March 20, 1993
Bette Midler makes her dramatic television film debut later this year when she stars in CBS’ three-hour version of the Arthur Laurents, Jule Styne, Stephen Sondheim theater legend “Gypsy,” playing the stage mother to end all stage mothers, the rapacious Rose.
Rehearsals for “Gypsy” begin this month with shooting slated for May. And here’s some casting news. In the role of the long-suffering Herbie, who wants Rose to settle down and get out of show biz, will be Pater Riegert, whom you may remember from the movie “Crossing Delancy” and the short-lived but critically acclaimed TV series “Middle Ages.” (Riegert and Midler were once an item, way back when.
(They remained friends.) Robert Morse may or may not play Uncle Jocko, the vaudeville comic–confusion reigns on this point. BdJtsner im cast as Rose’s father. The all-important choices for Baby June and Gypsy herself have yet to be made.
Of course, real “Gypsy” aficionados want to know who’ll play Miss Tessie Tura, Electra and Mazeppa, the three stripping dames who bump and grind the fabled show to a tumultuous stop. Hollywood wiseacres insist Midler herself will play all three roles and might even step into Gypsy’s G-string depending on how religiously she’s been using her Stalrmaster and Soloflex! I’m Just kidding, of course.
However, Midler does boast a spectacular bosom and a pair of the shapeliest legs in show biz – she’d probably look terrific in a coupleÂ of beads and a prayer.
And here’s a really hot piece of Bette business: Radio City Music Hall will not confirm (though it cannot deny) that Bette Midler is set to play the showplace in the fall in a series of concerts. If this happens, It will be the Divine One’s return to the New York stage
after a decade of moviemaking. Bette’s last major live singing appearance (at the Music Hall, colncldentally) was back in 1983, inÂ her rowdy tour de force “Art or Bust.”