MIKE WEATHERFORD: Midler ponders talent, tickets

MIKE WEATHERFORD: Midler ponders talent, tickets

Bette Midler was braggin’ on her showgirls.

Last summer, the star recalled recently, she went to the Gipsy club to watch “Rouge.” It’s a cabaret show directed by one of her dancers, Lisa Eaton, who performs it with 13 other “Caesars Salad Girls.”

“It was completely fabulous. They made their own costumes and picked their own music and choreographed it themselves, and it was hot, hot, hot.”

Then she pondered the eternal question. “I think there’s like a glitch somewhere … because there’s a lot of talent and the rooms are not booked the way they ought to be.”

It’s a disconnect we’re reminded of almost every time performers step out for a side venture. The good news is they keep trying. Last week it was a CD release party at the Freakin’ Frog by two of Midler’s singers, Shayna Steele and Kamilah Marshall.

Next Sunday, “Jersey Boys” star Rick Faugno returns to the South Point to support his solo album, “Songs My Idols Sang (And Danced!).” Last August, Faugno’s self-produced enterprise sold out one show and added a second. This time, South Point officials say the momentum has slowed in terms of advance sales.

Eaton showcases “Rouge” two more times — at 11 p.m. Thursday and Jan. 28 — before Midler’s show closes Jan. 31, making it harder to keep the effort united.

Like many a dancer, the Los Angeles-based Eaton says she had pondered, “What would I do if I had all these bodies, and music that I like, and could create whatever I want?”

Midler’s two-year run was “the paycheck that allowed me to not have to work three jobs at once.” Moreover, “Since we were in one place, I finally had the time and resources to put it together. I had a good crew of girls who were in the same boat.”

The next step is always the tough one: “Let’s get paid for this.”

“What I’m good at is choreographing and doing costumes. The business side I’m not as familiar with, but completely willing to learn and see what I need to do to get it into the right hands.”

Eaton might have noticed many shows are not on the Strip because the public clamors for them, but because performers have learned the mechanics of, say, using tickets as a reward for sitting through a condo time-share pitch.

This is where Midler’s outside perspective is a good reminder:

“They’ll take a chance on real estate, but they won’t take a chance on talent. That’s a crying shame,” she says.

“Because the talent is the reason people come. I know they find that hard to believe, (but) they come for the gorgeous girls, the food, the nightlife. They come for a manner of reasons, and it all has to do with people, not with buildings.”

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