Bernadette Peters interview: ‘Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist’
Bernadette Peters has earned her first Primetime Emmy nomination in 20 years thanks to her guest spot on “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist.” The Tony-winning actress reprised her role as Deb, the vivacious friend of Maggie (Mary Steenburgen) who bonds with her over the loss of their husbands. Peters embraced the challenge of playing such an outgoing role. “I love playing different types of characters and this character is so not me,” says Peters in an exclusive new webchat with Gold Derby. “She’s gregarious, and an extrovert, which is totally the opposite of who I am.” Watch the video interview above.
Peters was drawn to “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” before she was even offered the part in Season 1. She recalls seeing commercials for the NBC series and wanting to watch it. “It’s musical, it looks fabulous,” she remembers thinking. “And then I was offered to be on it, so that was the extra little gift.” Most of Peters’ scenes are shared with Steenburgen, who she surprisingly had not worked with before despite being contemporaries in the industry since the ’70s. “I just couldn’t have asked for a lovelier partner,” praises Peters. “She’s such a fabulous actress and I adore her, so it was all such a wonderful, wonderful experience.”
One aspect of “Zoey’s” that delighted Peters was the chance to sing different kinds of songs. In her Emmy submission, “Zoey’s Extraordinary Girls’ Night,” she performs a cover of Sia‘s “Cheap Thrills,” which she got to perform live on the set. “I just love doing that, rather than lip-syncing,” explains Peters. “It’s very hard to be spontaneous so they were so accommodating and let me just sing it live.” She also performed a duet of Gwen Stefani‘s “Rich Girl,” which borrows heavily from the “Fiddler on the Roof” song “If I Were a Rich Man.” “I had to unlearn the song that I’ve been so used to growing up, being a Broadway baby,” she admits.
As a theater legend, Peters has spent much of the past year and a half trying to provide for her fellow Broadway actors who have been out of work since the pandemic. This includes raising money for The Actors Fund to help those hardest hit in the community. She remains hopeful that Broadway will come roaring back soon. “They’re still working out,” notes Peters, of what will be required of audiences when Broadway returns. Either way, she states, “We can’t wait for theater to come back.”