The lights of Broadway were shining on the Schermerhorn on Saturday, June 23, as Bernadette Peters beeped, bopped and booped her way through some of her biggest hits with the Nashville Chamber Orchestra, all in the name of animal adoption. 

The concert, sponsored by recent Nashville arrival Pedigree and the Nashville Humane Association, was a smash from beginning to jaw-dropping end. Before the show, Ms. Peters took a moment to talk with O&AN about her gay audience, whether she’s a diamond or a rhinestone kind of girl and one of her favorite topics: her lifelong mission to help animals.

“I guess I’ve always been an animal lover," said Peters. "We had a golden retriever that passed away, and it was time to get another dog.  This time we figured we would rescue, so we went to  the shelters in New York.  We saw just how many dogs and cats are homeless and needed help.  All kinds – pedigree dogs and mixed dogs.” 

The Humane Association had something to sing about as well, with the unveiling of Teddy’s Wagon, a state-of-the-art 26’ Fleetwood Gearbox Travel Trailer converted into a customized mobile pet adoption unit. Peters was on hand to show her support for the project, and to get a look at the cute puppies that were being adopted. 

“You look in their faces and they’re just so beautiful.  And companion animals are here for us, to be our companions.  And it’s time for us to help them.  To help shelter animals get homes, to get them out of the shelters,” she added.

Teddy’s Wagon will be staffed by “Teddy’s Team,” which will consist of one Nashville Humane Association staff member and two certified pet adoption service volunteers.  It will travel on the weekends to scheduled sites throughout Nashville and Davidson County.  Teddy’s Wagon is equipped with a meet and greet room for potential adopters to spend time with their prospective pet and twelve stainless steel cages units with capability of transporting up to 10 additional pets in travel carriers to an off-site adoption location.  After touring the puppy mobile, Peters said, “There are a lot of important things in the world and this is one of them.”

But Peters left the cutesy pups behind as she sashayed onto the stage, looking hotter than ever at 59!  Her form-fitting gown twinkled beneath the stage lights as she belted showstopper after showstopper.  The evening began with a nod to her recent enormously successful run as Mama Rose in Gypsy, for which she received her seventh Tony Award nomination. 

She was unstoppable as she opened the show with “Let Me Entertain You” but brought down the house with the sultry “There Is Nothing Like A Dame.”  Her take on “Fever,” delivered appropriately enough from atop the piano, was absolutely electrifying!  There were also the standards that no BP show could be without: the encouraging “No One Is Alone” from Into The Woods, the heart-wrenching “Unexpected Song” from Song and Dance, and the glorious “Being Alive” from Company.  She strutted her way across the stage, obviously loving the Schermerhorn’s incredible music hall.  “This is a gorgeous new theater.  The acoustics are just beautiful,” she said.

Of course, the audience was a bit more than 10 percent (if you catch my drift). “I think that gay people are particularly sensitive.  They grow up feeling different, which everybody does, but they grow up very sensitive.  And they connect with great lyrics, and I love great lyrics,” noted Peters.

One has to wonder how much of Music City rubs off on our visitors when they stay in NashVegas.  I gave her the question ‘Diamonds or Rhinestones?’  Her reply:

“What?  Diamonds, are you kidding me?  Who wants rhinestones more than diamonds?  It’s cause they want a lot of them!  To me, one diamond suffices.”

Photo courtesy of Red Bull

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Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville

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