BetteBack: “Bette & Barry: Back to the Bathhouse” Performances Continuing Through September 12.

Theater Ink
Bette & Barry: Back to the Bathhouse
By John Rowell: August 8 ”“ 15

BATHTIME: Bette Midler has always joked that, no matter what she achieves in her professional life, her obituary will inevitably include the tagline: “Started career in gay bathhouse.” And the new cabaret show Bette & Barry: Back to the Bathhouse would seem to back her up on that. Faster than you can say “boogie-woogie bugle boy,” the glorious 1970s return in all their disco glory via Bette Midler tribute artist Donna Maxon, in which she portrays the (presumably inimitable) Divine Miss M performing a hilariously bawdy act of tunes, monologues and jokes, accompanied by Fonda Feingold as Miss M’s early (and young) musical aide-de-camp Barry Manilow. The show pays homage to the partnership that Midler and Manilow began at New York’s Continental Baths in 1970, and imagines the stars in the current day as they return to the Baths (which are, of course, long gone) for “one more show, for old times’ sake.” Bathhouse is currently up and running at the Laurie Beechman Theatre, with performances continuing through September 12. 212-352-3101.

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