Tag Archives: jerry zaks

Thursday, January 10, 2019

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

Wichita Falls Times
August 19, 1975

famous-for-her-turn-in-Beaches-403146

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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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
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Bette Midler Reveals How She Got Her Nickname with Release of Deluxe Edition of ‘The Divine Miss M’
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Bette Midler-Led Hello, Dolly! Revival Breaks Broadway Sales Records And Makes History! | BootLeg Betty Read More

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Sunday, January 14, 2018

Goodbye, Dolly!

Broadway World
Goodbye, Dolly! Bette Midler, David Hyde Pierce, and Taylor Trensch Depart HELLO, DOLLY! Today
by Stephanie Wild Jan. 14, 2018

Bette Midler, David Hyde Pierce and Taylor Trensch will take their final bows in Hello, Dolly! today, January 14. As BroadwayWorld has previously announced, Bernadette Peters will be assuming the title role beginning January 20. Victor Garber will be taking over as Horace Vandergelder and Charlie Stemp will be playing Barnaby Tucker.

The trio’s final performance was originally at 2 PM today, but an additional evening performance has been added with proceeds going to the Actors Fund.

The show’s official Twitter account posted a graphic thanking Midler for her run with the show, citing that Midler played 277 performances and had 554 standing ovations.

This production of Michael Stewart and Jerry Herman’s Hello, Dolly!instantly became the most coveted ticket of the year when it broke the record for best first day of ticket sales in Broadway history. By the time it began previews, it had the largest pre-­­performance advance sale in Broadway history. In addition to the Tony for Ms. Midler, it won three additional Tonys, including Best Revival of a Musical, Best Featured Actor in a Musical (Gavin Creel), and Best Costume Design of a Musical (Santo Loquasto), and has continued to break the Shubert Theatre house record over and over and over and over again.

Directed by four-time Tony Award winner Jerry Zaks and choreographed by Tony Award winner Warren Carlyle, Hello, Dolly! began performances on Broadway on March 15, 2017, and officially opened on Thursday, April 20, 2017.

This Hello, Dolly!, the first new production of the classic musical (based on Thornton Wilder’s The Matchmaker) to appear on Broadway since it opened more than fifty years ago, pays tribute to the work of its original director/ choreographer Gower Champion, which has been hailed both then and now as one of the greatest stagings in musical theater history.

The cast of Hello, Dolly! includes Gavin Creel as Cornelius Hackl, Kate Baldwin as Irene Molloy, Beanie Feldstein as Minnie Fay, Will Burton as Ambrose Kemper, Melanie Moore as Ermengarde, and Jennifer Simard as Ernestina.

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Tuesday, December 19, 2017

David Rooney: The Best New York Theater of 2017

The Hollywood Reporter
David Rooney: The Best New York Theater of 2017
12/13/2017 by David Rooney

Jitney

Joan Marcus

Every major production of an August Wilson work is a stinging reminder of the loss of one of American drama’s most uniquely resonant voices. But this belated Broadway debut of the play that launched his magnificent 10-part chronicle of African-American experience in the 20th century — directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson with penetrating emotional depth and irrepressible humor — was something extraordinary. Gritty and lyrical, joyful and sorrowful, the play examines black struggle through the prism of a Pittsburgh gypsy-cab company in 1977, its denizens portrayed here by a peerless ensemble that found music in every note.

From left: Michael Potts, John Douglas Thompson, Anthony Chisholm, Keith Randolph Smith and Andre Holland in 'Jitney'

The Wolves

Courtesy of Julieta Cervantes

Vibrant ensemble work also is key in Sarah DeLappe’s subtly crafted study of young women navigating the tricky precipice of adulthood. Lila Neugebauer directs the nine fearless performers playing members of a girls soccer team with a palpable connection to their deeply felt experiences — good and bad — providing unfiltered access to the raw volatility and fear of adolescence. Deceptively loose in structure and yet skillfully shaped, the play’s observations shift with uncommon grace from funny to heartbreaking, forming both a group portrait and a highly individualized series of revealing snapshots.

