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Bernadette Peters coming to IUP

April 4, 2011

Bernadette Peters

INDIANA — The Lively Arts at Indiana University of Pennsylvania will bring award-winning actor, dancer, singer and humanitarian Bernadette Peters as next season’s Helwig Distinguished Artist.

 Peters will open the new 2011-12 Lively Arts touring artist season with a performance at 8 p.m. Sept. 15 in Fisher Auditorium of IUP’s Performing Arts Center.

 Peters’ appearance will mark the 18th for a Helwig Distinguished Artist since the program endowment was created in 1987 by Punxsutawney native and Indiana resident Florence Lattimer Helwig in honor of her late husband, Wilfred E. Helwig.

The performance is funded by the endowment and an additional generous gift provided by the Helwig family.

 A native of Ozone Park, N.Y., Peters began her career at age three with appearances on “Juvenile Jury,” the classic television game show “Name That Tune” and “The Horn & Hardart Children’s Hour.” She made her theatrical debut in “This Is Goggle,” starring James Daly and Kim Hunter and directed by Otto Preminger. Still in her teens, she appeared in “The Most Happy Fella” and “The Penny Friend” and performed in the national touring company of “Gypsy.”

 Peters made her Broadway debut in 1967 in “Johnny No-Trump,” and in 1968 starred with Joel Grey in the musical “George M!” earning a Theatre World Award for her memorable portrayal of Josie Cohan. That same year, she received a Drama Desk Award for her performance in off-Broadway’s “Dames at Sea.”

 Peters received both the Tony Award and Drama Desk Award for her critically acclaimed performance in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Song and Dance.” She received her second Tony Award, another Drama Desk Award, and an Outer Critics’ Circle Award for her role as Annie Oakley in the Broadway revival of “Annie Get Your Gun.”

Peters also received Tony nominations for her work in the 1992 musical “The Goodbye Girl,” Stephen Sondheim’s Pulitzer Prize-winning musical “Sunday in the Park With George,” the Jerry Herman/Gower Champion ode to the movies “Mack and Mabel” and the Leonard Bernstein/Comden and Green musical “On The Town.” Peters also earned a Drama Desk nomination for her portrayal of the Witch in Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods.”

She has starred in 17 feature films. She received a Golden Globe Award for her performance in “Pennies From Heaven” and has starred with Steve Martin in “The Jerk,” Burt Reynolds in “The Longest Yard” and Carol Burnett in “Annie.” Among other films, she starred in “Pink Cadillac” with Clint Eastwood, “Slaves of New York” with Mercedes Ruehl, Woody Allen’s “Alice” with Mia Farrow, and “Impromptu” with Hugh Grant and Mandy Patinkin. Most recently, she starred opposite Kirk and Michael Douglas in “It Runs in the Family.”

Her numerous roles in made-for-television movies include portraying the wicked stepmother in “Cinderella” with Brandy and Whitney Houston, starring in “What the Deaf Man Heard,” “The Odyssey” starring Armand Assante, “David, Fall From Grace” with Kevin Spacey, and “The Last Best Year” with Mary Tyler Moore. She also appeared in the Showtime movie “Bobbie’s Girl” (a Daytime Emmy-nominated movie) and “Prince Charming,” a TNT movie co-starring Martin Short and Christina Applegate.

Peters was also nominated for her role on Fox’s hit series “Ally McBeal.” Her other television credits include a recurring role on “Ugly Betty,” a guest-starring role in the two-hour 2008 season premiere of “Grey’s Anatomy” and numerous specials, such as PBS’ “Evening at the Pops” and “Great Performances” series and “The Kennedy Center Honors.”
Early in her career, she appeared in variety shows including “The Carol Burnett Show” and an Emmy-nominated performance on “The Muppet Show.” She has also voiced characters for feature films and television, including Steven Spielberg’s animated program “Animaniacs.”

In addition to numerous Grammy Award-winning Broadway cast albums including “Gypsy” and “Annie Get Your Gun,” Peters has recorded six solo albums. Recently, she added author and songwriter to her roster of achievements with her debut children’s book “Broadway Barks,” named after the organization she co-founded with actress Mary Tyler Moore that promotes the adoption of shelter animals. Shortly after release, the book landed on The New York Times’ Bestseller list.

Peters most recently appeared on Broadway in the revival run of Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s Tony Award-winning “A Little Night Music,” starring opposite Elaine Stritch. In May, she will star in the production of “Follies” at the Kennedy Center.

Tickets for the Fisher Auditorium performance will first be available through subscriptions, with subscription information to be sent by the end of June. Patrons contributing at the Designer level of the Premiere Club will receive priority seating with their subscription order in advance of general subscribers. Single tickets will be available at the end of August.

For more information, contact Hank Knerr, director, at (724) 357-2547 or via e-mail at hank.knerr@iup.edu.

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