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Bernadette Peters visits IUP with even more accolades

May 1, 2012

Bernadette Peters performs the role of Sally in Stephen Sondheim’s “Follies,” which premiered at the Kennedy Center and moved to Broadway in September 2011. Peters was supposed to perform at IUP in September, but because “Follies” moved to Broadway, her performance will be held at 8 p.m. Friday at IUP’s Fisher Auditorium. (Photo courtesy of The Lively Arts at IUP)

INDIANA — Bernadette Peters performing at Indiana University of Pennsylvania this Friday is a special occasion in itself, but for this trip, Peters has some good news of her own.

Tuesday, it was announced that Peters — a star of stage, television, concert and recordings — has been chosen to receive the Isabelle Stevenson Award during the upcoming Tony Awards celebration in June.

But prior to that event, Peters will conclude the inaugural season of the Lively Arts’ “Ovations!” series at 8 p.m. Friday at Fisher Auditorium of IUP’s Performing Arts Center.

The concert — under the direction of Marvin Laird, with a 28-piece orchestra — is one in a long line of performances funded through the Helwig Dist-inguished Artist Endowment since the fund was created in 1988.

The Isabelle Stevenson Award will be presented during the 66th Annual Tony Awards, presented by the Broadway League and American Theatre Wing during a live CBS television broadcast Sunday, June 10, hosted by actor and singer Neil Patrick Harris.

As reported in Playbill.com, the Isabelle Stevenson Award recognizes an “individual from the theater community who has made a substantial contribution of volunteered time and effort on behalf of one or more humanitarian, social service or charitable organizations, regardless of whether such organizations relate to the theater.”

Certainly, the Stevenson Award is not Peters’ first Tony. She also received Tony nominations for her performances as Momma Rose in Sam Mendes’ revival of “Gypsy;” for “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.” 

In addition, Peters earned a Drama Desk nomination for her memorable portrayal of the witch in Sondheim’s “Into the Woods.”

Most recently, she appeared on Broadway in Sondheim’s “Follies,” which premiered at the Kennedy Center and moved to Broadway in September 2011 — thus, Peters’ original IUP performance, which was set for Sept. 15, was moved to Friday.

Shortly after the New York run, she appeared in the role of Leigh on NBC-TV’s new series, “Smash.”

Prior to “Follies,” Peters also appeared as Desiree Armfeldt in the Broadway revival of Sondheim’s “A Little Night Music.”

While Peters is best known for her work in the theater, her career also includes a list of television credits, including starring in Lifetime TV’s “Living Proof” and guest starring roles on ABC-TV’s “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Ugly Betty.” 

Peters has appeared in 17 films throughout her career and received a Golden Globe Award for her performance in “Pennies From Heaven.”
Her film credits include “The Jerk,” with Steve Martin; “The Longest Yard,” with Burt Reynolds; and “Annie” with Carol Burnett. In addition, 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,” and the soon-to-be- released independent film, “Coming Up Roses.”

Along with Mary Tyler Moore, Peters founded Broadway Barks as a program to promote the adoption of shelter animals. She has also written two children’s books to benefit the charity, “Broadway Barks” and “Stella is a Star.”

Additionally, Peters works with Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, Standing Tall and Actors Fund of America.

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