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Bernadette Peters, the Broadway favorite who infuses all her work with great humanity and exudes a palpable warmth that spreads over audiences like welcome sunshine, has a new male in her life: Seven-month-old Charlie, who "looks like a Labradoodle mixed with a wirehair pointer," the two-time Tony-winning actress told me earlier this week.
"I was performing, and I was going through Texas," Peters further explains. "I was visiting a shelter, and [Charlie] looked so much like [her late, beloved] Kramer, and Stella [Peters' other pooch] had been really grieving. I'd wake up in the morning to her crying, and she'd be looking at Kramer's bed. It was breaking my heart.
"So now she's got a companion that wants to wrestle with her!" Peters says with a laugh. "And, she's 15! But, you know, she gets by. She's okay. They kiss each other, too!"
Peters has long had an affection for our canine friends, and she's poured that love into Broadway Barks, the annual dog and cat adopt-a-thon benefiting New York City animal shelters and adoption agencies that she co-founded with pal and fellow actress Mary Tyler Moore nearly 15 years ago. Peters, whose Broadway resume now boasts leading roles in five Stephen Sondheim musicals (Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Woods, Gypsy, A Little Night Music and Follies) is especially proud that Broadway Barks has "become part of the community, and it's become their event. Broadway celebrities love it and really want to be part of it. You know, it's the sweetest thing. The fella that's starring in Once, Steve Kazee, was giving an interview, and he said, 'Before I was on Broadway, I would stand on the sidelines, and I'd watch Broadway Barks, and I thought, "One day I'm going to be able to go up and be in Broadway Barks!"' That's so sweet!"
It's a busy time for Peters, who has several concert engagements lined up throughout the year, including two upcoming gigs in New Jersey; a scheduled return to NBC's Broadway-themed musical series "Smash"; and the eagerly awaited release of her new film, "Coming Up Roses."