Bette Midler Vamps It Up in Vegas
Posted on January 17, 2011 by admin
By ROBERT RORKE
ONCE upon a time, Bette Midlerâ€™s audience went clubbing until dawn and caught her show at the famed and bygone Continental Baths.
These days, theyâ€™re more likely to go to a huge theater like the Colosseum at Caesarâ€™s Palace, where the Divine Miss M concluded a two-year residency â€“ or enjoy her in their homes, where, on New Yearâ€™s Eve, they can catch
â€œThe Showgirl Must go Onâ€ on HBO.
Midler, 65, duly notes the passing of time at the beginning of her revue. â€œThirty years ago, my audience was on drugs; now, theyâ€™re on medication,â€ she says.
the singer and actress knows how to put the â€œshowâ€ in showgirl, serving up a melange of Grammywinning songs (â€œWind Beneath my Wingsâ€) and campy production numbers such as â€œPretty Legs, Great Big Knockers,â€ whose music is punctuated with the bawdy stories told by a character that Midler calls Soph.
â€œSalty songs and bawdy jokes put my daughter through private school,â€ Midler quips.
the stage at the Colosseum is huge, as long as a runway, and the largest Midler has ever worked on, but she fi lls it nicely with a 13-piece band, the Caesar Salad Girls and the staggering Harlettes, her longtime backup singers (among whose alumni is actress Katey Sagal of FXâ€™s â€œSons of Anarchy.â€) Midler credits the look of the show to production designer Michael Levine and the dance moves to her longtime choreographer Toni Basil. â€œShe should be a judge on â€˜Dancing With the Stars,â€™â€ Midler says. â€œSheâ€™sa genius.â€
After Midler signed to do the Vegas engagement, she said it was in the works, on paper, for a year and that she â€œmade a lot of expensive mistakes but didnâ€™t stick with them.â€
Whatâ€™s on view is essentially a greatest hits show that never changed during the two-year run. â€œWhat you do when you open is pretty much what you end up doing,â€ Midler says. â€œThe problems is that everything is on a cue. the lights and videos are automated. you canâ€™t say, Iâ€™ll do this now and then change your mind.â€
While doing the Vegas show, Midler realized that the Nevada city has become a destination for tourists worldwide. â€œThe crowds were fantastic. I met people from Australia, Liverpool, Holland.â€
Now that sheâ€™s back home in New York, Midler has turned her attention to several projects. one is the Broadway adaptation of the fi lm â€œPriscilla, Queen of the Desert,â€ on which she is an associate producer. it opens at the end of March at the Palace Theater. On April 12, she will join James Taylor and other musicians to celebrate Carnegie Hallâ€™s 120th anniversary.
she is also istening to new songs, looking for the next â€œFrom A Distance.â€ And, as always, there is her ongoing work with the New York Restoration Project, the environmental group that cleaned up Fort Tryon Park, saved community gardens from commercial development, and transformed an illegal dumping ground along the Harlem River into the fi ve-acre Swindler Cove Park and adjacent Peter Jay Sharp Boathouse. On the agenda are plans to build a footpath that extends from Highbridge Park in upper Manhattaninto the Bronx.
â€œIt just had to be done,â€ she says of her work to repair the cityâ€™s ragged edges. â€œIâ€™m very proud of the very physical work. you can build, but if you donâ€™t maintain what youâ€™ve done, youâ€™re dead in the water. And we maintain.â€ BETTE MIDLER: THE SHOWGIRL MUST GO ON 9 p.m, HBO
Originally published by ROBERT RORKE.
(c) 2010 the New York Post. provided by ProQuest LLC. all rights Reserved.
A service of YellowBrix, inc.