Legendary performer and philanthropist Bernadette Peters will perform at the Patchogue Theatre Gala on October 22. The leading lady has appeared in Into the Woods, A Little Night Music, Gypsy, Annie Get Your Gun, Follies, as well as many others —including, most recently, City Center’s Encores! Production, A Bed and A Chair: A New York Love Affair. She currently stars in the 2016 Golden Globe Award Winner for Best TV Comedy or Musical Series, Mozart in the Jungle, on Amazon Prime. Dan’s Papers spoke with the star about her passion for Broadway, her charities, Mozart in the Jungle and her excitement about performing in Patchogue.
When first starting out, did you ever dream that you would become involved not only in Broadway, but in television, writing and recording?
No. I just sort of followed my passion. I like performing, and this led me into everything. Whenever I would make a plan it would never work out, so I just always let the universe bring me what was next. You have to follow your inspiration—what’s inspiring you right now, and what is taking your interest.
What continues to inspire you to perform classic songs?
I think the songs themselves inspire me, because they have a lot of depth to them. When I sing them, I’m reminded of something, and I try to do the songs that spark interest in me, that make me think. If I do that, then the audience is having that experience too.
What is it about Broadway that makes it so special compared to other media?
It’s the live theater, and the ideas that writers have. The inspiration, the creativity, and the capturing of that moment, you will never see it again. There’s a whole energy to the room.
What particularly attracts you to the songs of Stephen Sondheim?
I think because he writes the music and the lyrics he really says exactly what he wants to say. It’s very well thought-out. I know he spends a lot of time thinking about it, what word he wants to use, and when he picks the topic, like he did for “Children Will Listen,” [from Into the Woods] it’s a great topic.
You currently star in Amazon Prime’s hit series, Mozart in the Jungle, which won the 2016 Golden Globe this year for Best TV Comedy or Musical Series. What do you enjoy most about being on the show?
I love the writing. Whether it’s on the stage, or television, or movies, it has to start with the writing. The writing on this show is very original. It’s also not a dark show, right now the world has so many dark things going on, so I like that about this show…The new season will start December 9, and I think people are really going to enjoy it, and there’s a lot of wonderful music on it. I don’t want to give anything away, but it’s very creative this year. We start out the show in Venice. It’s gorgeous!
You’ll be performing on Saturday, October 22, and a portion of the proceeds will go to fund a new marquee for the theater as well as to your charity, Broadway Barks. Can you tell us more about what you’re most looking forward to at this event?
I like to support theater because that’s where creativity happens. They’ve also been very generous to donate $1 of every ticket to my charity, Broadway Barks. I think we’re realizing more and more how important companion animals are. We’re finding out now that dogs can sniff out cancer with accuracy. We’re finding out that they really understand a lot of what we’re saying. Animals are incredible! I also raise money every year for the BARC shelter. It costs a lot to get an animal healthy. They’re my heroes at that shelter.
Bernadette Peters performs at the Patchogue Theatre Gala Celebration at 71 East Main Street in Patchogue on Saturday, October 22 at 8 p.m. Proceeds from ticket sales will fund a new marquee for Patchogue Theatre, as well as to Broadway Barks. For more information, and to purchase tickets, visit patchoguetheatre.org or call 631-207-1313.