As far as Bette Midler is concerned, absolutely.
The special three-hour broadcast, tonight at 8 p.m., EST, perfectly defines the concept of event television.
The first Mama Rose was Ethel Merman, using her last appearance in a Broadway show to crown a legendary career with her most memorableÂ performance.
Midler appears to have been made for this role of primal stage mother. Rose is a monaster, pure and simple, trying to realize her own frustrated ambitions through the incessant pushing and manipulating of her daughters, June and Louise.
The woman is anything but lovable. But it is the genius of Arthur Laurents s book, Jule Styneâ€™s music and Stephen Sondheimâ€™s lyrics that her sheer energy and determination can leave audiences in a state approaching awe.
From the moment she storms into a Seattle audition for child performers shouting, â€œSing out, Louise, sing out!,â€™â€™ Midlerâ€™s Rose exudes enough brass to satisfy the most demanding of Merman fans. This Rose can toss off wisecracks with finesse and belt a lyric into the rafters.
The lavish production is painstaking, from Bonnie Walkerâ€™s re-creations of Jerome Robbinsâ€™s original choreography to Bob Mackieâ€™s snazzyÂ costumes.
The supporting cast is strong, from major roles (Peter Riegert as Herbie the manager, Cynthia Gibb as Louise, Jennifer Beck as Dainty June,Â cmd Christine Ebersole as the stripper Tessie Tura) to choice cameos (Edward Asner as Roseâ€™s father).
In the end, Rose just wants to be noticed. Midler makes sure of that in the performance of her career. So far.