Happy Tuesday Framers!
I hope all of you stay warm today!
In a really well-written musical, you talk until you just can’t talk anymore, you’re going to have to sing. And when you’re just so full you can’t sing anymore, then you have to dance. It’s a natural progression.
Beatrice “Bebe” Neuwirth was born in Princeton, New Jersey, the daughter of Sydney Anne, a painter, and Lee Paul Neuwirth, a mathematician. She has an older brother Peter, an actuary. Neuwirth is Jewish, and attended Chapin School in New Jersey as well as Princeton Day School (New Jersey) of Princeton, but graduated from Princeton High School (a public school) in 1976. She began to study ballet at the age of five, and chose it as her field of concentration when she attended Juilliard in New York City in 1976 and 1977, during which time she performed with the Princeton Ballet Company in Peter and the Wolf, The Nutcracker, and Coppélia, also appearing in community theater musicals. Neuwirth always dreamed of becoming a ballet dancer; the only other career she reportedly seriously contemplated was being a veterinarian.
Neuwirth made her Broadway debut in the role of Sheila in A Chorus Line in 1980. She later appeared in revivals of Little Me (1982) Sweet Charity (1986), for which she won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical, and Damn Yankees (1994). 1996 saw her play Velma Kelly in the Broadway revival of Chicago. That role brought her her greatest stage recognition to date, and several awards including the Tony Award, Drama Desk Award and Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical. Neuwirth would later return to the still-running revival of Chicago in 2006, this time as Roxie Hart.
She appeared in a musical revue Here Lies Jenny, that featured songs by Kurt Weill, sung and danced by Neuwirth and a four-person supporting cast, as part of an unspoken ambiguous story in an anonymous seedy bar possibly in Berlin in the 1930s. The show ran from May 7 through October 3, 2004, in the Zipper Theater in New York City. Here Lies Jenny was also presented by Neuwirth in San Francisco in 2005. In 2009, Neuwirth toured a one-woman cabaret show with pianist Scott Cady. The cabaret included music by Kurt Weill, Stephen Sondheim, Tom Waits, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, John Kander and Fred Ebb amongst others. In 2010, she returned to Broadway to create the role of Morticia Addams in the original production of The Addams Family opposite Nathan Lane.
Her screen credits include Green Card, Bugsy, Say Anything…, Jumanji, All Dogs Go to Heaven 2, Extreme Goofy Movie, Liberty Heights, Tadpole (for which the Seattle Film Critics named her Best Supporting Actress), How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, La Divorce, Malice, The Big Bounce, The Faculty, Fame and Woody Allen’s Celebrity.
On television, from 1986 to 1993 Neuwirth played Dr. Lilith Sternin, who married Dr. Frasier Crane in the hit comedy series Cheers. From the fourth to the seventh season, Neuwirth portrayed Lilith in a regular recurring role, and she appeared on the show as a main star from season eight to the final season, season eleven. Like Kelsey Grammer when he started on the show as Frasier Crane, she was not immediately given star billing in the opening credits, but at the end for seasons eight and nine; she appeared in the opening credits with her own portrait in seasons ten and eleven. She auditioned for this role with her arm in a sling, following a fall a week earlier. She won two Emmy Awards for the role, in 1990 and 1991. The character also made an appearance in the series Wings and in 12 episodes of the Cheers spin-off Frasier, which earned her a 1995 Emmy Award nomination as Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series.
Other small-screen credits include a guest appearance in the first season of NewsRadio, a small role on The Adventures of Pete and Pete (episode: “The Call”), Deadline (2000), Hack (2003), Law & Order: Trial by Jury (2005), Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999 as a modeling agent/suspect; 2005 as A.D.A Tracey Kibre), and the miniseries Wild Palms and the fourth season Star Trek: The Next Generation episode, First Contact, as Lanel. She appeared as herself in episodes of Will and Grace, Strangers with Candy and Celebrity Jeopardy!. In 2009, she co-starred as Ms. Kraft in the remake of Fame. She recently had a recurring role as Caroline, the literary editor of Jonathan Ames, on the HBO series Bored to Death. She’s also appeared in shows like Blue Bloods, The Good Wife, and Sabrina the Teenage Witch as well as provided voice overs for various cartoons.
All That Jazz and Hot Honey Rag
I’m A Brass Band
Fun Facts about Miss Bebe Neuwirth
As of mid-January 2014, Bebe Neuwirth will have played all three of the principle female roles in the long-running Broadway Revival of Chicago. She was in the revival’s original cast as Velma Kelly, and won the 1997 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical. In 2007, Neuwirth did a stint as Roxie Hart, and in 2014, she returned to the show again, this time playing Warden “Mama” Morton.
Her husband, Chris Calkins is is the founder of Destino vineyards in Napa Valley.
After Cheers (1982) went off the air, she got a lot of offers from TV and film essentially asking her to pretty much play the same character. She was offered a regular role as Lilith on the Cheers (1982) spin-off, Frasier (1993) but she turned it down so she could go back to Broadway. She did guests spots on the show instead.
She raises money to help stray cats and dogs.
She had hip replacement surgery in 2006.
Has won two Tony Awards: in 1986 as Best Actress (Featured Role – Musical) for playing Nicki in a revival of “Sweet Charity;” and in 1997 as Best Actress (Musical) for playing Velma Kelly in a revival of “Chicago.”