A Laugh and a Song

Comedian-songstress Bernadette Peters comes to Vegas

Bernadette Peters, 62, has done a little bit of everything since her days as a New York child actress in the late ’50s. She has acted in hit films, such as The Jerk and Annie. She has earned acclaim for her work in Broadway shows, such as Sunday in the Park With George and Annie Get Your Gun. And she has recorded six solo albums and written two children’s book. Her latest, Stella Is a Star (Blue Apple Books) hit shelves this April.

The compassionate entertainer, who heads animal charity Broadway Barks, has been lavished with a considerable amount of hardware: a pair of Tony Awards, eight Drama Desk Awards and four Grammy Awards.

Peters’ schedule is so jammed that she has little spare time. When she does have a day off, she normally fills the void by working. “I would rather be doing something like singing than just hanging out,” Peters says. “I only have about a day a month to go out and sing somewhere.”

Peters lone concert date in May is slated for Saturday, May 1, at Artemus W. Ham Hall at UNLV. Count on the elegant Peters to deliver classic material.

“I love doing songs from Rodgers and Hammerstein,” Peters says. “I love singing Peggy Lee’s ‘Fever.’ I can’t stay away from these old, wonderful songs.”

And like many of the new Vegas casinos, Peters refuses to get bogged down with themes. “Too many people get concerned with an evening full of songs that are connected with something,” Peters says. “All I want to do is entertain. I want to take the audience on a journey. Singing is one of my great passions.”

During the ’70s, Peters moved to Los Angeles to focus on film and television. However, after starring in the 1981 movie musical, Pennies From Heaven, Peters was inspired to return to New York: “I knew then that I had to continue expressing myself as a singer,” Peters says. “I went back to Broadway because of my passion for it.”

Peters bypassed big Hollywood paydays to earn $200 a week as the most famous member of the Manhattan Theatre Club. “At that time I had the freedom to pick and choose,” Peters says. “The great thing is that I still have the freedom to pick and choose.”

What’s left for Peters? “The one thing I haven’t done is the heavy plays,” Peters says. “I would love to do some Tennessee Williams and some Shakespeare. I would like to do that and of course continue doing these type of concerts when I can.”

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