The Kennedy Center

Bernadette Peters

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    Theater Look-in: Follies


Throughout her illustrious career, Tony Award-winning actress Bernadette Peters has dazzled audiences and critics with her performances on stage and television, in concert, and on recordings.

Ms. Peters just appeared on Broadway in the Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler Tony Award-winning masterpiece, A Little Night Music, starring opposite Elaine Stritch. This coming spring she will star in the highly anticipated production of Follies at the Kennedy Center.

Recently, she added author and songwriter to her roster of achievements with her debut children's book, "Broadway Barks", aptly named after the organization she co-founded with good friend, Mary Tyler Moore. The book landed on The New York Times Bestseller list shortly after publication. Their annual star-studded animal adoption event in the heart of the theatre district in Shubert Alley, benefits animal shelters through the New York City area. The book package includes a recording of an original song of which Bernadette's royalties from the sale of the book goes to Broadway Barks. Her second children's book, "Stella is a Star" released this past spring, features yet another original song written and sung by the author. All of her proceeds will go to Broadway Barks.
On November 9, 2009 Bernadette performed a special one night only concert here in New York at the Minskoff Theatre, "Bernadette Peters: A Special Concert for Broadway Barks Because Broadway Cares", which benefited both Broadway Barks and Broadway Cares/ Equity Fights AIDS.

In 2003, she received her seventh Tony Award nomination for her electrifying portrayal of Momma Rose in Sam Mendes' record-breaking Broadway revival of Gypsy, and her brilliant performance was captured on the Grammy award-winning Gypsy cast recording. "Bernadette Peters is a revelation!" Ben Brantley of The New York Times declared of her star turn in the show. Peters' Angel Records CD, Sondheim, Etc., Etc.: Bernadette Peters Live at Carnegie Hall (The Rest of It), features never-before-released highlights from her historic 1996 highly anticipated solo debut at Carnegie Hall. The concert was a benefit for Gay Men's Health Crisis. This performance was repeated in Bernadette Peters in Concert, her London solo debut at Royal Festival Hall, which later was telecast on PBS and is available on DVD.

A native of Ozone Park, New York, Peters began her performing career at the age of 3 with appearances on Juvenile Jury, the classic TV game show Name That Tune, and The Horn & Hardart Children's Hour. She made her theatrical debut in This is Goggle, starring James Daly and Kim Hunter, directed by the legendary Otto Preminger. Still in her teens, she appeared in The Most Happy Fella and The Penny Friend and performed in the national touring company of Gypsy.

Peters made her Broadway debut in 1967 in Johnny No-Trump, and in 1968 starred with Joel Grey in the musical George M!, earning a Theatre World Award for her memorable portrayal of Josie Cohan. That same year, she received a Drama Desk Award for her show stopping performance in the smash hit off-Broadway musical Dames at Sea, and quickly became one of the most sought-after stars in musical theatre.

One of Broadway's brightest stars, Peters received both the Tony Award and Drama Desk Award for her critically acclaimed performance in Andrew Lloyd Webber's hit musical Song and Dance. In June 1999, Peters earned her second Tony Award, her third Drama Desk Award, and an Outer Critics Circle Award for her portrayal of Annie Oakley in one of Broadway's most popular musicals, the smash Tony Award-winning hit Broadway revival of Annie Get Your Gun. Peters also received Tony nominations for her work in the 1992 musical The Goodbye Girl; Stephen Sondheim's Pulitzer Prize-winning musical Sunday in the Park With George; the Jerry Herman/Gower Champion ode to the movies, Mack and Mabel; and the Leonard Bernstein/Comden and Green musical On The Town. In addition to these honors, Peters earned a Drama Desk nomination for her memorable portrayal of the Witch in Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods.

While Peters is best known for her work in the theatre, her career doesn't end at the footlights. She boasts an impressive list of television credits including a much lauded recent performance in the Lifetime movie, Living Proof opposite Harry Connick, Jr., a guest starring role in the two-hour 2008 season premiere of the ABC-TV hit series, Grey's Anatomy, and a recurring role on the popular TV hit, Ugly Betty. She has appeared in several performing arts specials such as PBS' Evening at Pops and The Kennedy Center Honors to early appearances in variety shows such as The Carol Burnett Show and an Emmy-nominated performance on The Muppet Show. She appeared in the star-studded Sondheim: A Celebration at Carnegie Hall and also played an opera diva-on-the-verge-of-a-nervous-breakdown in Terrence McNally's The Last Mile, both for PBS' highly acclaimed Great Performances series. Other television credits include PBS's Hey Mr. Producer!: the Musical World of Cameron Mackintosh and the ABC-TV special Quincy Jones: the First 50 Years.

Peters received an Emmy nomination for her performance in FOX's hit TV series Ally McBeal. She portrayed the wicked stepmother in Cinderella with Brandy and Whitney Houston, and also starred in The Odyssey starring Armand Assante, David, Fall From Grace with Kevin Spacey, and The Last Best Year with Mary Tyler Moore. She also appeared in the Showtime movie Bobbie's Girl (Daytime Emmy nomination) and Prince Charming, a TNT movie co-starring Martin Short and Christina Applegate.

Peters recorded the original title song for the 1998 feature film Barney's Great Adventure: The Movie, written by famed Tony Award-winning Broadway composer Jerry Herman (Hello, Dolly!, Mame). She can also be heard as the voice of "Sophie" in the feature film Anastasia, as "Angelique" in the special home video Beauty and the Beast: Enchanted Christmas, as Sue in The Land Before Time: The Great Longneck Migration, and the voice of Rita the Cat in the popular Steven Spielberg animated program Animaniacs.

