Catching Up with Bebe Neuwirth


By Dustin Fitzharris

But they write what they want anyway.
You're right, and I don't understand why. I don't understand the appetite for reading that. It's a little depressing when you think about it because the answer is that people often write these things because that's what people want to read. Why? Isn't there enough really horrifying news in the world? Wouldn't you rather read about how Nathan and I make each other laugh in rehearsal?

What's it like working with Nathan?
He's really funny! He's really nice, and we get along really well. I joked to him that we should go to some restaurant where all those people [gossip columnists] go and get a booth and make out. Then they can start calling us Bethan!

You are about to celebrate your first wedding anniversary to Chris Calkins, the founder of Napa Valley's Destino Vineyard. What's Chris like?
He's wonderful. He's such a good guy.

What attracted you to him?
On our first day I saw a quality in him that was so unusual, and it's one of the things that I fell in love with him. He's completely open. He's curious. He's seen a lot. He's not some ingenue with sparking eyes. He's seen a lot and his eyes are still sparkling and open.

Is he living in New York with you?
Yes. He's with his wife [laughs].

Earlier this year the Human Rights Campaign honored you with its Ally for Equality Award. What did that mean to you?
It was a huge, huge honor. I got to learn a lot more about the HRC. I was so inspired. I was just filled with awe. My husband too. Both of our jaws just dropped at the work that they do and the people they drew. I don't know how many politicians made sure that they were there. It just inspires me to do more.

Was there ever a moment when you thought, I have a gay following?
I guess it sort of crept up on me. It wasn't anything that seemed...

Were there ever Bebe Neuwirth drag queens running around?
No. It didn't seem unusual in any way. It was like, 'Oh, right.' I think somebody pointed it out to me. Maybe when I did Out's fifth anniversary cover when I was in Chicago. I was like, 'Oh really? Great.'

On April 20 you will reunite with Kelsey Grammer to present the Drama League Award nominations. He's also back on Broadway in the revival of La Cage aux Folles. When was the last time you saw him?
He came to the show at one of our first previews, so we had a brief visit backstage after the show.