by MK Scott -
SGN Contributing Writer
November 26 @ 8pm
On Saturday, November 26, Broadway Diva, Bernadette Peters, 68, takes the Benaroya Hall stage in a solo concert performance with a 12 member-orchestra as part of the Seattle Symphony's 2016-17 season.
Throughout her illustrious career, Bernadette Peters has dazzled audiences and critics with her performances on stage and television, in concert, and on recordings.
Ms. Peters currently stars in Amazon Prime's hit TV series, 'Mozart in the Jungle,' which won the 2016 Golden Globe for Best TV Comedy or Musical series.
Who could forget her in Annie Get Your Gun, Gypsy, Follies and even Into the Woods? It was a real honor to chat with her by phone.
MK Scott: Bernadette, I know you are busy on the set of your new CBS show, 'The Good Fight' (which we will get to later) and gearing up to come to Seattle this weekend with a command performance. Can you tell us what songs will be included?
Bernadette Peters: Yes, yes, I'm coming to Seattle! I'm singing on Saturday after Thanksgiving. Hopefully, I won't eat too much on Thanksgiving, and also on the next day, and then we'll do the show Saturday. I'm looking forward to it.
I love Seattle. I love to go to Fisherman - it's called Fisherman's Pike or Fisherman's Wharf. What's it called? Pike's Peak?
MK: Pike Place Market? (Laugh)
Peters: I know, I'm making a joke. It's cool!
I do all kinds of music basically, but I will also do Rodgers and Hammerstein - I sing Peggy Lee's 'Fever,' but I sing a lot of Sondheim - it's enjoyable for me.
MK: You've performed songs by some of the best - from Irving Berlin to Marvin Hamish - but you are known as Sondheim's go-to star. Is there any show you haven't done of his, but would like to do?
Peters: I guess I haven't done Sweeney Todd. I like going to see Sweeney Todd. Everything he writes has such, you know, depth to it that it's just wonderful - neat. There are so many layers to it. That's why I like to sing his music. It's always a place - an amazing place to go!
MK: You have been very busy of late with your appearance in the Globes-winning, 'Mozart in the Jungle.' Talk about your character, Gloria?
Peters: Yes, this is our third season and it's available on Amazon Prime - premiering on December 9th. Gloria runs the symphony - and does the hiring, the firing, and the fundraising - and it brought in the two Golden Globes we won for my character - so basically this season we start with the symphony's been on strike and we lost Rodrigo - that's our conductor. He goes off and I find that he's in Venice [Italy] so I go to Venice to try to bring him back and - and I tell you it's so beautiful there! So the show opens in Venice and we're there for about five episodes and you'll never see - it's just a beautiful place - magical and - romantic and we shot in San Marcos Square and it's a great season.
We have to take the orchestra to Rikers Island [in New York City] - to the prison. We actually go to the prison - and we perform for some of the inmates - in the yard. Yes! But they were handpicked prisoners - some of them were getting out the next day. And they were great - they loved being on camera. They loved the acting and being a part of this. We actually played the symphony music that was written by someone when he was in prison in Nazi Germany. So he listened to birds outside his window and he wrote music, you know - it really is wonderful!
MK: Also, you have a new role in 'The Good Wife' spinoff, 'The Good Fight' debuting in February. Tell us about Lenore.
Peters: Yeah, she's like a Bernie Madoff wife. So she's a very interesting character to play. And they keep you evolving; I keep seeing what they have in mind, what the scripts are bringing - quite interesting. And you don't know if they're guilty or not guilty. Is she blaming somebody else? And so I'll let you know what happens.
MK: Who in today's musical theater world reminds you of yourself, when you were starting out?
Peters: Oh, I don't know, the shows are so different - I mean, of course, you know, I played Megan Hilty's mother on 'Smash' and I just think she's an amazing talent. And I adore her. And I used to love watching her in the show and watching her, she just got fantastic!
