (1993).
Peters won her second Tony for her performance as Annie Oakley in the 1999 revival of Annie Get Your Gun opposite Tom Wopat.
Among many glowing notices for this role, critic Lloyd Rose of the Washington Post commented: "[Peters] banishes all thoughts of Ethel Merman about two bars into her first number, 'Doin' What Comes Natur'lly.'
Partly this is because Merman's Annie was a hearty, boisterous gal, while Peters plays an adorable, slightly goofy gamine... For anyone who cares about the American musical theater, the chance to see Peters in this role is reason enough to see the show."
Playbill went even further: "Arguably the most talented comedienne in the musical theatre today, Peters manages to extract a laugh from most every line she delivers."
In 2003, Peters took on the role of Mama Rose in the Broadway revival of Gypsy, earning another Tony nomination.
Ben Brantley in his New York Times review wrote, "Working against type and expectation under the direction of Sam Mendes, Ms. Peters has created the most complex and compelling portrait of her long career, and she has done this in ways that deviate radically from the Merman blueprint."
Arthur Laurents said: "But in 2003 there was a new Rose on Broadway: Bernadette Peters!
Brilliant, original, totally unlike any of the others."
In February 2006, she participated in a reading of the Sondheim-Weidman musical Bounce.
On September 24, 2007, Peters participated in a one-time only charity reading of the play Love Letters with her former Gypsy co-star, John Dossett.
After an absence from the Broadway stage of six years (Gypsy closed in 2004), she starred in the Broadway revival of Sondheim's A Little Night Music, as Desiree Armfeldt from July 13, 2010 to January 9, 2011.
She replaced Catherine Zeta-Jones in the role.
The New York Times reviewer wrote of her performance, "for theater lovers there can be no greater current pleasure than to witness Bernadette Peters perform the show’s signature number, "Send In the Clowns," with an emotional transparency and musical delicacy that turns this celebrated song into an occasion of transporting artistry.
I’m not sure I’ve ever experienced with such palpable force – or such prominent goose bumps – the sense of being present at an indelible moment in the history of musical theater."
Peters appeared in the role of Sally Durant Plummer in the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts production of the Sondheim musical, Follies in May and June 2011.
Of her performance, one critic wrote: "Peters may not be the most traditional casting for Sally, now an ultraneurotic housewife in Phoenix, but she exquisitely captures the character's unfathomable sadness and longing.
It's a star turn, for sure, but one that brings attention to itself because of its truthfulness.
Not surprisingly, her rendition of 'Losing My Mind' is simply shattering."
She is reprising her role of Sally in the Broadway limited engagement of Follies, which started in previews on August 7, 2011 at the Marquis Theatre.
Peters has been nominated for the Tony Award seven times, and won twice.
She has also been nominated for the Drama Desk Award eight times and won three times (Annie Get Your Gun, Song and Dance, and Dames at Sea).
Peters was nominated for Emmy Awards for her guest-starring roles on The Muppet Show (1977) and Ally McBeal (2001).
On The Muppet Show, Peters sang the song "Just One Person" to Robin the Frog.
She was one of the Muppets' guests when they hosted The Tonight Show in 1979, again singing "Just One Person" to Robin, and she appeared in other episodes with the Muppets.
Peters was also nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award, Outstanding Performer in a Children's Special, for her work in the 2002 made-for-television movie Bobbie's Girl.
She won the 1987 "CableACE Award" for her role as Dot in the television version of Sunday in the Park With George.She has appeared in many variety shows with stars such as Sonny and Cher and George Burns.
She has both performed and presented on the Academy Awards broadcasts in 1976, 1981, 1983, 1987 and 1994.
Peters has been a presenter at the annual Tony Awards ceremony and co-hosted the ceremony with Gregory Hines in June 2002.
She also hosted Saturday Night Live in November 1981.
She made 12 guest appearances on The Carol Burnett Show as well as appearing with Burnett in the made-for-television version of Once Upon a Mattress and the 1982 film Annie. She also performed at the Kennedy Center Honors ceremony for Burnett in 2003.
