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Topic: NY Times article from 1985

Topic NY Times article from 1985 from the General Chit-Chat forum.

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AuthorTopic:   NY Times article from 1985
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posted: 11/9/2003 at 9:48:25 PM ET
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It seemed the last thing Bernadette Peters should be doing in the afternoon yesterday after opening in ''Song & Dance,'' in which she must not only sing nonstop for a solid hour but also carry the entire first act of the show.

She wasn't sleeping. She wasn't soothing her tonsils with hot tea and honey. She wasn't in the bath. She was taking singing lessons. ''A lot of 'ooooo's' and 'eeeee's,' '' Miss Peters explained modestly, sitting cross-legged on the green flowered couch of her apartment on Central Park South. ''It's like medicine.''

Although reviews for ''Song & Dance,'' the new Andrew Lloyd Webber musical that opened Wednesday night at the Royale were mixed, critics were unanimous that for Miss Peters the show is a personal triumph. Writing in The New York Times, Frank Rich faulted the musical but stated that Miss Peters ''has no peer in the musical theater right now.''

The demanding, one-woman role calls for the pert, pretty, petulant Miss Peters to chronicle the travails of Emma - a waif from London who comes to find herself in the big city -entirely in song. At once tough but touching with her wide brown eyes, huge curls and kewpie-doll smile, Miss Peters commands the stage through innumerable changes of costume as she belts out song after song, stopping only for a sip of water. Her voice is high and husky and it is difficult to imagine how it can be sustained.

'Body Building for Your Larynx'

''It's like a muscle,'' says Miss Peters, suddenly sounding like an athlete. ''You have to keep it in shape. Singing lessons are like body building for your larynx.''

A veteran singer, dancer, actress and comedienne, who made her stage debut at the age of 11 and starred last year in the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical by Stephen Sondheim ''Sunday in the Park with George,'' the 37-year-old Miss Peters explains that in ''Song & Dance'' she uses primarily the lower register of her voice. The concern is that because she does not use the upper register, she will lose it. Offstage, the singing lessons, which consist entirely of scales, focus on the high notes. She has the lessons every afternoon (except for days with matinee performances).

But stamina is clearly on Miss Peters's mind. She said she has been having trouble sleeping these days, what with the excitement of opening night. Vitamins - calcium and triptophane are favorites - are important, she said. So is not talking on the telephone.

The most challenging part of ''Song & Dance,'' Miss Peters says, is at the end of Act I, when Emma becomes so hardened by trying to make it in New York that she stops being herself.

''She realizes she has turned herself off,'' said Miss Peters, ''that she's let other people define her. She wants to be in control of her emotions. She wants to be a totally developed person on her own.''

'Asleep' for Many Years

It is a syndrome with which Miss Peters - who was born Bernadette Lazzara and took on the name Peters after her father Peter, who drove a bread truck - says she poignantly identifies. Although a hardworking entertainer who has appeared in numerous shows and movies, including ''On the Town'' and ''Mack and Mabel,'' she speaks of having ''been asleep'' for many years of her life.

''I'm much happier with myself as a person,''said Miss Peters, who has never been married. ''I appreciate myself more.''

Miss Peters says she regards having the stage all to herself as a thrill. She finds that concentration is key and is allowing nothing to phase her. Not even missing props. The other night, during a bit in which Emma writes a letter to her mother and sings it out loud, Miss Peters discovered she had no pencil. Although she was not supposed to leave the stage, she just went backstage and meandered about until she found one.

No one in the audience, she says, noticed.

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posted: 11/9/2003 at 10:22:36 PM ET
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Hey, that's a cool article, thanks for sharing.

Miss Peters discovered she had no pencil. Although she was not supposed to leave the stage, she just went backstage and meandered about until she found one.
LoL, that's too funny!

"The most interesting phrase in science is not, 'Eureka!' but, 'That's funny...'" -Issac Asimov

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northern VA
posted: 11/9/2003 at 10:44:27 PM ET
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Very nice-thank you for sharing.


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posted: 11/10/2003 at 10:40:02 AM ET
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I just love those old articles that I've never seen before. Thank you so much!

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