Monday, February 11, 2008

Playbill Talks To Bette Midler

Las Vegas audiences are in for a treat when Emmy, Grammy and Tony Award winner Bette Midler begins her two-year engagement at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace Feb. 20. Midler — who has titled her new concert act The Showgirl Must Go On — will be backed by a 13-piece band and 20 female dancers in an evening that will feature an eclectic mix of tunes and characters (expect the wheelchair-bound mermaid Delores Delago and old, old Soph). A few years ago, I had the opportunity to catch Midler's wonderful Kiss My Brass tour, and onstage the award-winning actress was a thrilling mix of singer, comedienne and social commentator. I was also utterly impressed by Midler's musicianship as she made her way through such signature tunes as "From a Distance," "Wind Beneath My Wings," "I Think It's Gonna Rain Today," "Shiver Me Timbers" and "The Rose" as well as standards like "Skylark" and "Tenderly." A few weeks ago I had the true privilege of chatting by phone with Midler, who spoke about her newest Las Vegas endeavor, her work for the New York Restoration Project (which she founded) and her thoughts about returning to Broadway. And, be sure to catch the supremely talented Midler in Las Vegas, and you'll understand why she is, to fans and critics alike, simply divine.

Question: How did the Las Vegas engagement come about?
Midler: Well, Celine [Dion] was getting ready to go, and they were looking around for someone who could fill her shoes. They're mighty big shoes to fill. They called me, and I said, "Well, hmm…" I have been trooping with Kiss My Brass for a couple of years. I've gone to Australia. That was a show that I really, really love. I thought, "Well, if I could do a cut-down version of Kiss My Brass, I would be interested." So we started talking and they said, "Well, are you going to do Kiss My Brass?" And I said, "Can I do Kiss My Brass?" And they said, "Well, we would rather that you didn't." And then I was brought up short.

All my friends said, and the kids I work with said, "You know, it would be fun to do something brand new."

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Source: Playbill

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