By Patrick Christiano
July 12, 2012: Acclaimed star of stage, film and television, Bebe Neuwirth, returns to the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center on Sunday July 15 at 8:30pm with “Stories With Piano," a reprise of her 2008 show at Feinstein’s at Loews Regency on Park Avenue in New York City.
Neuwirth is probably best known for her recurring role as Dr. Lilith Stien, Frasier’s wife, on NBC television series “Cheers,” which ran for 11 years from 1982-1993. She also made guest appearances on the spinoff “Frasier" in the same role, but now as Frasier’s ex-wife.
On Broadway Neuwirth is a major player, the performer won her second Tony, a Drama Desk and an Astaire Awards for the role of Velma in the hit Broadway revival of Chicago in 1996, and amazingly 10 years later after hip replacement surgery she returned to the musical in 2006 as Roxy, Velma’s chief competitor in the show. The gal has never stopped working; after touring in her teens with Bob Fosse’s landmark musical, A Chorus Line, she launched her Broadway career in 1980 at age 21 making her debut in that show as Shelia, who at 30 was the old broad of A Chorus Line. She totally established herself winning her first Tony award playing Nickie in the 1987 revival of Sweet Charity, and she has been working continuously ever often touring the world in leading musical roles or working in film or television. She even recently returned to Broadway creating the role of Morticia in the smash Broadway musical The Adams Family.
I had a brief chat with Bebe late Wednesday. We discussed not only her upcoming show but her career, ballet, which was her first love, and we even hit on astrology. She called me precisely at the appointed time and reflected on her charmed career when asked. Yes, I have had a very charmed career. I am not very ambitious. I took work that came along and was right for me. I am very very focused and disciplined. I’m a Capricorn. I work hard and play hard.Tell me something about your new show. I didn’t catch you at Feinstein’s, but heard you were wonderful. I have an eclectirc selection of music, all story songs…songs by Sondheim, Irving Berlin, Kander & Ebb and even Edith Piaf and Tom Waits…songs that celebrate the human condition…songs of great joy and heartbreak. I am backed on piano by my musical director Scott Cady, but I will also have woodwinds and bass. Sounds great! I’m looking forward to the evening, but I’m curious of all the things you have done what has been the most fullfilling career wise? After a brief pause: Working with Bob Fosse was a defining time. He helped me learn who I am as an artist. Any and all the time I spent with him affected me in a profound way. He was a genius. Do you have anything new coming up? I just recorded a new album "Bebe Neuwirth Porcelain" which was released this past Fall. Some of the songs from my show on Sunday are on the recording. Her CD is available for downloads from Amazon. Now one last question. I realize this is a bit premature, but how would you like to be remembered? This time a long pause before she responds seriously. That’s a diffcult question. I strive to bring kindness, compassion and be honest, integrity into my life. I would like to be remembered for that.
Tickets to BEBE NEUWIRTH – STORIES WITH PIANO are available online: www.whbpac.org or by calling 631-288-1500 or visit the theater box office seven days a week from Noon till 8pm.
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