“Hello Dolly” not only snagged Bette Midler a Tony – it helped her shed 30 pounds too.The 70-year-old actress, who delighted the audience at Radio City Music Hall Sunday night with her rambling speech that included a bleep for profanity, revealed her uber-producer Scott Rudin nagged her to take on the iconic role as socialite-turned-matchmaker Dolly Gallagher Levi that certainly kept her on her feet.“It’s a very, very tough schedule and I’m a woman of a certain age,” she joked. “I’m at death’s door so I wasn’t really keen to put these dancing shoes on again but he made it sound as though I had missed something in life and I would be a changed person from this experience and indeed I have been,” she told reporters.
“I lost 30 pounds, for starters,” Midler continued.
“The Rose” star and self-proclaimed loner also admitted she unexpectedly gained a few friends in the Broadway community: “I wasn’t prepared for that. I was struck by it,” she said.
Midler, who has been a vocal critic of Donald Trump on Twitter, did not hold back saying that taking on Dolly Levi has been “life-changing” and “life-affirming” because of the “democracy, optimism and color” that the show offers.
“If only they (politicians) weren’t so narrow-minded and perverse about helping with the NEA and helping the arts out in the world,” she complained. “They are dead set on making barbarian out of us and out of all of our children. I don’t want to be a barbarian. I want to have color and beauty in my life and I think everybody in their heart of hearts does. Bette Midler for President!”