The Hollywood Reporter
Bette Midler Returns to Broadway as Uber-Agent Sue Mengers
January 7, 2012Â
Midler will star in “Skyfall” screenwriter John Logan‘s new single-character play about Hollywood’s first female super-agent, directed by Joe Mantello.
NEW YORK ”“ The Divine Miss M will be back on Broadway this spring, playing another Miss M who also acquired legendary status in the ’70s.
Directed by two-time Tony Award winnerJoe MantelloÂ (Wicked),Â the play will open April 24 at a Broadway theater to be announced. No date has been set for the start of previews.
Lead producers on the project areÂ Vanity FairÂ editorÂ Graydon Carter, marking his first foray into theater,Â Arielle Tepper Madover,Â James L. NederlanderÂ and The Shubert Organization.
A Jewish refugee from Hitler’s Germany,Â Sue MengersÂ was the most powerful female talent agent in movie history and a hard-driving force behind many of the key filmmakers and actors of the new Hollywood, from the 1960s through the early ’80s. Some of her more high-profile clients includedÂ Faye Dunaway,Â Bob Fosse,Â Barbra Streisand,Â Steve McQueen,Â Ryan O’Neal,Â Burt Reynolds,Â Candice Bergen,Â Mike Nichols,Â Sidney LumetÂ andÂ Peter Bogdanovich.
“I met Sue Mengers only once, at a dinner party,” said Logan. “The kaftan, constant cigarettes, tinted glasses, and perfect blond hair were much in evidence; so too the deliciously wicked wit and stevedore language. But something else fascinated me just as much: a sense of sadness, a deep resignation; a woman whose time had passed her by. At one point I asked her what had changed most about Hollywood since she had arrived. She didn’t hesitate for a second: ”˜Honey, we used to have fun”¦’ Later in the evening she settled back and lit up a joint. There she was: a joint in one hand and a cigarette in the other. At that moment I knew I had to write the play.”
A Tony winner for his two-hander aboutÂ Mark Rothko,Â Red, Logan’s prolific screenplay work includesÂ Skyfall, as well asÂ Gladiator,Â The AviatorÂ andÂ Hugo, all three of which earned him Oscar nominations.
I’ll Eat You LastÂ is one of two new stage works Logan will debut in the spring.Â Michael Grandagewill direct the world premiere in London’s West End ofÂ Peter and Alice. StarringÂ SkyfallÂ castmatesJudi DenchÂ andÂ Ben Whishaw, that play chronicles the brief encounter at a 1932 Lewis Carroll exhibition of the real-life inspirations forÂ Alice in WonderlandÂ andÂ Peter Pan. The production runs March 9-June 1.
Midler made her Broadway debut as a replacement cast member in the original 1964 production ofFiddler on the Roof. She returned in three separate concert shows, the most recent of themÂ Bette! Divine MadnessÂ in 1980. She was one of the producers in 2011 of the Broadway musicalÂ Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.
Midler is currently on screens nationwide oppositeÂ Billy CrystalÂ in the comedyÂ Parental Guidance.