5 Questions is a series by Steve Duffy –
Throughout her illustrious career, three-time Tony Award recipient Bernadette Peters has dazzled audiences and critics with her performances on stage and television, in concert, and on recordings.
She also enjoys a career which boasts an impressive list of television credits, including Amazon Prime’s highly popular “Mozart in the Jungle”, which won the 2016 Golden Globe for Best TV Comedy or Musical series. She also recently appeared in the CBS All Access series “The Good Fight,” a spin-off of CBS-TV’s popular series, “The Good Wife.”
Bernadette devotes her time and talents to numerous events that benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, in addition to her “pet project” Broadway Barks.
SD: You have opened the Boston Pops season a few times, what continues to draw you to experience this?
BP: The draw is the musicianship of the Pops. It is amazing! The way that Keith gets all those musicians to breathe as one. I am in awe of him. Plus, I don’t do things the same way all the time, so he has to really listen to me, all the while the orchestra listens to him. We are all breathing together which makes us all one in the moment.
SD: What is it like working with Keith Lockhart?
BP: Its great! He is a wonderful conductor and he gives it his all. He takes rehearsals very seriously as if he was preforming at curtain time. He is professional, and he is dedicated to his job. He is a great motivator. I love how he can bring all the instruments together to make beautiful music and he does it with such ease.
SD: How do you choose which songs to perform?
BP: I tried to do songs that I have not performed before with the Pops. I perform for 40 minutes, so I try to give the audience a satisfying arch, but I also want to give them songs they want to hear.
SD: A great Broadway song can create magic. What does a song need to have to create that magic for you?
BP: It must tell an interesting story. It has to be a real story with thought-provoking words. Before I was singing Sondheim, I was singing a lot of Irving Berlin because he could tell a wonderful story through song. The song has to involve me emotionally and as long as I can connect to it and that is where the magic for me comes from.
SD: What can you tell us about your charity “Broadway Barks?”
BP: I started it 20 years ago with my dear friend Mary Tyler Moore. The shelters in New York really needed help and we really needed to get the word out there that the dogs in there needed to get adopted. New York is doing a really good job now with animal care shelters. The ones who dedicate their lives to the needs of animals are my heroes and I wanted to help even in the smallest way possible. Once a year, usually in July, we host an adoption event. All the celebrities from the Broadway shows come out on stage accompanied by a shelter dog. They present and talk about them in hopes they will be adopted. It’s a lot of fun for the entire family and most importantly it spreads awareness about the adorable dogs. In the Boston Pops bookstore, I will be selling items (i.e. books, bracelets, and CD’s) to help raise money for “Broadway Barks,” so I would appreciate any help. 100% of the purchases go directly to the charity.