New York Post
A sure Bette? Not for Tony
By MICHAEL RIEDEL
Last Updated: 2:04 AM, May 1, 2013
Posted: 1:47 AM, May 1, 2013
But as one of my readers – Chris Galka – thoughtfully pointed out yesterday in an e-mail: “Not without a nomination she can’t!!!”
Chris has a point. I overlooked the fact that to win, Midler first had to be nominated. And yesterday – the day the 2012-2013 Tony nominations were announced – she was conspicuously absent from the list of contenders for Best Actress in a Play: Laurie Metcalf (“The Other Place”), Amy Morton (“Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?“), Kristine Nielsen (“Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike”), Holland Taylor (“Ann”) and Cicely Tyson (“The Trip to Bountiful“).
Why did Bette get bounced?
A few theories are kicking around, amplified by some Deep Throat-type chats I had yesterday with a few nominators.
Nobody had a bad word to say about Midler. She’s giving a solid, funny performance. It’s just that, compared with those who made the cut, the performance and the play, “I’ll Eat You Last,” are small potatoes.
She’s onstage for just 80 minutes, repeating wisecracks and Hollywood anecdotes that have been recycled from an old Vanity Fair profile of Mengers.
Such a shallow part pales in comparison to Metcalf as a woman suffering from dementia; Morton as Martha, one of the great female roles of the American stage; Nielsen, a brilliant comedian who may have upset the apple cart by being slotted as Best Actress rather than Featured Actress; Taylor, who’s onstage for two hours in her onewoman show about Texas Governor Ann Richards; and Tyson, who’s 88 and got a rave from Ben Brantley.
“Nothing against Bette Midler – everybody loves her – but maybe she should have come back to Broadway in something a little more challenging,” one nominator said.
Midler’s handlers (she’s a big lady, she’s got quite a few) were miffed about the slight, so don’t expect her to make nice and appear on the Tony telecast as a presenter.
But at least, as one of Bette’s sycophants pointed out, the limited-run production will save a lot of money by not having to fork over 1,400 complimentary tickets to the 700 Tony voters and their plus-ones.
And it’s grossing nearly $700,000 a week.
“We’re crying all the way to the bank,” this Bette boy says.