Category Archives: Clams On The Half Shell

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Photo: Bette Midler – Clams On The Half Shell Revue

Bette Midler - Clams On The Half Shell Revue

How many of you got to see this great show? Any special memories?

Posted in Broadway, Clams On The Half Shell, Photos | Tagged , , | 5 Comments


Sunday, September 9, 2018

Photo: Bette Midler Taking In The Adoration Of The Crowd In Clams

Photo: Bette Midler Taking In The Adoration Of The Crowd In Clams
Posted in Bette Midler, Clams On The Half Shell, Photos | Tagged , | Leave a comment


Thursday, July 19, 2018




Posted in Audio, Clams On The Half Shell | Tagged , , | Leave a comment


Wednesday, February 28, 2018

BetteBack July 1, 1975: ‘Clams’ Breaks Broadway’s Box Office Record

Posted in BetteBack, Clams On The Half Shell | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


Tuesday, February 27, 2018

BetteBack June 13, 1975: The Divine Miss “M” scores personal success on Broadway

Mister D: It’s so funny to read these old articles to be reminded of how edgy and out there Miss M was. It seemed like everybody was afraid of her, I remember Linda Ronstadt saying Bette opened the door for women singers to be looser on stage and Ms Ronstadt also claimed that Bette showed you don’t have to stand still at the microphone to sing, Bette was all over the place.

Lowell Sun
June 13, 1975

Bette Midler. "It was a remarkable adventure to return to Hawaii," Bette Midler said on the Tonight Show. The Johnny Carson program featuring Miss Midler performing a medley of songs from the 1940s and talking about her career will be shown on KHON, Channel 2, at 10:30 p.m., tomorrow. Star-Bulletin photo by Bob Young on September 6, 1973. Ran on Tuesday, September 18, 1973 and Sunday, August 21, 1977.

NEW YORK – Who is the trashiest girl in town wearing the tackiest clothes? The answer may be found nightly on the stage of the new Minskoff Theater where Betle Midler is in command of a spectacular revue entitled! “Clams on the Half Shell”. Whatever else may or may not be said about the show, it is a personal success for the young singer whose followers have christened her “The Dcvine Miss “M”.

Miss Midler has been packing them in at the Minskoff with even more solidarily than she did a year ago at the Palace. For this time Belle has come prepared to take on Broadway, in her terms to be sure, but then would you have expected less?

THE EVENING GETS off to a flying start as the orchestra plays the overture .. . to “Oklahoma.” The curtain rises and we have a scene from “Showboat” complete with “darkies” lifting those barges and toting that bale. They sing of the troubles that no one knows they have. And then some of the men pull a huge clam shell onto the center of the stage. It opens And there in a sarong that would have done Dorothy Lamour proud, is Miss Midler crooning “The Moon of Manakoora“. To call it “camp” would be to do it a ‘disservice. It’s downright “tacky.”

The rest of the first act Miss Midler swapping wise-cracks with the audience and giving out with some of that strong language that has made her a personality. There are not many four-letter words Miss Midler misses but her fans love her for it and they screamed and yelled-for more. Miss Midler is accompanied most of the time by a trio of girls called, “The Harlettes.” You hardly expected the “Chordeltes” with Miss Midler. Together they wail up a storm; and if Miss Midler does not sing my kind of music most of the time, I’ll give her her due. She sings music that the young sell-out crowd seems to appreciate.

Her first act final has her clutched in the paw of a giant “King Kong” to whom she croons affectionately, “Nicky Arnstein, Nicky Arnslein.” It’s wild and hilarious.

The second act brings the big band onto the stage and with it the veteran vibraphonist Lionel Hampton, the big band sound is back and the crowd loves it. They go wild when Miss Midler sings “In the Mood” and “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.” It was the part I liked best myself.

BETTE MIDLER is a talented comedienne whose use of dirty jokes is not really necessary. She doesn’t need them.’ Her singing is unfortunately undisciplined and without a style all her own.

She has heen greatly influenced by black blues and gospel singers. At times-she seems to be trying to immitate Billy Holiday, Dianna Ross and Aretha Franklin. I wish she would just be Bette Midler. Even her best work is a copy of the Andrews Sisters.

