BootLeg Betty

The Bette Bounce Theories

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

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Last week in this column, I wondered whether Bette Midler would win a Tony for her delicious comic turn as Hollywood superagent Sue Mengers.

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.

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11 thoughts on “The Bette Bounce Theories

  1. It’s called staying power, she has always built her own buzz and her own work. Nothing but respect for her, bumbled that I won’t get to see it, looks a treat.

  2. The nominator is just rude! I have seen the show and for her to command a precense on a couch for 80 mintues, no other person would be able to do. Sour grapes b/c though they were nominated most of those shows are not making any money!

  3. It’s my opinion they snubbed her for daring to call them rude when they didn’t give Priscilla a nod,… calling shows such as that Broadway’s bread and butter. She should pack her bags and go make somebody else’s City beautiful. lol. 🙂 I saw the show last week. There is NO excuse.

  4. One of my theatre friends and I were having the discussion about this today. One of the things she and I both agreed on was the fact that while someone like Holland Taylor is a respected veteran , her play was not bringing in the dough. What better way to say ” hey we support you Holland and your dream project” than by giving her performance a nod, instead of Bette, who’s show is pulling in OVER 100% capacity and major money. And , the comment about her coming back in something more challenging is a cop out. If she had come back in an ensemble piece such as WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINA WOOLF or a musical like MAME, they would have torn her down for not doing something more challenging and relying on a company to support her. It was a catch 22 for someone like Bette. For her a case of “you’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t” . Typical Broadway hypocrisy .

    1. Thanks Andy…I don’t know much about the theatre world so that gives me some insight….xx

  5. My 2 cents:

    1. Prince, a Bettehead who seems to fly from Switzerland to the US for every Midler event, said Bette’s Mengers was not far from her Divine Miss M character.

    2. You, guys, have to understand that regular people are NOT under Miss M’s spell as we are.

    3. Miss M wasn’t that diplomatic during Priscila’s time and a backlash should be expected as Tony nominators are humans.

    4. Almost all reviews after the opening were great. Don’t get crazy and insecure because she didn’t get a Tony nomination. Things happen.

    5. Miss M may get Drama Desk awards, that are important awards, though not as acknowledged as a Tony.

    6. No Tony. But great critics and good money up to now. More than that: just a HBO special and DVD/ Blu-ray release.

    1. No….some of us thought that HBO might film it like they’ve done for other shows, but I just found out they’re not….boo! xx

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