I know gay people don’t get to go to Heaven… those nice folks with the bad haircuts and Bibles on the N train keep reminding me. But if there were such a thing as Gay Heaven, I might have been there last night. Bernadette Peters did a one-night-only concert at the Minskoff theatre to benefit Broadway Cares and Broadway Barks, and I was there! Jealous??? Perfect.
First of all, I know that as a gay I’m legally required to say this, but Bernadette looks effing incredible! Like, I can’t get over it. The woman is 600 years old if she’s a day and has not yet visibly hit puberty. I don’t know what she’s doing, nor would I dare ask questions. All I know is that whatever it is, it’s working overtime and I hope to Christ that I look that good when I’m Bernadette Peters. I think Bob Mackie is doing her face work.
She of course wore a Mackie original, into which she looked as though she’d been poured perfectly through a funnel. Stunning! Although, she did say it had been specially designed for the evening and I have to call her out and say that it very closely resembled the same Mackie gown that she’s been wearing for almost every concert appearance since her Sondheim, Etc. concert in ’96 (and that I’m fairly sure I saw her grocery shopping in on more than one occasion at The Food Emporium.) I’m not upset about it; I just think Bob Mackie is bullshitting a little and Bernadette may have cataracts. Whatever. She looked gorgeous, and center stage of the Minskoff, surrounded by an adoring assembly of her biggest fans and most well-respected peers the likes of Stephen Sondheim, Arthur Laurents, Martin Short, Barbara Walters, Hugh Jackman and myself, seemed as epic and iconic a figure as the Statue of Liberty gleaming atop her pedestal in New York Harbor - if the Statue of Liberty sang Sondheim medleys and had better boobs.
The show opened with a charmingly under-rehearsed Into the Woods bit, featuring a few original cast members and Bernadette’s brilliant Broadway Barks co-founder Mary Tyler Moore as “the narrator”. (Mary had no idea where she was, bless her heart.) Bernadette segued from the prologue into “Greens, Greens” and I, like every other fanatical theatre nerd in the audience, began having contractions and going into labor. I mean, how exciting!?
The rest of the evening was just as fulfilling, and included all the greats: “Being Alive” (or “Being Aliii-VUH!”, as BP does it), “Not a Day Goes By”, “Johanna”, “Some People” and a brilliant "Rose's Turn" encore, as well as a few new treats like “Losing My Mind”, "Buddy's Eyes" and a titillating rendition of “Fever” sung slinkily atop the piano. I’ve been trying to recreate the choreography atop my desk at work all day, but to no avail. And for the first time ever in concert, she delighted us with "Children and Art" from Sunday in the Park (another water-breaking/contractions moment.) She was in exeptional voice.
I'd like to tip my tiara to the evening’s director, Richard Jay-Alexander. Evidently a fan himself, that gay knows what audiences want and sees that we get it. Having helmed past concert performances for Bernadette, as well as for Bette and Barbra, he is proof positive that even the most iconic gay icons never outgrow their need for a good gay at the reins. Richard also co-directed Barbra's most recent farewell-ish tour, which paid such satisfying homage to Funny Girl and 60's Babs... and you KNOW that without some fag to set her straight, Barbra would just be up there talking about her fakakte roses and singing through the "Higher Ground" album. And who wants to hear that shit? Keep up the fine work, R-Jay!
Bernadette's after party was at the intimate Blue Fin in Times Square. It was a lovely and fagulous time, though BP completely ignored me the entire night... I don't wanna talk about it.