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Bernadette Peters revels in puppy love, alt-TV success

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Bernadette Peters plays the Palace of Fine Arts in The City on Saturday. (Courtesy Andrew Eccles)

She’s played the Palace in New York, but never in the one in San Francisco… until now. Tony-winner Bernadette Peters, traveling with piano, bass and drums led by longtime friend and music director, composer Marvin Laird (“Ruthless!”), is bypassing Davies Hall and spending Saturday night at the Palace of Fine Arts.

Known primarily for her work on Broadway, particularly in shows composed by Stephen Sondheim, Peters also has a very healthy television resume. She headlined “All’s Fair” in the late 1970s with Richard Crenna, voiced a cartoon cat on “Animaniacs,” and, more recently, carried extended story arcs on “Ugly Betty” and “Smash.”

The age-defying beauty, 68, is riding a crest of alt-TV success with a fourth season of “Mozart in the Jungle” streaming on Amazon and the launch of “The Good Fight” on the subscription-based CBS All Access.

She’s delighted with both jobs, highlighting incredible writing for “Fight,” and “Mozart” having great cast chemistry: “We get along. We care about each other. There no bad eggs in there.”

One of the really good eggs in her estimation is co-star Malcolm McDowell, who brings a wonderful quirkiness to the proceedings. “You want him on the red carpet with you because you don’t know what he’s going to say!”

She feels a greater level of freedom outside the boundaries of broadcast television. “It can be something as simple as what you wear, that you don’t have to stick with what the network picked that day. Amazon definitely has a say in the scripts, but you feel a little freer to share your ideas.”

Unfortunately for Broadway, she’s not been hearing a siren song lately from the Great White Way.

“There hasn’t been anything offered that’s been irresistible. Eight times a week, ya know? You have to really want to commit to that.”

She does remain committed to Broadway Barks, the pet adoption program she founded with the late Mary Tyler Moore in 1999. “Mary had a pitbull, a schnauzer, and a golden retriever — all at the same time,” Peters recalls. “I still can’t believe she’s gone. We’re going to have a few tributes to her honor throughout the event and we’ve established an award in her name.”

Peters, proud mama to wirehair pointer-Labradoodle mix Charlie and pitbull Rosalie, is pleased that the tide is turning in favor of dog adoption. “So many people are now aware of puppy mills and are rescuing dogs rather than buying them. They understand that rescue dogs are great dogs. That there’s nothing wrong with them. They’re not bad or defective, just homeless.”

Bernadette Peters
Where: Palace of Fine Arts, 3301 Lyon St., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. May 13
Tickets: $95 to $140
Contact: (866) 663-1063,www.ticketfly.com

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