Films, TV, and Theatre


Diva Las Vegas (1997)

Bette Midler captured live on stage at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in a raunchy, no-holds-barred performance. Songs include Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, The Rose, I Look Good and Stay With Me Baby.

Star: Bette Midler, Carol Hatchett, Melanie Taylor, Rhae Ann Theriault
Writers: Bruce Vilanch, Madalyn Minch, Lon Weyland, and Bette Midler
Director: Marty Callner


"THERE IS no square inch of my body that doesn't require intense maintenance. And it's a bloody bore. But, it's a fabulous body and I don't want to see it disintegrate. I mean, if you have a beautiful car, don't you keep up your beautiful car? If you have a beautiful home, don't you keep up your beautiful home? I do." That's the genuinely Divine Miss M, Bette Midler, talking to next week's TV Guide. And let me assure you, Bette really is in top shape. I know this for a fact, because I willingly flew across the country to see Bette tape her HBO special in Las Vegas last weekend. (It airs tomorrow at 9 p.m., and again on Feb. 2.)

Bette, looking better than ever, literally fell from the Las Vegas sky singing her signature song, "Friends," belting it out as if for the first time. And boy, was the star-studded audience, led by Brooke Shields and Andre Agassi, ever ready to be Bette's friend. The crowd at the MGM Grand was literally screaming out its love for this fantastic showbiz legend. (After "Friends" she swings right into her witty paean to herself, "I Look Good" - and baby, nobody can disagree!) The star, luscious in body-hugging black pants and tight sweater, caressed, crooned and soared on all her classics - from "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" through "Miss Otis Regrets" up to her Grammy-winning mega-hit, "The Wind Beneath My Wings." (And I love the way she wickedly deconstructs the tiresome "New York, New York" as the wheelchair-bound showbiz mermaid, Delores Del Lago!)

Bette also had a great time with her profane Marc Shaiman parody, "Everything's Coming Up Grosses" - a tribute to the success of "First Wives Club," and I especially enjoyed her tender, touching version of Lesley Gore's feminist anthem, "You Don't Own Me." At the end, there was so much joy and spirit, it was like a revival meeting. You could have cut the affection and emotion with a knife. Marty Callner, who directed Bette's "Diva Las Vegas" special, told me, "I cried when Bette did `Stay With Me' [her blockbuster number from "The Rose"]. It was impossible for me to continue. I have never loved working with anybody more than I have with Bette. She's not only a genius, she's a real human being. In this business, those things don' t generally coincide." -- -- --

BACKSTAGE, Bette was hostess with the mostest, in a slinky black robe tied around her tiny waist, tottering on super-high heels, getting drinks for her guests. (Onstage, and up close and personal, Midler remains an adorable mix of sex and humor: Mae West crossed with Sophie Tucker.) She said she was going full steam ahead in her plan to "clean up the planet." She hopes to auction off a lot of stage props and costumes she has saved during the past 20 years - with proceeds going to all the environmental organizations she supports. There are more movies on the horizon, which she's mulling with her producer, Bonnie Bruckheimer, and another album in the works for her new label, Warner Records. Do not fail to catch Midler's "Diva Las Vegas." She really will put the wind beneath your wings.