A little about me: I am a professional actor and singer and have studied Bette since I was in 7th grade and decided this is what I wanted to do with my life. I live and work primarily in NYC, but also travel around the country performing Alwaysâ€¦Patsy Cline playing Patsy. Bette is my all time favorite performer and inspiration.
Well, a couple years ago I was invited to be the headliner at the major fundraising Gala for STAGES St. Louis. Hot on the heels of St. Louis Patsy number one, the night was a huge success. After the gala, I was whisked away to the VIP after party to mingle with some special guests-aka board members and money, which is usually the case with these types of things when you are the â€œtalent.â€
I was brought over to meet a lovely lady named Dorian. Chatting with her quickly became more than an obligation-we really really hit it off! This was the kind of gal I would have chosen to hang out with! We started chatting about various topics and somehow the topic of Billy Joel came up. I mentioned that my husband and I had tickets to see him for New Yearâ€™s at Barclays in Brooklyn. Lo and behold, Dorian tells me her sister is the head of Forest Ratner, who built and own the Barclays Center. Dorian and I exchange info and agree to keep in touch via FB in case she can make it into town for the concert. (She couldnâ€™t-but we still went and Billy was great of course).
Fast forward to a few months ago when Bette Midler announced the Barclays date. I half-jokingly message Dorian about my not so mild Bette obsession and that I just bought tickets to MSG and damn, now she is doing Barclays too!! Dorian invites me, on behalf of her sister to a cocktail party in the Vault Suite (like where Jay-Z hangs out) followed by dinner and the concert from one of the VIP suites. Um, okâ€¦.YES! Also-they thought it would be fun if I sang a little during the cocktail hour, which I of course I was honored to! (Opening for Bette??? Well, kinda!)
To make matters even better, this past Saturday I got an email from MaryAnne saying that on top of all this, we were going backstage to meet Bette after the show! I died.
I did a little 20 minute set of music in The Vault while 50 of the top most powerful women in NYC mingled and networked. (Even the head of Louis Vuitton was there!!!) We moved to the suite for the concert and Bette was just fabulous, even better than she was Friday night at MSG. And the sound was way better at Barclays too.
After the show, I was handed a backstage access sticker and I assumed it was for the regular fan meet and greet. Oh noâ€¦.we were taken to the â€œFriends and Family Suite.â€ Super VIP. Also spotted waiting-Zac Posen and Toni Basil.
When Bette walked in, my knees got weak. There she was, in her gorgeous red sequin gown, with no great fan fare or introduction standing TWO feet from me. Dorian tried to get me to talk to her immediately but I just couldn’t get up the nerve! I think I actually looked at her and walked away! I was finally introduced by one of the NYRP board members who I had met up in the suite and I shook her hand and told her I was an actor and singer and that she has inspired my whole career. She was very gracious and just kept saying thank you. I told her I rescued old songs like she did (a reference to one of her lines in the show, she smiled), and told her about my doing Patsy Cline. I asked if she knew of her and she said â€œOf course I know Patsy! I know all of it inside out!â€ I told her she looked amazing but also said â€œfrom a singer to a singer, you SOUND amazing!â€ She was very gracious. She surveyed the few women and said â€œIs this all one group?â€ Someone told her it was the most powerful women in New York and I chimed in â€œYeah, and then meâ€ and she gave me a look like, â€œYeah, I hear ya girl! Me too!â€ She took as many pictures as we all wanted and took time with all of us. We all stood around in a big group and took turns talking to her. I donâ€™t remember every detail and there was so much that I wanted to say to her but just didnâ€™t get the chance. My mind went absolutely blank. Just being around her was surreal. I felt like a little kid-I canâ€™t imagine what little 12 year old me would have thought of tonightâ€¦it makes me cry just thinking about it.
My life is so crazy sometimes. And most of the time, it all comes back to Patsy. This business is frustrating as hell, but sometimes I get the most incredible opportunities and look around and think, â€œWhat is my life?-How did I get here?â€
Full circle: my meet and greet got me to Betteâ€™s meet and greet. Thatâ€™s good karma