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December 19, 2014

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Bernadette Peters: Queen of queens

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Firooz Zahed

Bernadette Peters.

Maybe it was purely by chance that Bernadette Peters was booked to perform at UNLV's Ham Hall during this weekend of Gay Pride celebrations. However it happened, it's the happiest of coincidences, because Peters is the reigning empress of Broadway, and by rights, Ruler of All Show Queens.

"Hello, Joe, it's Bernadette," she says — her voice bubbles and giggles and glitters. Starstruck, I all but kneel in front of the phone.

You might not think of the Vegas Strip when you think of this Broadway baby, but Peters has a history with our town. Born in Queens, New York, the actress first played Vegas at age 13 when a road company of Gypsy played the Riviera. Later she would develop a lifelong, career-defining collaborative relationship with preeminent musical-theater composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim.

The Details

Bernadette Peters
May 1, 8 p.m., $45-$90
UNLV's Ham Hall, 895-2787

Peters will be singing lots of — but not only — Sondheim on Sunday, of course, buoyed by a 26-piece orchestra. She'll also be singing a self-penned song that accompanies her new children's book, Stella Is a Star! "My passion is helping shelter animals," she says, "and this is my second book and my second song that I wrote. It's about a dog that doesn't think anyone likes her, so she's masquerading as a pig of the highest order, a princess pig. But it's really about not judging people so quickly from the outside, and also about learning to love and accept yourself for who you are. Which is something we usually have to learn how to do."

The book comes with a CD of Peters reading the story and singing the song. And then she is singing it to me. To me alone. Don't be afraid to be who you are/That's what I want to see...

And this show queen can now die happy.

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