A scene from 'The Wolves'

 

Springsteen on Broadway

Rob DeMartin

The solo stage memoir is perhaps the most over-trafficked subgenre in the contemporary theatrical landscape — far too often by writer-performers whose stories fail to justify the self-scrutiny. But with his unerring instinct for illuminating detail and ability to reframe his superstar experience as that of an everyday, working-man American, Bruce Springsteen combines spoken excerpts adapted from his autobiography, Born to Run, with corresponding song selections in a narratively robust concert-confessional notable both for its thrilling intimacy and its sense of communal celebration.

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Sunday in the Park With George

Courtesy of O&M Co.

No musical delves deeper into the painful difficulties of the creative process than this 1984 dramatic diptych by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine, which leaps from the clubby art world of 1880s Paris to the corresponding scene in America a century later to explore the transcendent birth of harmony out of chaos. Expanding on their work in an earlier concert staging, Jake Gyllenhaal and Annaleigh Ashford led a superlative cast, bringing startling emotional candor to Sarna Lapine’s exquisitely sung production.

Jake Gyllenhaal in 'Sunday in the Park With George'

 

A Doll’s House, Part 2

Courtesy of Brigitte Lacombe

What could have been merely a deconstructionist gimmick turned out instead to be a wickedly spiky consideration of marriage and gender roles across the centuries in Lucas Hnath’s playful “sequel” to the classic Ibsen drama. In Sam Gold’s bracingly lithe production, from the moment the incomparable Laurie Metcalf walked through the door that Nora Helmer had slammed shut behind her, this was timeless sociocultural debate elevated to the championship theatrical leagues. Quite unexpectedly, it was also one of the funniest plays of the year.

Chris Cooper and Laurie Metcalf in 'A Doll's House, Part 2'

 

Sweeney Todd

Joan Marcus

How do you extract fresh chills from a musical masterwork that has been produced in seemingly every possible size and shape from Industrial Age epic to stripped-down spookhouse chamber piece? Originally staged in a traditional South London pie shop, faithfully recreated off-Broadway, this immersive production of the obsessive revenge tale by Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler stuck us smack in the middle of the throat-slashing action with a Grand Guignol glee that made us feel the cold steel of the razor and smell the blood.

Siobhan McCarthy and Jeremy Secomb in 'Sweeney Todd'

Mary Jane

Joan Marcus

Carrie Coon followed her breakout TV work on The Leftovers and Fargo with a riveting return to the stage in this infinitely moving yet rigorously unsentimental portrait by Amy Herzog of a mother caring for a chronically ill child while struggling to remain a vital individual beyond that all-consuming role. Anne Kauffman’s lucid, unfussy production gracefully sidestepped the conventions of the medical drama to explore questions of life, death and sacrifice with rare humanism and gentle spirituality.

Liza Colon-Zayas (left) and Carrie Coon in 'Mary Jane'

Hello, Dolly!

Courtesy of Julieta Cervantes

Who would have guessed that the old girl still had so much life in her? I’m talking about the 1964 musical warhorse, adapted by composer-lyricist Jerry Herman and writer Michael Stewart from Thornton Wilder’s The Matchmaker. As a triumphant vehicle for Bette Midler’s return to the musical-theater stage after a half-century’s absence, this was sheer perfection, flanking the indomitable star with a top-drawer cast that includes a never-funnier David Hyde Pierce. Jerry Zaks’ lovingly revitalized restoration was no less delightful with Midler’s divine alternate, Donna Murphy. The show rejoices in the uplifting values of popular Golden-Age Broadway entertainment, and will no doubt continue to do so in January, when Bernadette Peters and Victor Garber step into the lead roles.

David Hyde Pierce and Bette Midler in 'Hello, Dolly!'

