Wednesday, July 26, 2017

1991 – For The Boys – Bette Midler Interview – Part 2

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I celebrate everyone’s religious holidays.

“I celebrate everyone’s religious holidays. if it’s good enough for the righteous, it’s good enough for the self-righteous, I always say.” – Bette Midler

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Bette Midler – Kiss My Brass ~ Delores DeLago Part 1

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Hello, Broadway! Hartung debuts in ‘Hello, Dolly!’

The Sun Prairie Star
Hello, Broadway! Hartung debuts in ‘Hello, Dolly!
By Meghan Chua
Posted: Monday, July 24, 2017 1:45 pm

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It’s a long way from Sun Prairie to New York City, but one Sun Prairie High School alumnus has made it to Broadway.

Calling from New York last week, Hartung recounted his Broadway debut as a member of the ensemble in the revival of “Hello, Dolly!” and an understudy for the role of Barnaby Tucker.

When The Star last checked in with Hartung, he was getting ready to play the part of a Lost Boy in Peter Pan Live, which aired in 2014. Hartung began his training at the Monona Academy of Dance at age 3 and became involved with Sun Prairie Civic Theatre in second grade.

By the time he graduated Sun Prairie High School in 2010, he had been in musicals, led the marching band as drum major and sung in the choir.

Hartung went to school in Michigan for theater and went on to live in New York. He said he has been doing a lot of work both in New York and in the region, “really digging into the industry here.”

He didn’t know anyone involved in the revival of “Hello, Dolly!” and auditioned in an open call. Within two weeks of his audition, Hartung said he got the call that he was in with the company.

“It was a whirlwind for sure,” he said.

Hartung said he has been an understudy before in regional theater productions, but it’s a different ballgame in a long-running show like “Hello, Dolly!” As an understudy on Broadway, it was a matter of waiting for the day he would play the role on the main stage.

During rehearsals, Hartung juggles the roles of a chorus member and understudy. He said the understudies rehearse when they get a chance, but also have a lot of preparation work on their shoulders.

By June 14 when he went on as Barnaby Tucker for the first time, Hartung said he pretty much knew what he was doing – which was lucky for someone who found out after the matinée show that he would be going on with the role for the evening show.

He said the company was a huge support in helping him portray the role on the main stage.

“The company is so supportive and loving and helpful,” he said.

Working with the company, which collectively has years upon years of show experience, Hartung said he knew he had to step up to the plate during rehearsals. He leaned on the training he has received in Sun Prairie through the Monona Academy of Dance and Sun Prairie Civic Theater as well as at the University of Michigan, which he said he was lucky to have.

“I had all the tools to success in this rehearsal, but I’ve learned so much from just watching everybody who’s around me,” he said.

Perhaps the best-known member of the company is actress Bette Midler. Midler, also famous as a singer, songwriter, comedian and film producer, stars in the lead role as Dolly. Hartung said it’s easy to forget how much of an icon Midler is while working with her.

“She was very, very involved in the work and she really wants to be the best that she can be, and she works really hard, just like everybody in the room,” he said. “I’ve learned so much from her as well as the rest of the company by working with them.”

The “Hello, Dolly!” revival has won and been nominated for numerous awards, including being named Best Revival of a Musical in the Tony Awards. Hartung said doing a show every night is a “dream job.”

“Doing a role on Broadway is absolutely one of the biggest things I’ve done,” he said.

Hartung said this season’s Broadway shows portray a wide range of messages, including some that tackle heavier issues. But “Hello, Dolly!” is important in a different way, he said.

“People can come to the theater every night and really enjoy themselves – and remember to smile and remember that there are good people in the world and love in the world,” Hartung said. “Seeing people’s faces every night in the audience…it’s incredible, seeing how they’ve enjoyed themselves. It really is meaningful.”

It also is a different beast than past shows, he learned. “Hello, Dolly!” runs eight shows a week, and will continue to run for the foreseeable future, he said.

“I’ve really had to learn how to take care of my body, take care of my mind, have a life outside of that, while still bringing everything I can to the theater every night,” he said. “It’s definitely been a lifestyle change.”

Hartung said he hopes to continue creating a career in New York and build on the momentum he’s started to create with these shows.

“I would hope to continue to be able to create a career in New York and continue a reputation as somebody that is a reliable go-to for theater, as well as I would love the opportunity to be able to experience new places through my work,” he said.

And looking back, he said the training he received in Sun Prairie, as well as the support from his family, remain important to him.

“I wouldn’t be where I am if it wasn’t for the people that helped raise me,” he said. “The Sun Prairie community was such an asset for me to begin my training in the arts, and it really is the foundation of my technique and my skills and professionalism.”

