BootLeg Betty

A Work In Progress? Aren’t We All, Mr. Brown?

Mister D: Loved the Robin Leach dig or maybe it wasn’t. Just shows he’s rude…BUT….this is what I call a snarky “preview.” And can we please get rid of the semantics with this “preview – review” shit (and I know this is what it is called, but when you’re making judgements…it’s a review to me.) Either you went, you saw, you loved, you liked, you have absoluteky no opinion, you dislike, you hate…or you’re lazy and write this piece of shinola. Yes, there is work to be done, but there was a lady on stage who deserves a little more respect than than this toss off. And there was plenty of show material to riff on. You, Mr. Brown, took a snarky approach which was a review and not a “preview.” But I don’t know you, so maybe this is your “schtick.”

Next Big Thing? Working on it.
Bette Midler still polishing show for Caesars
By Joe Brown
Wed, Feb 20, 2008 (2 a.m.)

If You Go

* What: Bette Midler in “The Showgirl Must Go On”
* Where: The Colosseum at Caesars Palace
* When: 7:30 p.m. Tues.-Wed. and Fri.-Sun.
* Tickets: $95-$250, 731-7333, www.harrahs.com

The day has dawned, the panting can stop. The Next Big Thing on the Strip is now open for business at Caesars Palace: the Bette Midler boutique.

Merchandisers have plundered pop culture warehouses for relics and souvenirs spanning Midler’s millennium in showbiz. That’s a lot of tchotckes. The singer/actress/comedian/philanthropist has been in the business for more than 40 years. In a career arc that has seen her go from campy kitsch retro-diva to Disney comedian to Johnny Carson’s favorite guest to ballad-belting earth mother and comforter to us all, Midler has racked up four No. 1 hits (Mister D: Incorrect, altho I wish it were true), four Grammy Awards, four Emmys and one Tony.

Among the Midlerabilia on offer: A signed, Swarovski crystal-encrusted ukulele. A “Divinity for Dummies” T-shirt. “Baby Divine” diaper-covering onesies. Baccarat crystal vases with etched autographs. Of course the store is soundtracked with purchase-promoting greatest hits, with a canned, crooning loop of the “The Rose” and other chestnuts on repeat mode from ceiling speakers. (Mister D: actually it’s a “Kiss My Brass” video loop) In a few months she’ll have to share shelf space with Cher, but for now it’s all Bette. (Mister D: See kids, they really do get along!)

And there’s the little matter of the show next door.

It’s … sparkly. And still shaky.

And it opens tonight at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace: “The Showgirl Must Go On.”

Can Midler possibly compare — commercially and artistically — with the mass-appeal monolith that was Cirque du Celine?

Midler braved two dress rehearsals in the 4,100-seat Colosseum on Sunday (Mister D: This is the one I attended) and Monday night before an invited audience, presumably stocked with family and friendlies. And although this is not a review of the show ­— critics are expressly gagged until sitting through the “official” Feb. 29 media performance — I can say that Midler and her crew are going to need every minute of the next 10 days to make it work.

And maybe a miracle.

And maybe even Barry Manilow.

Very much a work in progress, “Showgirl” may even require that most Vegas of renovations — demolition and reconstruction.


Here’s what I dare whisper about what I saw and heard:

Think pink. And vaudeville. Vegas Classic.

The new stage doesn’t look as physically dangerous as Dion’s did. But it is vast. And Midler, 62, repeatedly joked about being exhausted (let’s hope she was kidding), collapsing and panting on the floor. “That’s what happens when you do your own singing,” she cracked.

She’s contracted to perform five shows a week for two years.

Midler described her show Monday night as “a modest entertainment with a mere $10 million budget … And 44 (breasts)!”

Her math may be off: I counted 20 “Caesar Salad Girl” chorines and three Staggering Harlettes backup singers.

You get to see them a lot. And a lot of them.

Midler waited about 10 minutes into her 90-minute act before making her first dig at Dion.

The 14 white-jacketed musicians are mostly in plain sight — including Las Vegas’ own six-piece Fat City Horns. Midler knows her audience: “Thirty years ago, my audience was all on drugs. Now they’re all on medication.”

Other Monday night revelations: You can buy rhinestone-trimmed panties in the lobby. And Robin Leach doesn’t turn his cell phone off during shows.

Can’t think of any must-hear hit she missed.

Go ahead, guess which song she picked for her final number.

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15 thoughts on “A Work In Progress? Aren’t We All, Mr. Brown?

  1. ummmmm….final….

    Wind Beneath My Wings?

    ok, I called it…I knew it….you did go!

    ET and EXTRA alert….DVR, set….I’m jus’sayin…

    thanks for THIS….how FAB….I love PINK…my fave color…and looks like I’ll be buying some new panties there, too!! LoL!!

    Thanks for all the juicy dish! ! g

  2. One of you is correct about the finale….:-)

    G: Get those panties and work em girl!!!!

    Yes, I was there, but I was called in at the last minute. Some trashy people with really good seats must have cancelled, so they replaced them with more trashy people….in fabulous seats I might add. Bruce Vilanch was behind us!!!! LOL

    Love, D

    PS: G-I posted about the Today Show and I think it’s at the top of the page in that silver bar, BUT I think I’m going to have to come up with a better way…thanks a lot for making me have to rack my brains out…:-)

  3. Hey Brandon:

    Yes, first night. I wanted to see the first run through because I knew it would be raw and I like to see how a pro handles mistakes….LOL I’ll be doing a little piece on my trip…and go thru what I saw.

    I know for sure there will be changes made, probably within the week. I have the list of what’s in and what’s out…you’ll be able to tell from other people’s reviews if they send them in.

    I couldn’t have asked for better seats or a better time….thanks for the congrats…some people are getting mad….whatever!

    Love, D

  4. Mr. D.,

    People are getting mad at you?! It must be pure jealousy! I can’t wait to read about your experiences. When will you be posting that? I’m looking forward to it…

    By the way, I will gladly e-mail you about my experiences when I see the show on March 01. I’m, of course, in so much debt for going and will be in even more after shopping at the store, but it’s SO worth it. HaHa!

    Kyle

  5. Kyle: I know what you mean about going broke. WE got the hell out of Las Vegas as quick as possible, but the Bette store broke me….there will be a price to pay come next month…

    Thank you in advance for your review.

    I was going to try and write about my experience late tonight. I’m really not sure of what I can tell…I don’t want to piss Bette or her asst. off. Like I said, first run throughs are very interesting and Bette was a pro….

    You better buy a BetteHeads T-shirt. There’s even a little kiss and her signature on the back. I wrote and told them it was too expensive, so let me know how much it was….

    Love. D

  6. Hey Don,

    Fuck ’em! Of course I’d love to go, but I’m not going to be jealous and pissy at the people that do get to go. You definitely deserved to be there.

    My 21st birthday is March 4th… and Bette will be performing that night… so, maybe my parents will give me a trip =)

    Dream on… dream on…

  7. When you wish up a star, your dreaaaaaams cooooome trueeeee.

    Actually, I think I have my Manilow concert partner talked in to going to Vegas with me =) So I’m going to try to save up for summer.

    Go there and see Bette one night, Barry the next night… Heaven, I’m in Heaven…

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