Once on This Island

Courtesy of Joan Marcus

In his second Broadway production, actor-turned-director Michael Arden works magic with his environmental staging of the 1990 musical fairy tale by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty. Enhanced by visual suggestions of real-world natural disasters from Haiti to Puerto Rico, this rousing hymn to community and resilience is performed by a superb cast of 20, all equally invested in the transformative power of storytelling and the healing energy of song. It also announces an instant star in enchanting discovery Hailey Kilgore.

From left: Mia Williamson, Alex Newell, Hailey Kilgore and cast in 'Once on This Island'

Pacific Overtures

Courtesy of Joan Marcus

Perhaps the most adventurous work in the Sondheim canon, this 1976 musical about the Westernization of Japan, written with John Weidman, unfolded with haunting narrative simplicity in John Doyle’s elegantly streamlined, modern-dress production, featuring a statesmanlike George Takei as the narrator figure known as The Reciter. The staging’s calligraphic delicacy revealed new emotional shades in one of the composer’s most idiosyncratic scores, drawing out both ongoing relevance and understated poignancy in themes of globalization, cultural isolationism and bullying foreign policy.

From left, Steven Eng, Megan Masako Haley and Ann Harada in 'Pacific Overtures'

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Saturday, November 18, 2017

VIDEO: Take a Closer Look at Broadway’s HELLO, DOLLY! Vinyl Edition

Broadway World
VIDEO: Take a Closer Look at Broadway’s HELLO, DOLLY! Vinyl Edition
by BWW News Desk
Nov. 17, 2017

Masterworks Broadway is celebrating the release of The New Broadway Cast Recording of Hello, Dolly! starring three-time Grammy Award-winning legend Bette Midler as Dolly Gallagher Levi on vinyl. Watch the video below to get a closer look at all the features, including a 20-page book with production shots, lyrics and liner notes, cover art tributing the 1964 Broadway cast album and more!

Produced by multiple-Grammy Award winner Steven Epstein, with a cast of 37 and 28 musicians, you can order the vinyl edition now on Amazon. The recording features 16 songs, including “Penny In My Pocket,” a song restored for this production. Jerry Herman‘s Tony-winning score is heard in a new orchestration by Larry Hochman.

As previously announced, Ms. Midler will play the final performance of her history-making run in Hello, Dolly! on Sunday, January 14, 2018. Six days later, on Saturday evening, January 20, two-time Tony Award winner Ms. Peters takes on the iconic role of Dolly Gallagher Levi.

Tony Award winner Gavin Creel and Tony Award nominee Kate Baldwin have extended their runs in Hello, Dolly!, set to costar with theatrical legend and two-time Tony Award winner Peters. On January 20, Ms. Peters, Mr. Creel, and Ms. Baldwin will be joined by recently announced co-stars, four-time Tony Award nominee and six-time Emmy Award nominee Victor Garber as Horace Vandergelder and Olivier Award nominee Charlie Stemp who will be making his Broadway debut as Barnaby Tucker.

This production of Michael Stewart and Jerry Herman‘s Hello, Dolly! instantly became the most coveted ticket of the year when it broke the record for best first day of ticket sales in Broadway history. By the time it began previews, it had the largest pre-performance advance sale in Broadway history. In addition to Mr. Creel’s Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical, Hello, Dolly! won three other Tonys, including Best Revival of a Musical, Best Actress in a Musical (Bette Midler), and Best Costume Design of a Musical (Santo Loquasto), and has continued to break the Shubert Theatre house box office record over and over and over and over again.

Directed by four-time Tony Award winner Jerry Zaks and choreographed by Tony Award winner Warren Carlyle, Hello, Dolly! began performances on Broadway on March 15, 2017, and officially opened on Thursday, April 20, 2017.

This Hello, Dolly!, the first new production of the classic musical (based on Thornton Wilder‘s The Matchmaker) to appear on Broadway since it opened more than fifty years ago, pays tribute to the work of its original director/ choreographer Gower Champion, which has been hailed both then and now as one of the greatest stagings in musical theater history.