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This is a scrapbook site devoted to Bette Midler. Absolutely no profits are being made from the posting of this work. It is presented here for educational and historical reasons only. If, however, you are the owner of this work and would like it removed from this website, please contact me and I will comply as soon as I get the message. Thank you for your time and patience. No disrespect intended. Just a huge admirer and collector of all things Bette Midler. You can contact me at: misterd@bootlegbetty.com

 

“I’m not just vain, I’m ignorant. I’m vignorant!” – Bette Midler

“I’m not just vain, I’m ignorant. I’m vignorant!” – Bette Midler

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Bette Midler: Bootleg Betty: Perfect Isn’t Easy

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Westboro author explores rituals for success in book ‘Psyched Up’

TELEGRAM
Westboro author explores rituals for success in book ‘Psyched Up’
By Ann Connery Frantz, Correspondent
Posted Jul 16, 2017

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“Psyched Up: How the Science of Mental Preparation Can Help You Succeed” by Daniel McGinn (Penguin Random House, $26)

Nothing succeeds like …

Chewing a Bic pen, if you’re talk-show host Stephen Colbert.

Giving your opponent your ugliest grimace, if you’re Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps.

Hitting an exact number of ground balls, starting practice at precise times and scratching the word chai (the Hebrew word for life) into the dirt approaching home plate, if you’re Wade Boggs, former Red Sox great.

Coupled with anxiety, the ritual may become ornate: Panic-prone singer Carly Simon eases it with an onstage couch, for lying down if it all gets to be too much, or being spanked by the band members as a painful distraction. Barbra Streisand skipped live performances for years.

There are many ways to overcome fear, set one’s mind in gear and psych oneself up before performing, whether as a lecturer, athlete, musician or singer. Pavarotti had stage fright. So did Ella Fitzgerald, Bette Midler, Rod Stewart and Paul McCartney. All kinds of wonderful performers fear they’ll mess up and freeze with fear. Consequently, they seek help from many sources —meditation, coaches, therapists. There are multiple ways to prepare oneself.

Stage fright is not the only issue. People who must motivate others need to be ready to do their best.

As a business reporter at Newsweek (after graduating from Boston College), Daniel McGinn, 46, of Westboro, encountered various business strategy books that cited pre-performance rituals. He noted more of that as senior editor at Harvard Business Review. That gave birth to the book. “I decided to deep-dive into what the research shows, go out and talk to high performers to learn their ‘best practices before a performance.’ ”McGinn looked into our common need for a ritual or motivator before attempting to do what’s difficult, even if we’re good at it. His book, “Psyched Up: How the Science of Mental Preparation Can Help You Succeed,” examines why people stumble and how they find a way out of it before they destroy the pleasure and satisfaction of performing.

He interviewed dozens of experts in the field, from surgeons and military leaders to actors and athletes. He researched studies by those who’ve explored what makes a person compete better, perform at peak, keep going under stress. It turns out that people have different motivators. Sometimes, the boss makes it all work, with a silly ritual to rev up competition or a proffered reward trip to exotic locales. Among athletes, pep talks rally the players but “trash talk” is an equally popular way to unsettle the opponent and bolster self-confidence, in business and in sports.

In short, there are plenty of ways to get over the hurdle and gain an edge, beyond time-honored practices like taking a pill or a drink.

“First, learn what works for you,” he says. “Backstage jitters are an unavoidable part of a musician’s life, (but) you can systematically develop skills to perform well despite them.” That doesn’t mean having everyone in the band spank you or listening to “Boogie Shoes” to perk you up before a job interview. Baseball players are notoriously superstitious and perform complex adjustments to their gear or stance when they play.

TJ Connelly, a DJ, plays exciting rock hits during Red Sox practice (leaving the competitors to organ music for their own practice time) or perks up the crowd with the Dropkick Murphys. McGinn writes about Costas Karageorghis, arguably the world’s leading expert on music and physical performance. He swears by rhythm and musicality as motivators, pointing for instance to the movie “Rocky,” in which the themes create mental images of physical exertion and winning.

Success comes as a result of learning to interpret pressure in the best way. It’s even possible to conquer the fight-or-flight instinct. “Psychology is the software, but biology is the hardware,” he says. “Adrenalin speeds up the system and creates jitters, but it can be directed in a positive manner. People perform best not when they’re totally calm, and not when they’re totally stressed, but somewhere in the middle.”

Some use centering, a technique for locating and strengthening one’s core before a performance, to focus their energy. For those who like methodology, he includes meditative “steps” from author Don Greene.

