© 2015 Adriaan Fuchs. All rights reserved.

Bernadette Peters

“Bernadette is flawless as far as I’m concerned.”

– Stephen Sondheim

Great Interpreters Goes Broadway! – Program 6: Bernadette Peters
Broadcast on Fine Music Radio on 10 July 2015.

A born performer, Peters made her Broadway debut in Most Happy Fella when she was only eleven years old, and since then, has become one of the most sought-after of Broadway dames, dazzling audiences and critics with her performances on stage and television, in concert, and on recordings in a career spanning 60 years.

Her versatile voice has variously been described as buttery and lemony, with a warmth, and a vulnerable, girly quality (David Cote called likened it to “an angelic soprano that can dip down to adorable, languid growls”). Her performances are marked by an ever-present mix of humor, warmth, passion and emotional depth. Hers is a subtle, less outward art, and her interpretations always full of depth and nuance.

It’s no wonder then that Peters is one of the most critically-acclaimed and lauded Broadway performers alive, having received nominations for seven Tony Awards, winning two (plus an honorary award), and nine Drama Desk Awards, winning three. Four of the Broadway cast albums on which she has starred have won Grammy Awards.

Interestingly, for someone who is predominantly known as a leading interpreter of the work of Stephen Sondheim, her two Tony wins were both for non-Sondheim musicals: the first was for her portrayal of Emma in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Song & Dance and the second was for her riveting assumption of the role of sharpshooter Annie Oakley in a revival of Irving Berlin’s Annie Get Your Gun). She has also created leading roles in musicals by Jerry Herman (namely Mack & Mabel) and Marvin Hamlisch (in The Goodbye Girl).

Nevertheless, we find Bernadette Peters at her radiant best breathing life into the music and words of Sondheim’s heroines, whether as model/mistress Dot in Sunday in the Park with George; a wise Witch in Into the Woods; the domineering stage mother Rose in Gypsy, the captivating, yet sentimental, actress Desiree Armfeldt in A Little Night Music and, most recently, a former Follies girl in Follies. Sondheim himself has said of Peters: “Like very few others, she sings and acts at the same time… Most performers act and then sing, act and then sing … Bernadette is flawless as far as I’m concerned. I can’t think of anything negative.”

In this On and Off the Record podcast, part of the Great Interpreters Goes Broadway! series, Adriaan Fuchs provides a portrait of this remarkable and iconic “Broadway Baby”.

Podcast Track List

1) “There’s No Business Like Show Business” from Annie Get Your Gun
Music and lyrics by Irving Berlin.

2) “Broadway Baby” from Follies
Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.

3) “Time Heals Everything” from Mack and Mabel
Music and lyrics by Jerry Herman.

4) “Move On” from Sunday in the Park with George
Bernadette Peters & Mandy Patinkin
Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.

5) “Tell Me On A Sunday” from Song & Dance
Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Don Black.

6) “Children Will Listen” from Into The Woods
Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.

7) “Anyone Can Whistle” from Anyone Can Whistle
Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.

8) “Not A Day Goes By” from Merrily We Roll Along
Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.

9) “You Can’t Get A Man With A Gun” from Annie Get Your Gun
Music and lyrics by Irving Berlin.

10) “Anything You Can Do” from Annie Get Your Gun
Music and lyrics by Irving Berlin.

11) “There Is Nothing Like A Dame” from South Pacific
Music by Richard Rodger and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II.

12) “You’ll Never Get Away From Me” from Gypsy
Music by Jule Styne and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.

13) “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” from Gypsy
Music by Jule Styne and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.

14) “Send in the Clowns” from A Little Night Music
Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.

15) “Losing My Mind” from Follies
Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.

16) “Some Enchanted Evening” from South Pacific
Music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II.

Videos

“Being Alive” from Company
Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.

“Sunday in the Park With George” from Sunday In The Park With George (1986)
Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.

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