BWW Interviews: Bernadette Peters Loves Kansas, and Kansas Loves Her

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Last night, McCain auditorium of Kansas State University was the home of a much anticipated Bernadette Peters concert. The film and stage legend sat down with me afterwords to discuss her passions, Sondheim and Kansas.

Manhattan, KS, "the little apple" she quipped during the concert, enthusiastically greeted her. The crowd was passionately engaged and responsive, making the event feel more intimate than the cavernous McCain suggests. Two standing ovations later, it was her turn to be enthusiastic. "I've been through Kansas a lot. I like Kansas." Peter's feature film debut, "Ace Eli and Rodger of the Skies" was filmed in Mt. Hope, Kansas. "I've always loved Kansas. The audiences are great."

The Tony Award-winning actress sang a repertoire heavy with Stephen Sondheim, with whom she has a long standing professional relationship. The renowned composer and lyricist is behind such works as "Company" and "Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" as well as the forthcoming movie "Into the Woods." "It started with Sunday in the Park with George. That's when we started to work together. He's very compassionate to actors. And of course his work... there is so much to explore. He says so much. It's never boring."

A dedicated animal lover, Peters and friend Mary Tyler Moore founded Broadway Barks, an annual pet adoption event in Shubert Alley of the theatre district in New York City. Now in it's 15th year, the event aims to benefit homeless animals in local shelters by bringing press, awareness and celebrities together to find forever homes for waiting pets. Visit www.broadwaybarks.com for more information.

The effervescent comedienne spoke fondly of her two dogs, Stella (a pit bull) and Charlie (a mix). "I had lost my dog, Kramer, and Stella, my pit bull, was grieving so much that I had to get her another dog. A young dog!" She found Charlie, who reminded her of Kraemer, in Dalhart, TX at Dalhart Animal Wellness Group and Sanctuary, a no-kill animal shelter. Visit www.dawgsntexas.com to find your new best friend. Peters recommends it.

For more information, or a list of future concerts, including a Tulsa, OK engagement, visit www.BernadettePeters.com.

Photo Credit: Walter McBride / WM Photos

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