If Miss Midler decides to stop at being” just trashy and tacky; she’ll still make a fortune. But I think she has great talent still not correctly displayed.

“Clams on the Half Shell” is a big and very entertaining show for Midler fans. But leave your maiden aunt at home unless she’s ready to laugh it up at some of the dirtiest language a pop singer has used on a Broadway stage ever.

BetteBack December 14, 1973: Bette Midler Hits Sophomore Slump
Bette Midler In Hello Dolly! Tickets Go On Sale (Link Provided), Saturday. September 17, 2016 at 10:00 AM Eastern Time
Bette Midler Reveals How She Got Her Nickname with Release of Deluxe Edition of ‘The Divine Miss M’
Bette Midler Takes In Daughter’s Play

Bette Midler-Led Hello, Dolly! Revival Breaks Broadway Sales Records And Makes History! | BootLeg Betty Read More

Posted in BetteBack, Clams On The Half Shell | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


Saturday, February 10, 2018

BetteBack May 14, 1975: ‘Clams’ Does Nothing But Entertain

Lawton Constitiution
May 14, 1975 Read More

Posted in BetteBack, Clams On The Half Shell | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


BetteBack May 13, 1975: Bette Midler: Still divine

South Mississippi Sun
May 13, 1975


NEW YORK (UPI) — So great has been the demand for tickets for the divine Bette Midler‘s show at the Minskoff Theater that her run has been extended from four weeks to 10 weeks, ending June 21. Small wonder. The mop-haired, raunchy-tongued, trashily dressed singer took a year out of her notably successful career as an entertainer and recording star to put together a revue called “Clams on the Half Shell.” It was well worth the effort, for this is the most bubbly, amusing entertainment in New York this side of “The Wiz.”

“Clams” allows the Queen of the Continental Baths to display her versatility with song, ranging from hot rock to sentimental ballads, and her way with an audience in chit chat that is both endearing and outrageous. Although she is the most frenetic of entertainers, on the move constantly, her timing is extraordinary.

Anything goes in this show, which is dazzlingly set by Tony Walton and directed and choreographed by Joe Layton. Its overture is a medley from “Oklahoma” and it opens with “darkie” fishermen on a levee who fish up a clam containing the star revealinglyy swagged in shimmering seaweed. She goes into “The Moon of Manakoora” and the rest of the three-hour show is equally non-sequitur.

The first section is a series of unrelated skits in which Miss Midler is assisted by three disdainful dollies called the Harlettes, for no apparent reason. It winds up with an unscrolling Empire State Building atop which a blue shag King Kong holds a supine Miss Midler in his paw. Suddenly she is up and singing “Lullaby of Broadway.”

The second part opens with Lionel Hampton and a 17-piece band for a trip down memory lane with Miss Midler in concert, whirling phonograph records and a jukebox as a backdrop.

Her “Sentimental Journey ” and “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy ” has the audience—a cross section of ages weighted on the youthful side—screaming screaming for more. The Andrew Sisters never had it so good!

A critical report would not be complete without kudos to musical director Don York and orchestrator Jimmie Haskell. The sound is big but only when it should be, and there can be no objection to that. Producer Aaron Russo has not decided to take the show on the
road, though he has had many offers. He’d be crazy not to.

Concert Review: Bette Midler is bigger than any song. She is the full show! (Leeds)
Divine Intervention Review: Midler stayed on her A-game to the very last second (Chicago)
Bette Midler – Lullaby Of Broadway-Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy-Johnny Carson-1973 | BootLeg Betty

BetteBack March 28, 1973: Bette Midler – Concert In Review | BootLeg Betty Read More

Posted in BetteBack, Clams On The Half Shell | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


BetteBack April 30, 1975: Bette Midler Is Back Rashy And Gimmicky (‘Clams’)

Lawton Constitiution
April 30, 1975


NEW YORK (AP ) — A strenuous comeback bid is being made in “Bette Midler‘s Clams on the Half Shell Revue” by one of the most highly publicized maybe-stars of showbiz.

