From Middler to Midler….Really (again)?

Acting with Bette Midler
By Behn Cervantes
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 18:47:00 01/07/2011

Art work: Barbara A.

Filed Under: Americas – United States, Entertainment (general)
THE UNIVERSITY of Hawaii’s Department of Theater used to stage different productions regularly at the Kennedy Theatre.

As an East West Center scholar in theater, I auditioned for some of those productions and was cast in “Oedipus Rex,” “The Threepenny Opera” and Moliere’s “The Misanthrope.” The Greek classic was directed by Dr. Earle Ernst.

Ernst believed in the “uber marionette” concept of theater, which has actors as directors’ puppets. Certainly, this was contradictory to the Stanislavski method–but, hey, he was the chairman of the department. Therefore, actors learned their lines by memorizing a taped delivery as interpreted (and recorded) by Ernst himself!

One avid theater fan was Jean King, an attractive Japanese-American who, years later, became the Lieutenant Governor of the state of Hawaii.

One of the most talented and best-reviewed performers was a high school student named Bette Middler, who dropped the extra “d” in her name when she became famous. In the “The Misanthrope,” I sang a song composed especially for the production. I was the only Asian in the cast.

The actor I’m pointing to is named Chris. He and Bette were cast in another production as the original missionaries who went to the Hawaiian islands to convert inhabitants to Christianity.

Later, Bette went to New York to follow the advice of a critic, who wrote, “This girl belongs on the Broadway stage!” After working as a waitress in Greenwich Village, Bette was eventually cast as one of the daughters in “Fiddler On The Roof.”

Midler’s unique talent and sense of humor made her the star of New York’s gay baths. She altered her singing style, which was then too similar to Barbra Streisand’s. Thereafter, her star started to shine on its own!

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7 thoughts on “From Middler to Midler….Really (again)?

  1. OMG I didn’t know Behn Cervantes knew Bette:) Behn Cervantes is a well respected film critic/director/actor/professor in the Philippines. I’ve met him once when I was in the Philippines. Had I known I would have asked him a lot of questions about Bette lol! The first one being, is it really Middler or Midler? I wasn’t aware of this until now:). Next time I’m in Manila, I will have to seek him out:).

    1. Everybody,,,it;s a small world afterall, it’s a small world afterall!…that’s neat Anne….interview him and we’ll publish it. Now, on another note, I don’t buy the two d thing either.

  2. I know Mr. D:), small world 🙂 I’m trying to get a hold of someone in Manila to locate where Mr. Cervantes is lol! so I could correct him lol! I don’t believe the 2 ds either — first time I’ve heard of this. And all these years, even Bette’s high school classmates in Hawaii spell her last name with one d:)

    1. Also, why would her whole family drop the extra “d”. You know her dad wouldn’t approve nor would he do it….

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