5 April 2014

“When you wish upon a star your dreams come true”

Bernadette Peters in concert Theatre Royal Sydney 3 April 14

“When you wish upon a star your dreams come true” so sang Ms Peters and  they did for a packed Theatre Royal assembled to worship the Queen of Broadway, Miss Bernadette Peters, making a return visit to Sydney after some 15 years.  My excitement had been building for weeks as friends who saw her the first time round all acclaimed her in concert to be unforgettable – and on this occasion she was even more fabulous than the hype.
Backed by a stunning eleven piece orchestra we were treated to arguably a perfect pick of Broadway songs.  Some from the collection of Broadway shows she’s done, some from the brilliant collection of CD recordings she’s made and some, especially for her Australian audiences, written by Peter Allen, who we learned was a dear friend and colleague of hers (but more on that later).

Warming us up Bernadette showed off her witty side with a fresh as the morning version of Nothing like a dame from South Pacific and a sultry version of Fever draped atop the baby grand. Looking a million bucks in a gorgeous décolleté lilac beaded gown, with flashes of leg, Bernadette Peters was the ultimate showgirl.
photo Kurt Sneddon

Photo Kurt Sneddon
With delightful patter linking the songs we learned about her roles on stage and TV and got a little insight to her career now three decades long.   
Bernadette Peters is regarded by many as the foremost interpreter of the works of Stephen Sondheim and acclaimed for her performances in the musicals Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Woods, A Little Night Music and Follies. Lucky for us we heard a lovely selection of those shows songs.

Children will Listen from Into the Woods was beautifully haunting, when she sang Send in the Clowns it’s as if she was ‘Desiree Armfeldt’ right there centre stage at the Royal, and it was like I heard Losing my Mind for the very first time its desperation engulfed me.
One of my all-time favourite recordings of Ms Peters is Being Alive from Company which she sang as her finale. It was a dream come true to hear it live and it was perfect, unforgettable!
And so to the Peter Allen songs which she included for this Australian tour, If you were Wondering and a heartfelt I Honestly Love You. It was clear she had a great affection for him - they had toured together and had been friends. Adding those songs, and delivered with such affectionate intent, crowned a concert that audience will never forget.       

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