December 29, 2006
Throughout her illustrious career, Tony Award–winning actress Bernadette Peters has dazzled audiences and critics with her performances on stage, on television, in concert and in the recording industry. In 2003, she received her seventh Tony Award nomination for her electrifying portrayal of Momma Rose in Sam Mendes’s record-breaking Broadway revival of Gypsy. Her brilliant performance was captured on the Grammy award–winning Gypsy cast recording, released by Angel Records in August 2003. Peters’s latest CD, Sondheim, Etc., Etc.: Bernadette Peters Live at Carnegie Hall (The Rest of It), also on Angel Records (August 2005), features never-before-released highlights from her historic 1996 solo debut at Carnegie Hall.
In June 1999, Peters earned her second Tony Award, her third Drama Desk Award, and an Outer Critics Circle Award for her show-stopping 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. In 1996, she made her highly anticipated solo debut at Carnegie Hall in an exclusive concert benefiting Gay Men’s Health Crisis—a performance she repeated in “Bernadette Peters in Concert,” her London solo debut at Royal Festival Hall which later was telecast on PBS and is now 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. She garnered Tony nominations for her memorable performance as Momma Rose in Sam Mendes’s revival of Gypsy. “Bernadette Peters is a revelation!” Ben Brantley of the New York Times declared of her star turn in the show. 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 ranging from performing arts specials such as PBS’ “Evening at Pops” and the Kennedy Center Honors to 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’s 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 What the Deaf Man Heard; 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 most recently, 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); the live recording Sondheim Etc.: Bernadette Peters Live at Carnegie Hall (Grammy nomination); I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight (Grammy nomination); Bernadette Peters; and Now Playing.
Bernadette Peters devotes her time and talents to numerous events that benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, for whom she also performed in a benefit concert version of Anyone Can Whistle. Peters’s “pet project” is Broadway Barks, an annual star-studded dog adoption event, she founded with friend Mary Tyler Moore, benefiting animal shelters throughout New York. She resides in New York City and Los Angeles.
This performance was co-sponsored with the Wheeler Opera House.