VIDEO: Take a Closer Look at Broadway's HELLO, DOLLY! Vinyl Edition
Click Here to Watch the Video!

Hello Dolly – Vinyl

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Monday, November 6, 2017

Timing is Everything Says Hello, Dolly! Sound Designer Scott Lehrer

ET Now
Timing is Everything Says Hello, Dolly! Sound Designer Scott Lehrer
20th October 2017

Timing is Everything Says Hello, Dolly! Sound Designer Scott Lehrer

Timing is Everything Says Hello, Dolly! Sound Designer Scott Lehrer

USA – Broadway’s latest revival of the ever-popular Jerry Herman comedy musical, Hello, Dolly! put Bette Midler centre stage as Dolly, the enterprising widow finding her way in an 1890s’ New York City. Directed by Jerry Zaks, with an expansively spatialised sound design by Scott Lehrer, enabled via TiMax SoundHub, the role saw Midler claim her first acting Tony award: Best Leading Actress in a Musical.

Scott Lehrer’s sound designs are recognisably different, distinguished specifically by their provision of highly articulate and intelligible spatial reinforcement to fully engage the audience. “I want the audience to actually hear sound coming from a close approximation of where it is being sung or spoken. I want the band to be rich in sound and coming from different apparent locations in the sound system, so that it is not just a flat mono system. I want the sound to come alive for the audience.” Read More

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Saturday, September 9, 2017

BetteBack March 3, 1975: Is Bette Midler going to appear on TV as a regular on a show without singing?

News Journal Mansfield
March 3, 1975

Bette Midler

Q. – I was told that Bette Midler is going to appear on TV as a regular on a show without singing. Is this possible?  P.B., Bridgeport, Conn.

A. – It’s possible, but it’s not about to happen. Bette Midler has not signed to star in a straight non – musical TV series. However, she is a capable actress and would probably do well playing an offbeat character in a TV series. Bette’s current plans do not involve TV … she is readying a Broadway revue in which she will star.

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    Friday, June 16, 2017

    Join Bette Midler and the NYRP Family for Spring Picnic on June 19 along the river in Sherman Creek Park

    2017-05-21_3-44-33

    Join Bette Midler and the NYRP Family for

    Spring Picnic on

    June 19 along the river in Sherman Creek Park

    Click below to purchase tickets!

     

    Join us under the tent for a beautiful evening gala along the Harlem River as we celebrate groundbreaking for the final phase of NYRP’s transformation of Sherman Creek Park.

    Our founder Bette Midler will take a break from “Hello Dolly!” to raise a toast to expansion partners Thompson Family Foundation and NYC Parks Department. Music, fabulous food, and libations will round out the festivities.

    This exciting new project will complete 17 years of transforming a neglected stretch of the Harlem River waterfront from a hazardous dumping ground into a stunning urban park. The two acre waterfront expansion is the last unreclaimed and inaccessible portion of the park.

     

     

    PURCHASE TICKETS

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    Thursday, June 15, 2017

    The Best (and Worst) of the 2017 Tony Awards

    The New York Times
    The Best (and Worst) of the 2017 Tony Awards
    By ERIK PIEPENBURG and SCOTT HELLERJUNE 12, 2017

    Best Shout-Out to the Playwright Who Got You a Tony

    Photo

    Cynthia Nixon won best featured actress in a play for her performance in “The Little Foxes.”CreditSara Krulwich/The New York Times

    Accepting her award for “The Little Foxes,” Cynthia Nixon struck one of the night’s more political notes in an otherwise apolitical night of speechmaking.

    “It is a privilege to appear in Lillian Hellman’s eerily prescient play, at this specific moment in history,” she said. “Eighty years ago, she wrote, ‘There are people who eat the earth and eat all the people on it, and other people who just stand around and watch them do it.’ My love, my gratitude and my undying respect go out to all the people in 2017 who are refusing to just stand and watch them do it.” Read More

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