Bebe Neuwirth: TV Star Yearns for a Return to the Great White Way

Bebe Neuwirth was supposed to be in the thriller “Pacific Heights,” but her part ended up on the cutting room floor.

“I was a guest at a party and had two lines,” she says. “They (producers) were very kind. They sent a letter of apology and furnished a tape of my scene.”

Neuwirth, who won an Emmy this year as the acerbic Dr. Lilith Sternin-Crane on NBC’s “Cheers,” did make the final cut of Peter Weir’s new film “Green Card,” starring Gerard Depardieu and Andie MacDowell. Neuwirth plays Lauren, MacDowell’s vivacious friend who falls for Depardieu.

Weir, gushes Neuwirth, is the “perfect” director: “He is just great. He is very open to what the actor brings to the role and he makes the absolute right decision as to what to do and what not to do.”


And Depardieu was the “perfect” co-star: “I only hope that I will be able to learn from everything I saw him do. I hope I just absorbed it all.”

The New Jersey native began studying ballet at age 5 and attended the dance division at New York’s Juilliard School. Before Hollywood beckoned, she appeared on Broadway in “A Chorus Line,” “Little Me” and “Dancin’ ” and won a Tony Award for the revival of “Sweet Charity.”

This past summer she returned to the musical stage to play Cassie in “A Chorus Line” at the Las Palmas Theatre.

“I also played Cassie on the road,” she says. “This was the first time I had played it in nine years. It’s amazing, once the music started playing how my body took over--an incredible example of memory.”

Neuwirth is dying to go back to New York and do another Broadway musical. “I know when we did ‘Sweet Charity’ and did the ‘Big Spender’ and the ‘Something Better Than This’ numbers, the audience went nuts. There’s nothing more exciting.”