AP Press Agency
Midler makes comic ‘oops’ ahead of show
5th May 2007, 14:05 WST
Showing the comedic touch Bette Midler hopes to bring to her new show at Caesars Palace, the entertainer has poked fun at the panty-less photos of Britney Spears circulating on the internet. Midler, wearing a skirt, was about to sit on a pile of Louis Vuitton luggage, signifying her move to the desert, when she nearly slipped backward in front of a horde of photographers and onlookers. “Oh! I almost pulled a Britney,” she said. “I’ll sit over there, it’s a little safer.”
Promoters officially announced Thursday that Midler, 61, signed a two-year contract to perform 100 shows a year at the Caesars Palace venue that now showcases Celine Dion, starting February 20 (sic 2008).
Dion announced in January that she would end her run at the end of the year in the $US95 million ($A115 million), 4,100-seat Colosseum. Midler also said she looked forward to coming to Las Vegas – for the food.
“I’m looking forward to it, there are so many places to eat in Las Vegas. It’s going to take me two years to get through half of them,” she said.
Quote of the day
“We’re definitely going to have skimpily clad humans of some kind, some gender or another. We’re not really sure which one.” Showgirl BETTE MIDLER on her upcoming Las Vegas show, which will replace Celine Dion’s long-running A New Day at Caesar’s Palace.
Q+A: Bette Midler
Get ready for laughs, maybe tears
By Jerry Fink, Las Vegas Sun
Las Vegas Sun
Photo: Truscello (Say What?)
Sometimes the rumors are true.
Bette Midler will replace Celine Dion at the Colosseum, it will be (well, already was…)announced at a news conference today at Caesars Palace.
Dion’s reign ends in December.
Midler debuts Feb. 20. She has signed a two-year contract to perform one 90-minute show per night, five nights a week. It has long been rumored that Midler and Cher would alternate dates at the 4,100-seat Colosseum to replace Dion, who has performed 200 shows a year since March 2003. That is still a possibility – Midler’s contract is for 100 shows annually, leaving another 100 engagements to be filled.
Rock legend Elton John continues to headline 75 dates a year at the Colosseum, at least through the early part of next year. Other entertainers, including Jerry Seinfeld, headline at the venue when Dion and John are away.
One of the questions when Dion’s tenure began was whether she could fill the gargantuan, $95 million theater every night. Usually she did, and she has done it with some consistency for four years.
Now the question is whether the 5-foot-1 performer with the dynamite personality can fill Celine’s shoes.
The 61-year-old Midler, born in New Jersey and raised in Hawaii, has been entertaining fans with her high-energy performances for more than 40 years. In 1970 she and piano accompanist Barry Manilow performed in the bath houses in New York City. Manilow produced her first major album, “The Divine Miss M,” in 1972.
Midler recently discussed her upcoming engagement by phone from her home in New York City.
Q. Have you gotten any taller since your “Divine Miss Millennium” performance at Mandalay Bay on Dec. 31, 1999?
A: No, but I haven’t gotten any shorter.
Q: The Colosseum has a huge stage. Are you concerned about being dwarfed by the size?
A: No. I’m going to wear high heels.
Q: Your old friend and accompanist Barry Manilow is just down the street, at the Las Vegas Hilton. Have you talked to him about his show?
Q: Yes. He’s really having a great time. He’s really enjoying himself. He told me he loves it there.
Q: Did he influence your decision to accept the deal with Caesars?
A: He did tell me how much fun he was having. He did say it was the most fun he’d ever had, and that’s a good recommendation.
Q: vWhat motivated you to make the deal?
A: I love my show. I’ve been doing this show on and off for 35 years and every year they get a little bit bigger and harder to haul around. You go from one truck to two trucks, from two trucks to five trucks and five to 10 and once you get to 14 trucks you really feel bad. I really wanted to just sit in one place and see what I could come up with if I only sat in one place and didn’t have to pack up every night. So, this is an opportunity to do it. The Colosseum is an absolutely world-class theater. I thought I would die when I saw it. My God it’s uncanny. It’s just unbelievable. It’s like an opera house. When the opportunity came up and I saw what other people were doing in it I thought, “I think I can do it.” I had some confidence that I wasn’t going to drown in the experience. But I’ve been wrong before. Who knows what’s going to happen. It’s a kind of a challenge. What can I do imaginatively? How can I use this theater in the most imaginative way that would serve me and my group the most?
Q: Compare what you are going to do with what Celine has done at the Colosseum.
A: I thought what she did was very brave and I thought she was fabulous. I thought her dancing has gotten so brilliant. She didn’t have any trouble holding the stage. She had a lot of kids on the stage. I probably won’t have that many. I think I talk 15 times more than
she does. I talk and I tell jokes and I run around in a fish tail. And I have nudes. She doesn’t have nudes.
Q: So you like her show?
A: I thought her show was fabulous. Really, truly fabulous.
After I saw it I thought, “Holy cow. What am I going to do? How can I top that?” Everybody tried to calm me down and said : “Well, you know you’re not Celine. She has one of the most beautiful voices on Earth and you know that’s not what you do.” And I realized what I mainly do is I mainly make people laugh. Sometimes I make them cry. I have a peculiar take on life, which is somewhat irreverent. We’re not too high-tech and we’re not too low-tech and we like to have a good time. I think it’s going to be fun. It’s going to be great fun.
Q: What will you be doing in the show?
A: We’re going to sing as many hits as we can scrounge up. Some old songs. Some brand – new songs. Do some production numbers with nudes and some surprises. I think it’s going to be fun. It’s only an hour and a half. I’m used to doing two hours, so I don’t think it’s going to be too hard.
Q: Celine’s show was created by Franco Dragone, who worked with Cirque du Soleil for many years (“O,” “Mystere”). Her show has a kind of a Cirque feel to it, very artistic. What will your s be like?
A: We’re certainly going to be artful, too. Everybody wants to be artful. Nobody wants to be hack. So we’re going to be as artful as we can in revealing our low-rent self.
A: We’re definitely going for the showgirls. We’re definitely going to have feathers. We’re definitely going to have lots of things that sparkle because people love things that sparkle, and I do , too. It’s going to be a very feminine show and I think it’s going to be very lively and colorful, but more than anything else it’s going to be funny . And that’s the key because there’s not that much funny going on and that’s what people like the most.
Q: How far along are you in creating the show?
A: As a matter of fact we’re all sitting around the kitchen table right now and we’re poring through our research and talking about what works and doesn’t work and schedules and all that. It’s very, very preliminary because it starts in 2008.
Q: Might you move to Vegas?
A: I don’t expect to buy a big mansion. I’m very modest in some ways and very flamboyant in other ways. I’m trying very hard to be a good citizen and have a small carbon foot print and all that crap. I’m not sure what we’re going to do because I don’t know the town well enough. I came in a couple of days and drove around and tried to assess what life is like there on a day-to-day basis, not just sitting in a penthouse in a hotel, which can also be very nice, but I also want to be in a place that has windows that I can open. That’s very important to me. I like to be near certain amenities. I don’t know. I don’t know what the town has to offer. Someone will take me in hand, I’m sure, and help me out.
Q: How did the deal with Caesars come about?
A: I have no idea. All I know is one day something came over the fax machine and it sounded interesting and I started taking these meetings, and lo and behold, they were pretty decent people and they had a good idea and they bent over backward to make me feel comfortable and that was it. I liked all the people I met and I thought they were going to treat me fairly and it was going to give all the people I work with a lot of work and that’s key, too, because you tend to lose people when you don’t work. There’s a lot of practicality involved in it. Also, a lot of daydreams, and I think that’s what Vegas is like in a way – it’s a practical town and it also sells daydreams and I think I can be part of that.
Q: Is there anything else you can say about the show?
A: We’re just starting to put it together now. I don’t know what any of the numbers are or what any of it means. I’ve never worked with a cast as big as Celine’s. It’s kind of intimidating to have that many people on a stage with you. We’re just putting it together now. It’s very, very preliminary. There’s so much you could do. The possibilities are limitless. The stage, the theater. It was built so you could do whatever you can think of.