MK: One of your iconic roles was in Into the Woods. What did you think of the film version?
Peters: I really like it. I was so happy that it was so well done. You know, it was written for the stage, so I still think I prefer that. There's some comedy that gets a little lost in the movie that can only work, I think, when it's on the stage, so I miss that. But otherwise, I think it's a wonderful version of a musical from the stage to transform it onto the screen.
MK: I know you are passionate of your Broadway Barks project. Tell us more?
Peters: Oh my god, yeah, I mean that's my passion - is to help and shelter animals - and, I mean, we're finding out more and more how valuable they are. They're finding out now that dogs can sniff out cancer - not in stage one, two or three, four - stage zero! So a dog can sniff out a teaspoon of sugar in two Olympic size swimming pools - that's how strong their sense of smell is. So they're teaching these dogs to sniff out ovarian cancer and breast cancer and different kinds of cancers. So I think it's very important to just keep our eye on this, because, I think, if we can catch it really early - it's very hard - if they can catch that - I mean, look what a life-saver that would be! So not only do they save us emotionally - that they save our lives emotionally - but actually save our lives physically.
MK: You have also devoted lots of time and money to AIDS charities.
Peters: Oh, yes. Yes! I'm on the board of Broadway Cares. They're great! The head of that, Tom Viola, has such a big heart and he's there to help people when they need it. Not only there. you know, like when the hurricane hit, Katrina - you know, he would send money there and he sends money to places that need it.
MK: As an icon who has a large LGBTQ fan base, what advice can you give to them, what now with the new administration, and scary future?
Peters: I think we have to stay listening and keep our eyes opened and I think we have to say no, no, no, that won't do! And I - I think we just have to speak up. I think we do. It's just we can't let - I mean they have to remember in this new presidency that's coming up that they are - they are the leaders of all the people. They have to take care of everyone in the country. So, I think it's something to - and there should be no hate crimes. We can't go backwards like that. I think that would be really awful - is to start promoting hate and - discrimination and racism - all those things. It's just not acceptable. Isn't that amazing? It's like people are given permission now. It actually breaks my heart that people actually have that in their hearts - and the hate. Now usually it comes from them feeling, I guess, less than, and they have to make themselves feel more important, and so you know things happen that way. But however it happens, it's not good. And it's, it's - you know, that this is happening is pretty sad.
MK: Of course, you must have heard what happened at Hamilton, when VP-elect, Mike Pence was addressed by the cast?
Peters: Well, you know, it wasn't like they stopped the show to - no, but even so; it wasn't like even at the end of the show - it was the time of the year, they were actually making curtain speeches because they were collecting for Broadway Cares. It wasn't like they said well at the end of the show we have an announcement - but they actually used that time to speak to the guests in the audience and they were not rude. They just said I hope that you will be the administration for all the people in this country - all the people. So I think that's one thing - that's what they told them. And it wasn't anything rude. It was just - we're in the show, we are a diverse integrated cast - we are playing, you know, famous American people in history and politics - we're playing them, and if we're an interracial cast - and look at us and we won a Pulitzer Prize and we're a big hit show. And people love us. And so I hope that you will be the administration for all the people.
Bernadette Peters will be performing on Saturday, November 26 @ 8pm at Benaroya Hall, 3rd Ave. & University St. For more information and tickets, go to seattlesymphony.org.
Watch Peters in the 3rd season of 'Mozart in the Jungle,' starting on December 9th on Amazon Prime. And in 'The Perfect Fight' on CBS starting in February 2017.
'Mozart in the Jungle' Season 3 Trailer: Gael García Bernal and Lola Kirke Return To The Orchestra - http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/20/arts/television/mozart-in-the-jungle-placido-domingo.html?_r=0
Hear this interview and more at itsfab.podomatic.com
MK Scott is a Seattle based blogger, check out his site at outviewoline.com
Share on Facebook
Share on Delicious
Share on StumbleUpon!