Tag Archives: Broadway theatre

Thursday, January 10, 2019

BetteBack August 19, 1975: Bette Midler Says Lawrence Welk Dissed Her

Wichita Falls Times
August 19, 1975

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Bette Midler said in Playgirl magazine that Lawrence Welk was once supposed to dance with her on the Mike Douglas show, but he wouldn’t – he thought I was a dirty little girl” . . . Pearl Bailey’s daughter, Dee, 16, is traveling with Pearl’s “Hello, Dolly!” company, so Bill Daniel’s daughter Dominique, 16, came along to keep her company.

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Friday, October 5, 2018

Book: I’ll Eat You Last: A Chat With Sue Mengers By John Logan – Bette Midler On Broadway

Book: I'll Eat You Last: A Chat With Sue Mengers By John Logan - Bette Midler On Broadway

The debut 2013 American production starred Bette Midler. The play, which cost $2.4 million to produce, was a hit.

Playbill was joined by star Bette Midler and playwright John Logan on the opening night of the new one-person play I’ll Eat You Last: A Chat With Sue Mengers. The 80-minute show features Midler channeling the late great agent (she represented Burt Reynolds, Cher, Steve McQueen and Barbra Streisand amongst others) as she charts her path through the man’s world of Hollywood. Here, Midler talks about what Mengers means to her and Logan reveals what it took to convince Midler to return to Broadway after more than 30 years.
  • I’ll Eat You Last: A Chat with Sue Menger
  • Written by: John Logan
  • Characters: Sue Mengers
  • Date premiered: 24 April 2013
  • Place premiered: Booth Theatre, New York
  • Original language: English
  • Subject: Sue Mengers, Hollywood
  • Genre: Biographical


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Friday, August 17, 2018

BetteBack July 17, 1975: ABC Offers Bette Midler A Special Deal

Harrisburg Daily Register
July 17, 1975

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Bette Midler, the doyenne of glitter rock, may soon be doing her boogie woogie on ABC, a network spokesman said Wednesday.

“We have made her an offer,*’ the spokesman confirmed, “now, it’s up to her.” The spokesman declined to discuss the terms of the offer.

Miss Midler has risen from a cult following in a Manhattan steambath to successes on Broadway and television with her outrageous style of song and dance. Her first top seller was a parody of the Andrews’ Sister hit of the 1940’s “The Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy from
Company B

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Thursday, April 19, 2018

Please Submit Bette Midler’s Name To The Kennedy Honors Submission Page And Share – Example Given. Thank You!

Mister D: There’s a section where you write why Bette should receive this reward. I hate writing, so I just let whatever flow out of me. You can use this as a template and further improve on it. I left out, looking back, the cultural shifts she started, and how she was so controversial at the time and the barriers she had to break down. You can make it more emotional but you do have to include her accomplishment. Go for it. This is an award I think she really deserves, so please fill it out and share the hell out of the link to this article by clicking on the title of the piece ot just the link provided to the Kennedy Honors Submission Page. Send it to everu Bette Midler fan site or FB group you know. This is not a time to play politics. It’s about coming together as a community.

Bette Midler is long overdue for this reward. She’s had an almost 50 year career and has risen to the top and stayed relevent in each thru each decade which is very rare. From million selling albums to classic standard singles to several Grammy Awards, hit movies and 2 Academy Award nominbations, top record breaking music tours, sold out shows on Broadway and 2 Tony awards, award winning TV specials, and two number one best selling books. Not only that, she has become a great philanthropist and a green activist, ever starting her own foundation to beautify NYC through turning neglects areas of the city into beautiful parks and gardens. Next up for her is tackling something in the education field, most likely in the arts. She truly lives up to the moniker, The Divine Miss M. Thank you, Don Bradshaw Read More

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Wednesday, February 28, 2018

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

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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

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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

BetteBack June 3, 1975: Bette Midler To Record Gospel Song

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Saturday, February 10, 2018

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

Lawton Constitiution
April 30, 1975

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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
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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

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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

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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.

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

Colorado Springs Gazette
April 20, 1975

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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.

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