Bebe Neuwirth Is Old-School

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Photo: Charles Eshelman/WireImage

Name: Bebe Neuwirth

Age: 52

Neighborhood: Greenwich Village

Occupation: Actress–Dancer–Singer. On October 3 at the Abrons Art Center she shares the stage with fellow Broadway stars Brenda Braxton, Jason Danieley, Marin Mazzie, Roger Rees, Karen Ziemba, and more in a benefit performance for Henry Street Settlement and Equine Advocates.

Who's your favorite New Yorker, living or dead, real or fictional?
John Lennon.

What's the best meal you've eaten in New York?
Eggs and grits at the old Pink Tea Cup on Grove Street.

In one sentence, what do you actually do all day in your job?
Today I had a board meeting at the Actors Fund, participated in a ceremony acknowledging a 50-year veteran of IATSE Local 1, and spent a couple hours in a sound studio editing my new CD recording. (No time for ballet class.)

What was your first job in New York?
I was a hostess at the Brasserie on 53rd and Park, graveyard shift: 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. I was terrible at the job. I said "Bon soir" and "Bon appetit" to the well-heeled inebriated straggling in straight from Studio 54 and Regines (late '77–early '78).

What's the last thing you saw on Broadway?
Opening night of Driving Miss Daisy. It was just wonderful. A beautiful play, played by three fantastic actors. Simple and elegant.

Do you give money to panhandlers?
Sometimes.

What's your drink?
Wine from Gigondas. Red wine and dark chocolate — yeah!

How often do you prepare your own meals?
About a third of the time, my husband does the other two-thirds. Everything Chris makes is delicious. I excel in timing the pasta and making pizza.

What's your favorite medication?
Tiger Balm.

What's hanging above your sofa?
Two large watercolors painted by my mother, artist Sydney Neuwirth. They're giant, sort of impressionist, single blossoms in deep reds and pinks. It's good to live with art created by loved ones. (Shameless mother-promotion: sydneyneuwirth.com.)

How much is too much to spend on a haircut?
I can justify any amount if I make an equal size donation to a charity.

When's bedtime?
1:30 a.m.

Which do you prefer, the old Times Square or the new Times Square?
The old (pre-Giuliani) Times Square.

What do you think of Donald Trump?
I think he might make a good philanthropist …

What do you hate most about living in New York?
Noise. Both aural and visual.

Who is your mortal enemy?
Cruelty.

When's the last time you drove a car?
Last weekend. I go out of the city most weekends.

How has the Wall Street crash affected you?
Not much. I've also stuck my head in the sand, so ...

Times, Post, or Daily News?
The New York Times on paper. I'm old-school.

Where do you go to be alone?
Underwater.

What makes someone a New Yorker?
At least 184 nights per year of residency.