THEIR FAVORITE THINGS: Tony Winner and Chicago Star Bebe Neuwirth Shares Her Theatregoing Experiences

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26 Feb 2014

Bebe Neuwirth
Bebe Neuwirth

Playbill.com's feature series Their Favorite Things asks members of the theatre community to share the Broadway performances that most affected them as part of the audience.

This week we spotlight the choices of two-time Tony and Emmy Award winner Bebe Neuwirth, who won a 1997 Tony Award for her acclaimed portrayal of jazz-age killer Velma Kelly in the hit revival of Chicago, returned ten years later as merry murderess Roxie Hart and is now playing Matron "Mama" Morton for an eight-week limited engagement through March 9.

(Clicking on a name bolded in blue will take readers to that actor or show's entry in the Playbill Vault.)

Pippin

"I was 13 when I saw it. Ben Vereen gave the most electrifying, profound, and gorgeous performance; he blew my mind. That choreography, all of those beautiful dancers, that dark and elegant world of Fosse resonated very deeply for me. I left the theatre knowing exactly the kind of dancer I was going to aspire to be."

 

 

Chicago

 

"Jerry Orbach knocked me out; and he was so sexy! Chita and Gwen were a revelation - stunning, hysterical, pure genius. After the show my mother asked me if I still wanted to do this? I replied, 'Yes! More than ever!'"

 

 Glengarry Glen Ross

 

"Joe Mantegna's performance was magnificent. His monologue reminded me of a great man's virtuosic ballet variation - the bravado, the strength, the musicality. He owned the stage."

 

 The Piano Lesson

 

"A gorgeous play with a beautiful cast of truly great actors. It was an exquisite example of the finest in ensemble acting. And, Charles Dutton gave a monumental performance within that ensemble."

 

 

 Speed the Plow

 

 "Ron Silver, Joe Mantegna and David Mamet. Holy Cow. It was like watching two world-class athletes. Their connection to each other, to the language, to their characters; it was thrilling." 

 

 

Movin' Out

"What a wonderfully imagined, eloquently choreographed, beautifully danced evening. The section with the boys in Vietnam was devastating. Selya's Angry Young Man, Liz and Keith's pas de deux; just exquisite. Fantastic dancing, fantastic acting."

 

Grey Gardens

 

"Christine Ebersole! She created and inhabited a role utterly, deeply and completely. It was mystical. You know the part where she almost leaves, you think she might actually do it? I did not breathe. The silence in the audience told you no one was breathing. Just extraordinary."

 

 The Lieutenant of Inishmore

 

"I saw it three times. So brilliantly written, so brilliantly acted, such brilliant social commentary. (Such a lot to clean when the curtain came down!)"

Glass Menagerie

 

"Well I walked into the theatre, saw the fire escape reaching to the heavens, and started to cry. Perfectly eloquent simplicity. The stunning cast, led by the luminous Cherry Jones, was completely, absolutely, deeply devoted to the play - the characters and depth of their relationships and emotions. It was a heartbreakingly beautiful, perfect piece of theatre. John Tiffany's direction is brilliant. Always."

 

 

Chita's 80th Birthday Celebration

 

"She is a goddess. She is transcendent. She is our queen."