An Open Letter to Bernadette Peters
I wrote recently that I wouldn't be blogging for awhile but I had, Had, HAD to write this.
Dear Bernadette Peters:
I read online today that you had done a wonderful job on GREY'S ANATOMY last night. I had a full schedule for the day - my work load is enormous right now; and yet, having read what I read, I made an executive decision and did what I always do when I am alerted to a new Bernadette Peters performance.
I set my work aside and went to the DVR and watched the episode of the medical drama - something that would have waited until Sunday.
I want to say, Bernadette Peters, that I have loved you all my life. I actually do not even remember where my devotion to you as an artist, as a celebrity, as a beauty, as a public figure, began. It may have been on The Carol Burnett Show. It may have been in Silent Movie. I simply do not know; I only know that I cannot remember a time that I did not think "I sure do like that Bernadette Peters."
I have spent my life watching your work on film, on tv and, finally, onstage. I have never seen a performance you have given that did not move me, whether it was to tears, laughter or thought. I have placed you on my list of my favourite actresses - a list that includes Dame Judi Dench, Donna Murphy, Katharine Hepburn, Diane Lane and Alfre Woodard. I believe, quite simply, that you are an irreplaceable member of the arts community.
When I was getting ready to move to New York, friends asked me what I was planning to do there. I replied (always): "I'm going to photograph Bernadette Peters." In my days as a photographer I photographed many celebrities but I never got to do a portrait of you, a picture where I lit you and shot your image with my own unique eye. I got lucky, though; I was allowed to shoot the concerts of INTO THE WOODS and SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE. To that end, I achieved my dream.
I was justthisclose to you on two occasions but too shy to say hello.
The third time I was near you, I stopped you in a book store. You were looking at cook books and I sidled up beside you and said "may I whisper something in your ear?" You replied, "Of course". I told you that my friend Brady (standing nearby, watching me gather up my gumption to tell you this) and I had been talking about mind blowing theatrical experiences one day and that, the very next day, we went to see GYPSY. We sat in the fourth row and had a mind blowing theatrical experience because of you. Brady and I agree that yours is our favourite mama Rose we have ever seen (and I have seen a LOT of mama Roses).
Today I set my work aside to watch Grey's Anatomy. I sat on the sofa, weeping and thanking God for sending you our way and for giving us the gift of your heartbreaking beauty and unfathomable talent. I wouldn't want anyone to not know about my devotion to the great actresses Kathy Baker and Mariette Hartley, for I do (and always have) love them.
It's just that I love you more. I have loved you Longer.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, Bernadette Peters. I, genuinely, hope that someone who knows you will read this and direct your attention to it.
You have made this world a better place with your artistry.