BootLeg Betty

Liz Smith: Audiences adore Bette Midler on Broadway!

Chicago Tribune
Audiences adore Bette Midler on Broadway!
By Liz Smith, Tribune Media Services
4:30 a.m. CDT, May 13, 2013

"I'll Eat You Last: A Chat With Sue Mengers" Broadway Opening Night

“S—W ‘EM if they can’t take a joke,” goes the famous Bette Midler line. I’ve always considered this the perfect retort to — just about anything!

ON THE day the Drama Desk announced a nomination for Bette Midler’s one-person show about the Hollywood agent Sue Mengers, the audience at the Wednesday matinee last week exploded into applause and laughter again and again. This was my second time seeing “I’ll Eat You Last” and I enjoyed Bette’s joie de vivre and her heartfelt sadness alternating with the character. She “becomes” Sue Mengers, dishing Hollywood to the last vivid drop.

The matinee audience was great — lots of women, a good number of men and a few children kept interrupting the play with more and more applause. Bette almost wasn’t able to close the show. The audience applauded over the last lines.

I have decided why Bette didn’t get a Tony nomination. They opened the play too close to the end of Tony-voting time and a lot of voters had already made choices. It was just timing, not taking anything out on Bette who is Broadway’s and the world’s darling.

This thing is a sellout and you don’t have to have known Sue Mengers to love it. If you like “dish” about the capital of dishing, this play, plus its great star, is your cup of bitter, hysterical tea.

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