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AuthorTopic:   ATC thread
Registered User


New York City
posted: 6/17/2003 at 3:08:36 AM ET
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I agree with a lot of what has already been said. Although I have to say, I find it kind of funny that people identify Bernadette Peters with more lovable, gentler characters (than Patti Lu-Pone,) when (as far as gen-X-ers are concerned) Peters is known mainly for her portrayal as the witch in ITW -- a fairly unsympathetic, domineering role.

But then again, perhaps what Peters does so well (and why we like her so much) is that she forces us to empathize with characters we wouldn't normally empathize with: the witch, the character she played in 'Impromptu,' and now Momma Rose. She makes us see the humanity in the unhumane. This is actually likely a huge part of her popularity, if you think about it, because we as people like to see the good in others (for the most part.) We like to see why bad guys aren't all so bad. We like to know there aren't just motives, but emotions behind a characters' actions.

Something I noticed of Peters' Tony performance was this quality; Momma Rose seems like a monster, but here I FELT for her. I've seen other interpretations of that number, but I've never really felt as sorry for Rose as I did when Bernadette sung it.

Perhaps we, as an audience, like to see a performer who seems like a genuine person. Someone who radiates this genuine spirit even when she plays unsympathetic roles, so that even the monsters and villians seem to have a heart and a reason for their evilness underneath all that wrong-doing.

Really, that might also be why Peters takes a lot of flak from those who don't care for her acting/singing. She brings a sort of little-girlish-like humanity to the roles she plays. I suppose I can see how this might seem obtrusive to those who don't care for that style.


"I'm not good I'm not bad I'm just right. I'm the witch; you're the world. I'm the hitch; I'm what no one believes, I'm the witch. You're all liars and thieves...oh, why bother?"
-- Into the Woods

Woman of Science
Registered User

posted: 6/17/2003 at 1:29:48 PM ET
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As mentioned above, she has incredible multi-generational appeal. I can't think of a performer with such appeal. My parents were quite aware of her talents long before I...perhaps from her earlier TV appearances like "The Carol Burnette Show". I "discovered" her three years ago on a business trip to NYC after seeing AGYG and have been an avid fan since then. I subsequently took my father (he's in his 60s) to see AGYG, he had is picture taken with her, and still talks about it today like it was yesterday. My niece 22, remembers her from "Annie". And obviously, there are even younger fans out there. The part of the "IT" factor that appeals to all age groups and continues to draw new fans is powerful and worthy of the clout she has.

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northern VA
posted: 6/17/2003 at 2:29:04 PM ET
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I'm in my 20s,and I saw Annie many times when it came out. Of course,at that time,I didn't know Bernadette Peters from the Queen Mother.

I can't exactly pinpoint when I really knew who she was-probably Into the Woods circa 1988. I would have been 11 at that time. I grew up going to the theater and we always bought OCR,so my mother bought ITW for me.

I also received a subscription to TheaterWeek ( I remember interviews with POTO people-like Gillian Lynne- and coverage on that show-so it really wasn't all that much later) and she was in that quite a bit. I had very understanding parents who didn't think anything unusual about having subscriptions to Bop magazine (a very teen-pop oriented magazine) and TheaterWeek. My friends liked the theater,but not enough to want a weekly magazine. :-)

Oh,how I miss TheaterWeek! It covered everything-Broadway,Off-Broadway,regional theater (I think they had an annual issue on West Coast theater),cabaret performers (an entire cabaret issue! Now,I had never seen a cabaret show then,but I ate it up,because the writing was so good. It wasn't literary in that sense-just down-to-earth and accessible without dumbing down the content),shows,plays,etc. It always arrived on time,and Peter Filichia had a column. They interviewed the stars,the composers,the choreographers,set designers-everybody. I didn't always understand some of the articles-like an interview with Albee-but I read it cover to cover. Even the (very few) ads,because they were theater-related. It wasn't so sophisticated that a middle schooler living in New Orleans wouldn't get (unless it was an Albee interview,but that's another story),but it wasn't gossipy (although they did show pictures from first-night parties,etc-but not gossipy in the catty sense) and gave as much consideration to plays as it did to musicals,without giving the impression that musicals were inferior.
However,Reidel took over TW,and perhaps it did turn gossipy. I can't remember if there was anything really ugly said,however. That was a long time ago.

It did not consider Broadway to be the be-all in U.S. theater (and they had an annual West End/British theater issue!). You had the impression that the staff enjoyed and was concerned about theater,unlike some who make their living writing about the theater. Darn! I think about Theater Week every year come Tony time. They had a great Tony issue. And a great season preview issue. Every issue was an entertaining education. I learned so much from that magazine. And,of course,I have no idea where my copies are. I subscribed for several years-the latest I can remember is Sunset Boulevard stuff (I remember that they covered the LuPone and Amy Powers controversies. I fear the worst. I know I didn't take them when I went away to college.

Sigh. I ordered Playbill magazine,but that's still only monthly. Show People is only four times a year. And yes,the Internet is the best place to get the latest theater information,but I still miss my Theater Week. The Internet is good for gossip and "this just in" sort of thing,but it is still short on features. Although I do love the Playbill and Talkin' Broadway sites. And this site,of course. And Peter Filichia has a regular online column. The good thing about Theater Week was that it had very few ads,but that lead to the folding of the magazine.

Well,gee...what was I talking about? Bernadette? Sorry. I don't get nostalgic for a lot of things,but I do for Theater Week. Those who never had a chance to read it don't know what they missed. It was a lifeline to those who didn't live in or near the City in those prehistoric days before the Internet explosion. I remember hourly billing and the Prodigy message boards. If anyone remembers the neverending "Valjean Read This" thread on the Prodigy bulletin board,I will pass out. Anyone? I remember when posters would act out musicals-hard to explain,but we would pretend to be the characters-and my 12 year old self got into a hissy fight with an older poster who thought the games were downright stupid (which they were,admittedly,now that I'm older). By the time I came along to Prodigy,all the good characters were taken,and I think they started making up characters for the Into the Woods thread. I am not making this up. See what fun you tykes missed?

OK,granny's done talking. I tend to write lengthy posts,as you can see.

Registered User


New York City

Fav. BP Song: With So Little to be Sure Of
Fav. BP Show: Gypsy
Fav. BP Character: Marie (insert last name) lol There's a few
Fav. BP CD: Bernadette Peters Loves Rogers and Hammerstein

posted: 6/17/2003 at 4:16:33 PM ET
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jmslsu01, I actually enjoyed reading your lengthy post. LOL I also get very nostalgic when it comes to certain things, so I know the feeling. I have often been on other message boards and when a word or phrase struck a chord with me I would go on and on about it.

I was never a subscriber to Theatre Week, but I do have the issue where Bernadette was on the cover with the picture used next to my name actually.

LOL I'm in my 20's too (well 21), so I wouldn't consider you a granny....even though there are some pretty young people who post here.


Registered User


northern VA
posted: 6/17/2003 at 9:47:57 PM ET
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When I was writing that post,I had the feeling that it had a "back in the old days" air about it,which is why I called myself granny. :-)

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