Flashy, brassy and gimmicky, the production has moved into Broadway’s Minskoff Theater for a run until June 21. Management asked reviews be delayed until after the Thursday performance, but to make deadlines most of the press attended the late starting, 2 1/2 hour fray on Wednesday.

For those who have forgotten or never cared , the chubby little singer-comic disappeared about a year ago after a short but impressive eruption from the gay entertainment scene into a more general public round of concerts, and a couple of golden records. A Paris sortie flopped, followed by retreat for career reappraisal.

“Clams,” to get the title down to size, is much more elaborately staged than a stand at the Palace in December 1973. The professionally chaotic grabbag tends to make Miss Midler’s own limitations more obvious.

She is on almost nonstop with a hybrid assortment of tunes past and present — “Moon of Manakoora” at one end. “Young Americans” at the other — coupled with raunchy comments and low wisecracks. A couple of the most obscene, and hoary, she attributed to Sophie Tucker.

Front-row spectators were sprayed with scurrilous insults, a night club technique that needs a long rest. Costarred in the billing but allowed only 1-i minutes in the postimermission spotlight is Lionel Hampton. The grand old jazz pro brought the crowd to its feet in the only show-stopping ovation of the affair with his sheer artistry on vibes, piano and drums.

A Motown-style trio, the Harletles, back up the occasional, raspy Midler notes and heavy breathing with chic vocalizing. On the bill also is the Michael Powell Ensemble.

Everything centers on the yenta from Honolulu, with Joe Layton keeping the tempo fast and furious as director-choreographer. Tony Walton has provided some preposterously ponderous scenery, including gigantic dancing puppets, a moody barroom, massive jukebox’ and a mechanized King Kong clutching you know who in his hand.

Miss Midler likes to be known as “the Divine Miss M.” Dismal more accurately describes some of her work for the noncultist. At the end of the show, however, committed fans engaged in a screaming frenzy of acclaim.

BetteBack January 23, 1997: Tom Shales – Diva Las Vegas
Concert Review: What a remarkable woman Bette Midler is! (London)
On The Road To Making The Sophie Tucker Story With Bette Midler
Review: Bette Midler Brings Her Uniqueness to STAPLES Center

Bette Midler – I’m Wishing – A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes – Lullabye Of Broadway – Live At Last – 1976 | BootLeg Betty Read More

Posted in BetteBack, Clams On The Half Shell | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


Saturday, February 3, 2018

BetteBack April 24, 1975: It’s a glossier Bette Midler who’s back in the Big Apple (‘Clams’)

Middletown Times Herald
April 24, 1975


NEW YORKBette Midler, the tackiest girl in town, has come home to roost at the tackiest theater on Broadway, the Minskoff. She opened last week with her “Clams on the Half Shell Revue,” and proved that it’s oysters that produce pearls, not clams.

The show begins with the overture from “Oklahoma!” — which is not a bad way to open a show. At least it once worked quite well for “Oklahoma!? It then moves straight into a scene from “Showboat.”

This concept once worked quite well for “Showboat.” But Miss Midler is only nostalgically kidding us — and soon she herself hauled onto stage in a clam shell — she waggles her posterior, follows this with a little aloha-posing and a South Seas ditty. All this seems to work quite well for Miss Midler.

It is more than a year since “The Divine Miss M.” as she shamelessly calls herself to the delight of her vociferous fans, has last in town at the Palace Theater.

That time has far simpler than the present so-called revue, in which Miss Midler, caught in the middle of an over-blown, overstaged and over-dressed cabaret act does her game and often successful best to fight her way out.

She is a modern phenomenon, the low priestess of her own jukebox subculture, an explosion of energy and minutely calculated bad taste, a drizzle of dazzle, a lady both bnsh and vulnerable, a grinning waif singing with a strident plaintiveness of friendship
and love.

Miss Midler is a past-mistress of faded, peeling instant nostalgia, some of it exotic, most of it oldfashioned, and a little of it freezedried as well as instant.

Her forte is the 40s. and she encourages her audience to remember and identify with a shock and a giggle, in a grin-alongwith-Bette spirit. She is a fine nudge-artist of the recognition joke, and her singing from rock to ballad, from be-bop to gospel, is individual, fascinating and usually self-explosive in its mockery.