Peters often appeared on the Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and on the day-time talk show Live with Regis and Kelly, both as a co-host and a guest.
Peters voiced Rita the stray cat in the "Rita and Runt" segments of the animated series Animaniacs. Peters, as Rita, sang both original songs written for the show and parodies of Broadway musical numbers.
She appeared on Inside the Actor's Studio in November 2000, discussing her career and craft.
Peters has co-starred in a number of television movies, including The Last Best Year (1990) with Mary Tyler Moore, Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella (1997) with Brandy (receiving a nomination for the "Golden Satellite Award" for her role), and Prince Charming (2003) with Martin Short.
She co-starred in her own television series, All's Fair, with Richard Crenna in 1976–77, for which Peters was nominated for a Golden Globe award as Best TV Actress — Musical/Comedy.
She played the role of Barbara, an art teacher with breast cancer, who is initially reluctant to participate in the study for the cancer drug Herceptin.
(Pictured here with Glen Charlow)
Andrew Gans of Playbill wrote, "Peters is able to choose from an expansive emotional palette to color the character, and her performance... is moving, humorous and ultimately spirit-raising".
Peters' television work in recent years also includes guest appearances on several television series.
Peters' appearance at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival in June 2009 was filmed and broadcast in Australia later that month.
Peters has recorded six solo albums and several singles.
Three of her albums have been nominated for the Grammy Award.
Peters' 1980 single "Gee Whiz" reached the top forty on the U.S. pop singles charts.
She has recorded most of the Broadway and off-Broadway musicals she has appeared in, and four of these cast albums have won Grammy Awards.
The original cover painting by Alberto Vargas, pictured here, was one of his last works, created at the age of 84.
According to The New York Daily News, Peters "persuaded him to do one last 'Vargas Girls' portrait... She just went to his California retreat, asked him to do one more, he looked at her and said, 'You ARE a Vargas girl!'" She kept the original painting.
The original title planned for the album was Decades.
Rolling Stone wrote of her debut album:
“ Peters debuts on record as a first-rate pop torch singer: Melissa Manchester with soul, Bette Midler on pitch.
Her album has already spawned the hit single "Gee Whiz," a laid-back, doo-wop version... that makes Peters' piping, little-girl voice seem almost like a cutesy novelty. There are also a couple of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil rock tunes in which she sounds slightly trashy and out of her depth.
The Peter Allen songs on side two are really more her style.
In fact, the whole second half of Bernadette Peters is just about perfect, from the star's semi-C&W rendition of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller's "Pearl's a Singer" to a wistful recap of Harry Warren and Mark Gordon's romantic "You'll Never Know."
But the best cuts are in between. "Other Lady," written by Lesley Gore with Ellen Weston, tackles an age-old problem with... devastating eloquence... and Peters delivers it with the proper brooding introspection. Allen's compositions, "Only Wounded" (co-written with Carole Bayer Sager) and the torchy "I Never Thought I'd Break" (co-written with Dean Pitchford), feature the finest singing on the LP...the unusual absence of airbrushing echo places heavy demands on the chanteuse's sultry soprano. That Bernadette Peters rises to the occasion makes her performance that much more impressive.
Please do what YOU can to be more aware that words and actions DO HURT...but they can also heal and help!
Thank you, Bernadette! I love you!!
Here's to an INCREDIBLE tomorrow for ALL...with NO challenges!
Now, GO OUT AND DO SOMETHING FOR SOMEONE ELSE TONIGHT!
Become A Facebook friend of mine!
Follow me on Twitter
If you've seen one of my appearances/shows, add your thoughts to my guestbook at www.RichardSkipper.com
Tomorrow's blog will be about...YOU TELL ME!!! I'm also seeking a video question for tomorrow!
Please contribute to the DR. CAROL CHANNING & HARRY KULLIJIAN FOUNDATION FOR THE ARTS
TILL TOMORROW...HERE'S TO AN ARTS FILLED WEEK!
Richard Skipper, Richard@RichardSkipper.com