Real name: Bernadette Lazzaro
Birthdate: February 28, 1948
Partner: Michael Wittenberg
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Peters is particularly noted for her starring roles in the stage musicals Song and Dance, Annie Get Your Gun, Sunday in the Park with George, and Into the Woods, becoming closely associated with the composers Stephen Sondheim and Andrew Lloyd Webber, and in films including The Jerk and Pennies from Heaven.
She was born Bernadette Lazzara to an Italian-American family in Queens, New York, the youngest of three children. Her mother Marguerite started her in show business by putting her on the television show Juvenile Jury at the age of three-and-a-half. She later appeared on the television shows Name That Tune and The Horn and Hardart Children's Hour. In her teen years, she attended the Quintano School for Young Professionals.
Peters is "considered by many to be the premier interpreter of his work," according to writer Alex Witchel. Raymond Knapp writes that Peters "achieved her definitive stardom" in Sunday in the Park With George and Into the Woods. Sondheim has said of Peters, "Like very few others, she sings and acts at the same time," he says. "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." Peters continued her association with Sondheim with a 1995 benefit concert of Anyone Can Whistle. Additionally, she performed at several concerts featuring Sondheim's work, and performed for him at his 1993 Kennedy Center Honors ceremony.In the PBS broadcast of Sunday in the Park with George
Peters has been nominated for the Tony Award seven times, and won twice. She has also been nominated for the Drama Desk Award eight times and won three times (Annie Get Your Gun, Song and Dance, and Dames at Sea). Her first Tony Award for Best Lead Actress in a Musical was for her performance as Emma in Song and Dance. Theater critic Frank Rich wrote in an otherwise negative review of the show that Peters "has no peer in the musical theater right now." Peters won her second Tony for her performance as Annie Oakley in the 1999 revival of Annie Get Your Gun opposite Tom Wopat.
She was nominated for a Golden Globe Award (Best Motion Picture Actress in a Supporting Role) for her work in the Mel Brooks film Silent Movie.
She recently appeared with three generations of the Kirk Douglas family in It Runs in the Family. In May 2006 she filmed a movie Come le formiche (Wine and Kisses) with F. Murray Abraham in Italy; the DVD was released on June 22, 2007 in Italy.
In a review of her 2002 Radio City Music Hall concert, Steven Holden of the New York Times described Peters as "the peaches-and-cream embodiment of an ageless storybook princess... inside a giant soap bubble floating toward heaven. A belief in the power of the dreams behind 's songs, if not in their reality, was possible."
Major Concert appearances
- Various venues, summer of 1989: 10-city concert tour with Peter Allen
- Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles, California on September 6 and 7, 1996
- Carnegie Hall, New York City on December 9, 1996 (recorded on CD)
- Sydney Opera House, Sydney, Australia on January 7 & 8, 1998
- Royal Festival Hall, London on September 17, 1998 (recorded on video)
- Radio City Music Hall, New York City on June 19, 2002
- Lincoln Center (Avery Fisher Hall), New York City, on May 1, 2006