FLASH SPECIAL: A Bernadette Peters Celebration! From DAMES AT SEA To Dot To Desiree To DOROTHY OF OZ
Today, as a correlative column to BroadwayWorld's InDepth InterView with the one and only two-time Tony Award-winning Broadway legend Bernadette Peters, we are taking a look back at the top moments from an unparalleled career on Broadway while also casting a glance to her most celebrated Hollywood films as we look ahead to her new feature, COMING UP ROSES, opening this weekend in NYC. From her cute-as-a-button debut in DAMES AT SEA to her passionate portrayal of silent screen star Mabel Normand in Jerry Herman's MACK & MABEL to her tour de force solo performance in Andrew Lloyd Webber's one-woman-musical (well, at least the first act, TELL ME ON A SUNDAY), SONG & DANCE, to her string of iconic Sondheim roles, beginning with Dot in SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE and continuing with The Witch in INTO THE WOODS later in the 1980s, her career is as diverse and dynamic as achievable. In the last twenty years, Peters has famously played four more supreme Sondheim ladies, as well: first, inhabiting the role originally played by Lee Remick, mixed up Nurse Fay Apple, in a spectacular charity concert version of the little-seen ANYONE CAN WHISTLE, co-starring Angela Lansbury and Madeline Kahn, and, then, at the turn of the century, giving us her own unique interpretation of the mother of them all, Rose in the controversial Sam Mendes revival of GYPSY. In the new millennium, Peters has taken on two more Sondheim musicals with her delicate and nuanced Desiree in Trevor Nunn's A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC, opposite Elaine Stritch, and, most recently, pursuing the part of Sally Durant Plummer in Eric Schaeffer's revival of FOLLIES. Of course, Peters also contributed a Tony Award-winning musical comedy performance to close out the 1990s with her triumphant take on Annie Oakley in Irving Berlin's classic ANNIE GET YOUR GUN, lest we forget she is as comfortable in comedy as she is in drama. Plus, her work with director Richard Jay-Alexander on SONDHEIM, ETC. constituted the concert event of the 1990s for many Broadway babies, as well (with a Grammy nomination to prove it). She can - and does - do it all.
Additionally, Peters has made a number of film and TV appearances over the decades that have solidified her as a household name to those not intimate with her stage resume - "All That Jazz" and countless other showstoppers on THE Carol Burnett SHOW and variety TV in the 1960s and 1970s to Steve Martin's gal pal in the comedy classic THE JERK and a heartbreaking jazz baby in PENNIES FROM HEAVEN to Clint Eastwood's match in PINK CADILLAC and a Grecian apparition in Woody Allen's ALICE to a moll in John Huston's ANNIE and a dainty dame in SILENT MOVIE to her unforgettable turn as the Evil Stepmother in the Disney remake of Rodgers & Hammerstein's CINDERELLA, and, currently, the grand dame guest starring diva on NBC's hit musical drama series SMASH; she's done it all. Broadway to Hollywood, touring the globe in concert and regularly popping up on TV entities as diverse as THE ODYSSEY, FRASIER and GREY'S ANATOMY, Peters has carved out a completely idiosyncratic and individual career which is totally befitting of the ageless, pouty-lipped bombshell with a powerhouse voice born Bernadette Lazzara but known the world over as Miss Peters - or, maybe, just Bernadette.
COMING UP ROSES opens this weekend in New York City at the AMC Village 7 at 66 3rd Avenue. More information is available at the official site here.
Also, check out InDepth InterView: Bernadette Peters, available here.
Sondheim! Sailors! SMASH! Let's take a closer look at the most memorable and most stupendous moments from the fifty-year career of Bernadette Peters onstage and onscreen - DAMES AT SEA to Dot to Desiree to DOROTHY OF OZ and COMING UP ROSES and beyond.
First up, experience one of the most jaw-dropping variety show performances on the 1970s in the form of Bernadette's wow-worthy "All That Jazz" from CHICAGO on THE Carol Burnett SHOW.
See Bernadette recreate the role that first made her a name in NYC in this characteristically charming performance capture from the must-own Bernadette Peters: IN CONCERT DVD, "Raining In My Heart".