A performer of amazing versatility, Peters has lit up the silver screen in 17 films throughout her distinguished career. She received a Golden Globe Award for her memorable performance in Pennies From Heaven. Film credits include The Jerk with Steve Martin, The Longest Yard with Burt Reynolds, Silent Movie with Mel Brooks, Annie with Carol Burnett, Pink Cadillac with Clint Eastwood, Slaves of New York with Mercedes Ruehl, Woody Allen's Alice with Mia Farrow, Impromptu with Hugh Grant and Mandy Patinkin, and, It Runs in the Family, starring opposite Kirk and Michael Douglas.

In addition to numerous Grammy Award-winning Broadway cast albums including Gypsy and Annie Get Your Gun, Peters has recorded six solo albums: Sondheim, Etc., Etc.: Bernadette Peters Live at Carnegie Hall (The Rest of It); Bernadette Peters Loves Rodgers & Hammerstein (Grammy Nomination); Sondheim Etc.: Bernadette Peters Live At Carnegie Hall (Grammy Nomination); I'll Be Your Baby Tonight (Grammy Nomination); Bernadette Peters; and Now Playing.

Peters has received numerous accolades throughout her distinctive career, ranging from the Tony Award to a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The Police Athletic League (PAL), an organization which runs 84 youth centers and 150 summer camps for New York City's neediest children, named her as Woman of the Year for 1999. A few weeks earlier, the Actors Fund of America bestowed Peters with their Artistic Achievement Award. She has received the Special Advocate Award from the City of New York for her contributions to the gay and lesbian community, and is the youngest person to be inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame. Peters also received the 2000 New York Heroes Award from the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences. In 2004, she was the Arts and Entertainment recipient of the Matrix Award from New York Women in Communications, Inc. Other honors include the Sarah Siddons Actress of the Year Award and Harvard's Hasty Pudding Woman of the Year for her "lasting and impressive contribution to the world of entertainment."

Bernadette Peters devotes her time and talents to numerous events that benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Peters' "pet project" is Broadway Barks, which she co-founded with friend Mary Tyler Moore, which is an annual star-studded dog and cat adoption event presented each summer in Shubert Alley, benefiting over two dozen rescue shelters throughout the New York City area.
She resides in New York City and Los Angeles.
1968: Theatre World Award
1969: Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Performance for Dames at Sea
1972: Tony Award nomination for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for On the Town
1975: Tony Award nomination for Best Actress in a Musical for Mack and Mabel
1981: Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy) for Pennies from Heaven
1984: Tony Award nomination for Best Actress in a Musical for Sunday in the Park with George
1985: Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for Song and Dance
1985: Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical for Song and Dance
1985: Drama League Award Outstanding Performance of the Season for Song and Dance
1993: Tony Award nomination for Best Actress in a Musical for The Goodbye Girl
1999: Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical for Annie Get Your Gun
1999: Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical for Annie Get Your Gun
1999: Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for Annie Get Your Gun
2003: Drama Desk nomination for Best Actress in a Musical, Gypsy
2003: Tony nomination for Best Actress in a Musical, Gypsy

The Most Happy Fella - Performer - NY Center Opera - 1959
Gypsy - Dainty June (understudy) - U.S. Tour - 1961
The Penny Friend - Performer - Stage 73 (off-Broadway) - 1966
Curly McDimple - Performer - Bert Wheeler Theater (off-Broadway) - 1967
The Girl in the Freudian Slip - Leslie Maugham (Standby) - Booth Theatre (Broadway) - 1967
Johnny No-Trump - Bettina - Cort Theatre (Broadway) - 1967
A Mother's Kisses - Performer - Shubert Theatre (New Haven, CT) - 1968
Dames at Sea - Ruby - Bouwerie Lane Theatre (off-Broadway) 1968
George M! - Josie Cohan - Palace Theatre (Broadway) - 1968
La Strada - Gelsomina - Lunt-Fontanne Theatre (Broadway) - 1969
W.C. - Performer - U.S. Tour - 1970
Nevertheless They Laugh - Consuelo - Lamb's Club (off-Broadway) - 1970
On the Town - Hildy Esterhazy - Imperial Theatre (Broadway) - 1971
Mack and Mabel - Mabel Normand - Majestic Theatre (Broadway) - 1974
Sally and Marsha - Sally - Manhattan Theatre Club (off-Broadway) - 1982
Sunday in the Park with George - Dot/Marie - Booth Theatre (Broadway) - 1984
Song and Dance - Emma - Royale Theatre (Broadway) - 1985
Into the Woods - Witch - Martin Beck Theatre (Broadway) - 1987
The Goodbye Girl - Paula - Marquis Theatre (Broadway) - 1993
Sunday in the Park with George (10th Reunion Concert) - Dot/Marie - St. James Theatre (Broadway) - 1994
Into the Woods (10th Reunion Concert) - Witch - Broadway Theatre (Broadway) -  1997
Annie Get Your Gun - Annie Oakley - Marquis Theatre (Broadway) - 1999
Gypsy - Rose - Shubert Theatre (Broadway) - 2003
A Little Night Music - Desirée Armfeldt - Walter Kerr Theatre (Broadway) - 2010

Bernadette Peters