Last week, in anticipation of Bernadette Peters’ upcoming concert at the Palace of Fine Arts Theater on May 13, we posted a challenging trivia quiz about her life and career. Here, as promised—along with a recap of the questions—are the impressive and sometimes surprising answers. Hope to see you on the 13th.
1. On what production did Peters meet her musical director Marvin Laird?
In 1961 Peters met Laird in the second national tour of Gypsy when she was an understudy for the role “Dainty June”. Laird was the assistant conductor for the tour and recalled hearing Peters singing and think, “God that is a big voice out of that little girl.” Peters later returned to Gypsy in the 2003 Broadway revival starring as Mama Rose, where she gave over 500 performances.
2. In 1985 Peters received her first Tony Award for her performance in what musical?
Peters won for her lead performance in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Song and Dance. She has also won a Best Leading Actress Tony for her performance in Irving Berlin’s Annie Get Your Gun.
3. In 1981 Peters won the Golden Globe Award as Best Motion Picture Actress in a Comedy or Musical for what movie?
Peters won the Golden Globe for her role as Eileen Everson, a schoolteacher turned prostitute, in Pennies From Heaven. Pauline Kael wrote in The New Yorker: “The dance numbers are funny, amazing, and beautiful all at once; several of them are just about perfection.”
4. In 1996, Peters induction into the Theatre Hall of Fame was exceptionally noteworthy for what reason?
When Peters was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame it was especially noteworthy because she was the youngest performer to be inducted at 48 years old.
5. Peters was born with a different last name. What was her given surname?
Peters father is Peter Lazzara. She changed her last name to Peters because she did not “look Italian” and, at the time of her introduction to the theatre, ethnic stage names were discouraged.
6. What famous actor did Peters date from 1977 through 1981?
Peters and Steve Martin dated for four years prior to his marriage to Victoria Tennant. They met in 1977, when both were members of Kenny Rogers’ celebrity softball team.
7. In 1999 Peters started Broadway Barks with Mary Tyler Moore to encourage pet adoption. Additionally, she delved into another artistic pursuit, writing. In what genre does Peters write?
In an effort to support her animal adoption charity, Broadway Barks, Peters has written three children’s books. Her first children’s book titled Broadway Barks, reached #5 on The New York Times Children’s Best Sellers: Picture Books. Her books include themes of pet adoption and rescue, and include narratives of her dogs Kramer, Stella and Charlie.
8. Peters received Grammy Nominations for three of her six solo albums. The third features popular songs by John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Lyle Lovett, and Billy Joel. What was the name of that album?
Peters’ third solo album was I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight, which earned a Grammy Award nomination in 1996.
9. In the early 1980’s Peters was featured on the cover of which popular American men’s lifestyle and entertainment magazine in December, 1981?
In 1981 Peters appeared on the cover and in a spread of Playboy, posing in lingerie designed by Bob Mackie.
10. Peters returned from a six-year Broadway hiatus to replace Catherine Zeta-Jones in what musical?
Peters returned to Broadway in July 2010 to star as Desiree Armfeldt in a revival of Sondheim’s A Little Night Music. Charles Isherwood of The New York Times reviewed her performance writing, “[F]or theater lovers there can be no greater current pleasure than to witness Bernadette Peters perform the show’s signature number, ‘Send In the Clowns,’ with an emotional transparency and musical delicacy that turns this celebrated song into an occasion of transporting artistry. I’m not sure I’ve ever experienced with such palpable force – or such prominent goose bumps – the sense of being present at an indelible moment in the history of musical theater.”
11. Peters has had a wide and varied television acting career in addition to her theatre career. Most recently she’s played a recurring role in a CBS television spinoff series. What is the name of the new show?
Since February 2017, Peters has played Lenore Rindell in the The Good Fight, a spinoff of the television series The Good Wife on CBS. Peters plays the mother of the main character, Maia, a young lawyer.
Special thanks to trivia master Caitlin M. Long