A year before that, Bernadette Peters took home her first Tony Award for Best Actress In A Musical thanks to her portrait of a British girl in New York in Andrew Lloyd Webber's SONG & DANCE. Revisit the Tony Awards montage of the anamalous theatrical piece below.
The 1980s were a particular busy and fruitful period for Miss Peters, but it is her role in Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's Pulitzer Prize-winning SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE that many Broadway babies will forever remember her for most fondly - and for very good reason, indeed. Thankfully, the original production was filmed... so "Move On" already!
INTO THE WOODS was the next Sondheim/Lapine project Peters participated in, acting as an eleventh hour addition to the show when the creators decided to take the role of The Witch in a new direction. The resulting casting combined with character and text to create one of Sondheim's most cherished finales, "Children Will Listen". Enjoy this moving concert rendition.
Easily one of the top celebrations of musical theatre ever filmed, HEY, MR. PRODUCER! is a true gem, but the star of the show is none other than Bernadette - particularly due to this earth-shattering "Being Alive" from Sondheim's concept musical comedy COMPANY.
While it would still be a few years before she took on the role of Rose, at that same concert she stepped into the stilettos of one of the show's infamous strippers and socked it to the Royal Albert Hall audience alongside Julia McKenzie and fellow InDepth InterView participant Ruthie Henshall with the rollicking "You Gotta Get A Gimmick" from GYPSY. Bump it!
One of the most electrifying moments in recent Tony Awards memory, here is Bernadette Peters giving all she has got to "Rose's Turn" from GYPSY on the 2003 Tony Awards, here introduced by Hugh Jackman.
Now, see Bernadette Peters as Leigh Conroy on NBC's SMASH in her much-discussed and quite sensational guest-starring role on the hit musical series byway of this entire episode of "The Workshop" - complete with GYPSY's "Everything's Coming Up Roses" and the ensuing mama drama to go with it.
Stephen Sondheim shares an incredibly powerful message before accompanying Bernadette Peters on the piano to perform "Send In The Clowns" from A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC in 1994 - needless to say, she would go on to much success more than fifteen years later as Desiree in Trevor Nunn's first Broadway revival of the Ingmar Bergman-inspired musical masterpiece.
Bernadette's most recent Sondheim role was in the well-received revival of his dark and brooding surrealistic behind-the-spangles showbiz saga FOLLIES. Enjoy Bernadette and fellow InDepth InterView participant Ron Raines evocatively singing the operatic Act One Finale, "Too Many Mornings".
Bernadette Peters leads the 1999 revival cast of ANNIE GET YOUR GUN on that year's Tony Awards telecast with "I've Got The Sun In The Morning" along with fellow InDepth InterView participant Tom Wopat - a song she also sings in COMING UP ROSES, albeit in a decidedly much different context, as a matter of fact.
Now, let's sample some of the film forays Miss Peters is fondly regarded for most of all.
PENNIES FROM HEAVEN
Enjoy this preview for Bernadette's next animated venture, DOROTHY OF OZ, co-starring no less than fellow InDepth InterView participant and SMASH co-star/daughter Megan Hilty!
Lastly, view the trailer for Bernadette's new feature film, COMING UP ROSES, opening this weekend in NYC. Could she be adding an Oscar to her mantle sometime soon? Perhaps!
As a special bonus, relive "Not A Day Goes By" from MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG in this clip from 1992's SONDHEIM: A CELEBRATION AT Carnegie Hall. This is just about as good as it gets - completely, gut-wrenchingly tortured; and terrific!
What Bernadette Peters performance is your personal favorite of them all? Is it her comedy chops that excite you most, or is it her many exhilarating musical performances over the years? Better yet, what about those roles wherein she is allowed to fully explore it all, such as in COMING UP ROSES and on SMASH? We certainly have a lot to look forward to from Bernadette coming up thanks to these two new feature filmes and her S2 return to SMASH! What stage role could be next? Would you like to see her tackle Mrs. Lovett in SWEENEY TODD? How about a role in another Andrew Lloyd Webber musical someday? Something new? "So many possibilities", to cite SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE.