The oldest and first dedicated online New York Theater Guide Read news on over 150 Broadway and Off-Broadway shows
Bernadette Peters was born Bernadette Lazzara on February 28, 1948 in Ozone Park, Queens, New York. She appeared on television shows such as Juvenile Jury, Name That Tune, and The Horn and Hardart Children's Hour from age 3, and in 1958 she received her Actors Equity Card at age 9. The following year, she made her New York stage debut in the New York City Center revival of The Most Happy Fella. During her teenage years, she attended Quintano's School for Young Professionals and appeared in the second National Tour of Gypsy, as well as regional productions of The Sound of Music and Riverwind.
After graduating from high school, she made her Off-Broadway debut in The Penny Friend in 1966. From then on, Peters became a regular on both the Broadway and Off-Broadway stage. At the end of the 1960s she starred off Broadway in Curley McDimple and originated the role of Ruby in Dames at Sea, winning her first Drama Desk Award. On Broadway, she worked as a standby on The Girl in the Freudian Slip (1967) and starred as Bettina in Johnny No-Trump later that same year. She went on to star as Josie Cohan in George M! in 1968, winning the Theatre World Award, and as Gelsomina in La Strada in 1969.
In the 1970s she received her first Tony Award nominations, firstly in 1972 for her performance as Hildy in On the Town and again in 1975 for originating the role of Mabel Normand in Mack & Mabel.
In 1982, Peters starred as Sally in the Off-Broadway production of Sally and Marsha, and the following year, she originated the dual roles of Dot and Marie in the Playwrights Horizons production of Stephen Sondheim's Sunday in the Park with George. Following the show's Broadway transfer in 1984, she earned her third Tony Award nomination. In 1985, she starred as Emma in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Song and Dance and finally won her first Tony Award in 1986. She then once again collaborated with Sondheim and starred as the Witch in Into the Woods on Broadway in 1987.
During the 1990s, Ms. Peters appeared in four Broadway productions: The Goodbye Girl in 1993 (earning her fifth Tony Award nomination), one-night-only revivals of Sunday in the Park with George in 1994 and Into the Woods in 1997, and as Annie Oakley in Annie Get Your Gun from 1999, winning her second Tony Award in the category of Best Actress in a Musical.
Peters starred as Mama Rose in the 2003 revival of Gypsy, earning her seventh Tony Award nomination. She returned to Broadway in 2010, assuming the role of Desiree Armfeldt in a revival of A Little Night Music, and again in 2011, starring as Sally Durant Plummer in the Broadway revival of Follies. She also received the Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award in 2012 for her humanitarian efforts. In 2016, she was honored with the Theatre World John Willis Award for Lifetime Achievement. She returned to Broadway from January 20 to July 15, 2018, assuming the title role in Hello, Dolly! from Tony Award winner Bette Midler.
Aside from her career on stage, Bernadette Peters has also enjoyed a prolific career on screen, winning a Golden Globe in 1982 for her performance as Eileen in Pennies in Heaven. In addition, she earned two Golden Globe nominations in 1977 for Silent Movie and All's Fair. She also earned Emmy Award nominations for her appearances on The Muppet Show (1978) and Ally McBeal (2001), and Bobbie's Girl (2003). Her other most notable screen credits over the course of her career include the roles of Lily St. Regis in Annie (1982), Marie in The Jerk (1979), Sophie in Anastasia (1997), Sarabeth Breyers in Grey's Anatomy (2008), Jodie Papadakis in Ugly Betty (2009), Leigh Conroy in Smash (2012-13), Lenore Rindell in The Good Fight (2017), and Gloria in Mozart in the Jungle (2014-18). From 2020-2021, she guest starred on screen as Deb in Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist, and the role earned Peters her fourth Emmy Award nomination.