Bebe Neuwirth on the Part of a Stage That Feels Like Home

Bebe Neuwirth on the Part of a Stage That Feels Like Home

Even when Bebe Neuwirth isn’t dancing, she’s dancing.

“I’m a dancer first,” she mentioned in a cellphone interview from her condo in Greenwich Village. “I’m a bodily performer, and that impulse, that expression doesn’t go away even when I’m standing nonetheless and listening to somebody.”

Neuwirth, 65, is a Tony Award nominee for her efficiency as Fräulein Schneider in “Cabaret” and is already a two-time winner for her roles in “Sweet Charity” in 1986 and “Chicago” in 1997. She has additionally gained followers for her tv work on the Julia Child dramedy “Julia” and the long-running sitcom “Cheers.” But it’s theater that retains calling her again.

“I’ve been onstage since I used to be 7,” she mentioned. “It’s my dwelling.”

On a wet afternoon, Neuwirth mentioned her love for the town’s Art Deco buildings, why the Jersey Shore is magical in winter and the place to seek out one of the best softball in Manhattan. These are edited excerpts from the dialog.


Some of my first flea markets have been on the Rose Bowl, and now I search them out wherever I’m. I’m going right down to the one below the Manhattan Bridge typically. Most of my home is crammed with issues I’ve collected from flea markets, however I’m at all times trying.


For the final 40 years, on and off, I’ve been going to ceramics studios and throwing clay, hand constructing clay. I really like spending time there. Friendships get made similar to they do in ballet class.


I don’t have one — although I do have three cats — so I really like strolling by way of a canine park and watching them play and work together. I really like large canines — German shepherds, Doberman pinschers, huskies, Weimaraners. And I like small canines who’re actually large canines at coronary heart. I really like Pomeranians as a result of these tiny little fluff balls are literally enormous canines on the within — they crack me up!


The Broadway theaters and their unions play on this very well-organized league, with playoffs and champions, and it’s an exquisite day within the park with family and friends. I performed on a group a few years in the past, however now I similar to to observe.


Some simply appear to be interval buildings from the skin, however you then go into the lobbies, and so they have this magnificent stonework and metalwork and gratings and railings. And the aesthetic continues into the elevator. I visited a pal who works on the sting of the diamond district on Fifth Avenue, and I used to be like “Holy Toledo, this constructing is superb.”


When I turned 50, my husband and I went to a seaside on the Jersey Shore on my birthday, which is New Year’s Eve. To be on the seaside in a blizzard, with the raging seas and the seaside lined in sand and the whipping snowflakes in my face, was paradise.


Years in the past, I went to see a efficiency by a Butoh firm with an excellent pal of mine, Mimi Quillin, who can be a Fosse dancer — we danced in “Sweet Charity” collectively. Then we took a Butoh workshop there, which was pleasant. They do lovely issues there and herald fascinating artists.


I really like the texture and the potential of the actually old-school ones, that are sort of gone now. There was one on the Lower East Side the place I may simply really feel what number of artists had walked by way of there, whether or not they have been scuffling with their work or on a roll.


I dwell shut sufficient that I can typically hear the music, cheering and chanting coming over. I like to observe the individuals and the canines — there are such a lot of characters, so many neighborhoods inside the park. It’s additionally a artistic place. People haul out a piano and play it beneath the arch for these nice acoustics, individuals faucet dance, individuals will busk. There’s nowhere else prefer it.


Standing in a wing looks like my dwelling, bodily and religious. I really like older theaters specifically — the brand new ones don’t have as many ghosts.


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