“I was not a very good athlete in performance, but I got all the things you typically associate with sports — friendships, discipline and so on,” McGinn said. “I became fascinated by the psychology the coaches would use: their focus on the type of music we listened to on the bus on the way to a game, their ritualistic schedules of what we were supposed to be doing before a game, a lot of pep talks. These were the sort of things people would do before a performance.”

In 2011 or 2012, he had written an article at HBR about how when a famous person touches an object, it becomes valuable as a motivator. “That, in turn, becomes a way to reduce anxiety,” he said. He believed in that one so much that he asked noted journalist Malcolm Gladwell, author of “Blink” and “Outliers,” to use his new laptop before he himself touched it, as a lucky charm. “He used it for three months. Does it make sense that I should write better on a Malcolm Gladwell-owned keyboard? Maybe not, but it works.” However it’s created, he says, confidence building is critical. “Learning new ways to increase confidence evolved as I did the reporting. Not surprisingly, it’s really important. If you talk to athletes and performers, they have ways to boost their confidence beforehand.”

There are many ways to reach the goal. “Especially, I think, most surprising in that regard is in the chapter that looks at rituals and superstitions; you can find things people do before a test or sporting event that make lots of sense, and things that don’t. For example, Jerry Seinfeld’s backstage routine is same every time – reviews joke cards, etc. – but he puts his jacket on five minutes before, and that cues his body up to perform. Colbert has a really elaborate set of rituals. He chews a certain kind of Bic pen, rings a hotel bell, high-fives the crew. These things distract them from anxiety, give them something to focus on during a time when they might be thinking negative thoughts. The mind is a really powerful thing, and for some of these techniques there’s not a rational reason they should work, but they do.”

Competition drives the world in many arenas, and winning is the goal.

“The world’s become a more competitive place over time,” McGinn said. “We have the ability to measure things a lot more than we used to. Social media allows for comparison of things. Companies are more interested in finding ways to analytically hire the best people and, once they’re in a job, evaluate their performance (in several ways). Even childhood is more competitive than it used to be – sports, academics, music. It’s become part of our culture.”

The book is premised on the world being competitive, he says. “We should position ourselves for that.” He points out Po Bronson’s book, “Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing” for a look at why people compete. “It probably comes down to different people have different appetites for risk, and how much one embraces competition is probably a function partly of how willing you are to risk failure, which is what you’re doing when you’re competing. Risk appetite is sort of inborn.”

While researching the book, he visited the Center for Enhanced Performance at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, witnessing sophisticated, engaged methods used to inspire athletes and cadets toward top performance.

He calls it “one of the best days of reporting I spent on the book. I didn’t know how a sophisticated arsenal of tools like that could come into play. It was interesting to see what kind of tools they can bring to the problem of making a player more psyched up before the game.” Renowned sports psychologist Dr. Nathan Zinsser leads the center.

“Being ‘Psyched Up’ is what the book is about, simply. Its main argument is that even if you’re not Michael Phelps and you’re not Tom Brady, if you’re just a person going in for an interview, you can do something similar to what Phelps or Brady do before a game. Even if you’re not an athlete, you can do the same things.”

McGinn’s first book, “House Lust,” addressed the housing boom in Boston. “Arguably, that was more topical, but this book – I hope and the publisher hopes – people will see a direct return on their investment.”

He’ll eventually settle into another book. “I like using different kinds of muscles and doing book-length things of my own,” he said. “When you find an idea, and a publisher who is interested in the same thing, it’s really a good match.”

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Bette Midler – Soph Jokes – Kiss My Brass – 2004

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Ready For My Close Up!!!

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This is a scrapbook site devoted to Bette Midler. Absolutely no profits are being made from the posting of this work. It is presented here for educational and historical reasons only. If, however, you are the owner of this work and would like it removed from this website, please contact me and I will comply as soon as I get the message. Thank you for your time and patience. No disrespect intended. Just a huge admirer and collector of all things Bette Midler. You can contact me at: misterd@bootlegbetty.com

 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

1991 – For The Boys – Bette Midler Interview – Part 1

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Shop At The Official Bette Midler Store: Click Here

"Find your Light; They can't love you if they can't see you" ~ Bette Midler

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* Access the monthly Bette Midler Jukebox: Click Here

This is a scrapbook site devoted to Bette Midler. Absolutely no profits are being made from the posting of this work. It is presented here for educational and historical reasons only. If, however, you are the owner of this work and would like it removed from this website, please contact me and I will comply as soon as I get the message. Thank you for your time and patience. No disrespect intended. Just a huge admirer and collector of all things Bette Midler. You can contact me at: misterd@bootlegbetty.com