She uses the theater as if it were a nightclub, and plays with the audience as if it were a shoal of fish. Her rapport is extraordinary, and she can laugh and insult, arid laugh again. But what has happened to Miss Midler in this show? Oh. of course, enough of her comes through to keep the fans roaring, but something has happened. The vulgarity has become glossy rather than tatty.

Tony Walton‘s designs are heroic in their creative imagination, particularly in a show where imagination is largely lacking, or if not lacking hearing a somewhat mechanical grin.

Whether he is designing a ghost bar (full of male dummies and a manic Miss Midler), an Empire State Building in the hairy grasp of King Kong, holding Miss Midler in the palm of his paw, or creating — in the second half – a vast juke-box setting for Lionel Hampton and a joyously noise-sounding big band – Walton is on top of the world. The show is more fun to look at than Miss Midler’s material is to listen to.

The second half of the show is, indeed, warmer and less pretentious than the first. For one thing we have a cream-suited Lionel Hampton presiding avuncularly over his vibraphone, dashing off as only he can those rhythmic but plangent runs, tinkles and riffs of an instrument he practically invented and has virtually patented from the early days of Benny Goodman on.

And Hampton dances, plays the piano, plays the drums, and indeed when caught in a strobe-light drumming away, performing juggling tricks with sticks, he is like a living photograph by Ojon Mili. and all is right with the world, and with the show.

Miss Midler and her trio of harpies, the Harlettes, are often cheerfully amusing, and the director Joe Layton has done a few very good things for them choreographically and visually not least in the finale when they are briefly joined by a driving group of
gospel singers, the Michael Powell Ensemble.

However someone should tell Miss Midler when she is being too sentimental and self-indulgent — she is best when she is etched a little in acid. For all this although she could have had better material (enough people seem to have written it) and she could have been more persuasively presented, more sensitive use could have been made of her naughty but, yes, divine sense of humor.

For all this, when everything is said and done, by heck, New York is still her town and she is still its best Bette. Even if this time around, the odds, like the show itself, are little long.

BetteBack January 23, 1997: Tom Shales – Diva Las Vegas
The Complete 2016 Tony Awards Nominations
Bette Midler’s ‘Hulaween’ ready to dazzle us
BetteBack Feb. 14, 1976: The Bette Midler Incident In Buffalo, New York Or Why Bette Wouldn’t Play There Till Divine Intervention | BootLeg Betty

Bette Midler: We did it – One Million Trees for New York City! No Other City Has Reached This Goal! | BootLeg Betty Read More

Posted in BetteBack, Clams On The Half Shell | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


BetteBack April 20, 1975: Bette Midler’s ‘Clams’ Will Be A Rave

Colorado Springs Gazette
April 20, 1975


Will the divine Miss M — Bette Midler, succeed or fail in her big Broadway comeback at Broadway’s Minskoff Theatre? We’re betting she’ll be a rave despite all the dire predictions that she ruined her career lying around out of sight for a whole year. Tickets
to this campy event are hard to come by and the powers-that-be made it a policy not to invite any press for Bette’s opening if the press in question had ever said a word against her in the past.

By the by, detractors of Bette’s manager, Aaron Russo, may rave on and on about how he is Svengali-ing her career to death, but the guy is very much in love with her and his motives are excellent, all in Bette’s behalf.

Aaron loves Bette so much, he wants to marry her in the worst way, but she is still saying no waltzing down the aisles, just samba-ing in the balcony.

  • BetteBack December 5, 1973: Bette Midler: PALACE, N.Y.
  • BetteBack August 29, 1973: Truly Tacky Bette Midler – And How She Got That Way
  • Bette Midler Re-Issuing Remastered ‘The Divine Miss M,’ Mentoring on ‘The Voice’
  • Aaron Russo On Bette Midler And The Right Script: | BootLeg Betty
  • Bette Midler On Aaron Russo: | BootLeg Betty
  • Read More

    Posted in BetteBack, Clams On The Half Shell | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment