Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Trivia: How Well Do You Know Bette Midler?

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Hello, Dolly!, New York — Bette Midler stars in high-spirited fun

Financial Times
Hello, Dolly!, New York — Bette Midler stars in high-spirited fun
by: Max McGuinness
April 21, 2017

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If you look up “Broadway musical” in a dog-eared theatrical dictionary, the description is bound to sound like Hello, Dolly! A high-kicking chorus line? Catchy tunes? Frocks galore? Jerry Herman and Michael Stewart’s 1964 extravaganza about a late 19th-century New York “marriage broker” ticks all the boxes. Throw in a barn-storming performance by Bette Midler as the titular Dolly and you’ve got an unstoppable juggernaut of old-fashioned schmaltz and star power. Sample the FT’s top stories for a week You select the topic, we deliver the news. Select topic Enter email addressInvalid email Sign up By signing up you confirm that you have read and agree to the terms and conditions, cookie policy and privacy policy. Jerry Zaks’s staging sticks resolutely to that familiar formula and eschews any trace of directorial innovation. Midler similarly offers up a blend of unflagging ebullience and eyebrow-cocking wit that is rooted in the tradition of boisterous comic heroines such as Doris Day and Ginger Rogers (who played the same part). Her magnetic stage presence duly compensates for a singing voice that displays limited range and occasionally sounds a bit tired. Playing against type, David Hyde Pierce (who was Niles in Frasier) provides a worthy foil as Horace Vandergelder, the gruff “half-millionaire” shopkeeper destined despite his best efforts to be matched with the veteran matchmaker. On the night I attended, Pierce also adroitly recovered from a lengthy mid-scene hiatus enforced by technical difficulties. Among a well-drilled ensemble, Gavin Creel and Taylor Trensch stand out for their Laurel and Hardyesque rapport as Vandergelder’s two clerks Cornelius Hackl and Barnaby Tucker. It all adds up to a slick yet somewhat hollow package that cries out for a smidgen of pathos amid over two hours of relentless merriment. That lack of counterpoint is particularly noticeable during a climactic scene inside a faintly pretentious restaurant midway through Act II. For what seems like an eternity, waiters and diners circulate with total fluency in a bravura display of choreography, never missing a beat. One longs for someone to drop a plate. All obstacles to happiness and romance are similarly surmounted here with a bit too much ease. Hello, Dolly! nonetheless delivers a potent dose of high-spirited fun. Repeated mid-performance standing ovations suggest many theatregoers will find that to be the perfect tonic. Others may feel as if they have just eaten an entire bag of marshmallows.

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Bette Midler On The Drive In From The Airports While Touring:

Bette Midler On The Drive In From The Airports While Touring: “The drive in from the airport to downtown looks exactly the same in every city. And it’s not exactly scenic…the ugliest routes you can find. The only thing that’s different are the people. Thank God! (Marietta Journal, June 22, 1977)

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Bette Midler – Stay With Me – Divine Intervention – 2015

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Outer Critics Circle Nominations: ‘Anastasia,’ ‘Hello, Dolly!’ Lead the Pack (Full List)

Variety
Outer Critics Circle Nominations: ‘Anastasia,’ ‘Hello, Dolly!’ Lead the Pack (Full List)
By Gordon Cox
April 4/25/2017

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New musical “Anastasia” and the megaselling revival of “Hello, Dolly!” with Bette Midler took the lead in the nominations for the 2017 Outer Critics Circle Awards, with Paula Vogel and Rebecca Taichman’s “Indecent” at the front of the pack of play nominees. Actors on the nominations list include Midler, Daniel Craig (“Othello”), Allison Janney (“Six Degrees of Separation”), Nathan Lane (“The Front Page”) and “War Paint” leads Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole.

“Anastasia” racked up 13 noms, with “Dolly!” taking ten and “Indecent” scoring seven. The Off Broadway musical “The Band’s Visit,” which is hoping for a move to Broadway based on its Off Broadway success, notched seven, as did sleeper-hit musical “Come From Away.”

Made up of journalists who cover Broadway and Off Broadway theater for outlets based outside of New York, the Outer Critics often deviate from the trends and voting patterns that are established in the subsequent weeks of the theater trophy season. That’s usuallyt due to the fact that in many years, the season’s biggest frontrunners aren’t eligible for OCC consideration because they had previously been in the mix in prior seasons for their earlier Off Broadway incarnations.

This year, big titles “Dear Evan Hansen” and “Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812” weren’t considered for that reason; nor was “In Transit.” New elements in Broadway transfers were considered, however, which resulted in three nods in design categories for “Great Comet.”

Despite being an imperfect bellwether for the Tonys, the OCC noms and awards can offer an early glimpse of shows attracting heat, especially beyond the season’s obvious frontrunners, and could also offer insight into what shows will have real legs in the markets beyond New York. The freshly opened “Anastasia,” for instance, has so far flexed impressive muscle at the box office, and looks poised to do good business on the road.

Winners of the 2017 Outer Critics Circles Awards will be announced May 8, with statuettes to be handed out at a May 25 ceremony at Sardi’s. The full list of 2016-17 Outer Critics Circle Award Nominations follows.

OUTSTANDING NEW BROADWAY PLAY
A Doll’s House, Part 2
Indecent
Oslo
Sweat

OUTSTANDING NEW BROADWAY MUSICAL
Anastasia
A Bronx Tale
Come From Away
Groundhog Day
Holiday Inn

OUTSTANDING NEW OFF-BROADWAY PLAY
If I Forget
Incognito
A Life
Linda
Love, Love, Love

OUTSTANDING NEW OFF-BROADWAY MUSICAL
The Band’s Visit
Hadestown
Himself and Nora
Kid Victory
Spamilton

OUTSTANDING BOOK OF A MUSICAL (Broadway or Off-Broadway)
Terrence McNally     Anastasia
Itamar Moses     The Band’s Visit
Chazz Palminteri     A Bronx Tale
Danny Rubin     Groundhog Day
Irene Sankoff & David Hein     Come From Away

OUTSTANDING NEW SCORE (Broadway or Off-Broadway)
Stephen Flaherty & Lynn Ahrens     Anastasia
Alan Menken & Glenn Slater     A Bronx Tale
Tim Minchin     Groundhog Day
Irene Sankoff & David Hein     Come From Away
David Yazbek     The Band’s Visit

 OUTSTANDING REVIVAL OF A PLAY (Broadway or Off-Broadway)
The Front Page
Jitney
The Little Foxes
Othello
The Price

 OUTSTANDING REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL (Broadway or Off-Broadway)
Finian’s Rainbow
Hello, Dolly!
Miss Saigon
Sunset Boulevard
Sweeney Todd

 OUTSTANDING DIRECTOR OF A PLAY
Lila Neugebauer     The Wolves
Jack O’Brien     The Front Page
Daniel Sullivan     The Little Foxes
Rebecca Taichman     Indecent
Kate Whoriskey     Sweat

 OUTSTANDING DIRECTOR OF A MUSICAL
Christopher Ashley     Come From Away
David Cromer     The Band’s Visit
Darko Tresnjak     Anastasia
Matthew Warchus     Groundhog Day
Jerry Zaks     Hello, Dolly!

 OUTSTANDING CHOREOGRAPHER
Andy Blankenbuehler     Bandstand
Warren Carlyle     Hello, Dolly!
Savion Glover     Shuffle Along
Kelly Devine     Come From Away
Denis Jones     Holiday Inn

 OUTSTANDING SET DESIGN (Play or Musical)
Alexander Dodge     Anastasia
Nigel Hook     The Play That Goes Wrong
Mimi Lien     Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Scott Pask     The Little Foxes
Douglas W. Schmidt     The Front Page

OUTSTANDING COSTUME DESIGN (Play or Musical)
Linda Cho     Anastasia
Susan Hilferty     Present Laughter
Santo Loquasto     Hello, Dolly!
Ann Roth     Shuffle Along
Catherine Zuber     War Paint

OUTSTANDING LIGHTING DESIGN (Play or Musical)
Christopher Akerlind     Indecent
Donald Holder     Anastasia
Natasha Katz     Hello, Dolly!
Bradley King     Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Kenneth Posner     War Paint

 OUTSTANDING PROJECTION DESIGN (Play or Musical)
Duncan McLean     Privacy
Jared Mezzocchi     Vietgone
Benjamin Pearcy for 59 Productions     Oslo
Aaron Rhyne     Anastasia
Tal Yarden     Indecent

OUTSTANDING SOUND DESIGN (Play or Musical)
Gareth Fry & Pete Malkin     The Encounter
Gareth Owen     Come From Away
Nicholas Pope     Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Matt Stine     Sweeney Todd
Nevin Steinberg     Bandstand

OUTSTANDING ORCHESTRATIONS
Doug Besterman     Anastasia
Larry Blank     Holiday Inn
Bill Elliott & Greg Anthony Rassen     Bandstand
Larry Hochman     Hello, Dolly!
Jamshied Sharifi     The Band’s Visit

 OUTSTANDING ACTOR IN A PLAY
Daniel Craig     Othello
Michael Emerson     Wakey, Wakey
Kevin Kline     Present Laughter
David Oyelowo     Othello
David Hyde Pierce     A Life

OUTSTANDING ACTRESS IN A PLAY
Janie Dee     Linda
Sally Field     The Glass Menagerie
Allison Janney     Six Degrees of Separation
Laura Linney     The Little Foxes
Laurie Metcalf     A Doll’s House, Part 2

OUTSTANDING ACTOR IN A MUSICAL
Christian Borle     Falsettos
Nick Cordero     A Bronx Tale
Andy Karl     Groundhog Day
David Hyde Pierce     Hello, Dolly!
Tony Shalhoub     The Band’s Visit

OUTSTANDING ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL
C
hristy Altomare     Anastasia
Christine Ebersole     War Paint
Katrina Lenk     The Band’s Visit
Patti LuPone     War Paint
Bette Midler     Hello, Dolly!

OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTOR IN A PLAY
Michael Aronov     Oslo
Danny DeVito     The Price
Nathan Lane     The Front Page
Richard Thomas     The Little Foxes
Richard Topol     Indecent

OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTRESS IN A PLAY
Johanna Day     Sweat
Jayne Houdyshell     A Doll’s House, Part 2
Katrina Lenk     Indecent
Nana Mensah     Man From Nebraska
Cynthia Nixon     The Little Foxes

OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTOR IN A MUSICAL
John Bolton     Anastasia
Jeffry Denman     Kid Victory
Gavin Creel     Hello, Dolly!
Shuler Hensley     Sweet Charity
Andrew Rannells     Falsettos

OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL
Kate Baldwin     Hello, Dolly!
Stephanie J. Block     Falsettos
Jenn Colella     Come From Away
Caroline O’Connor     Anastasia  
Mary Beth Peil     Anastasia

OUTSTANDING SOLO PERFORMANCE
Ed Dixon     Georgie: My Adventures with George Rose
Marin Ireland     On the Exhale
Sarah Jones     Sell / Buy / Date
Judith Light     All the Ways to Say I Love You
Simon McBurney     The Encounter

JOHN GASSNER AWARD
(Presented for an American play, preferably by a new playwright)
Jaclyn Backhaus     Men on Boats
Sarah DeLappe     The Wolves
Paola Lázaro     Tell Hector I Miss Him
Qui Nguyen     Vietgone
Bess Wohl     Small Mouth Sounds

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Bette Midler On The Looks Of Cities While Touring:

Bette Midler On The Looks Of Cities While Touring: “And the cities all begin to look alike. You wake up and don’t know what town you’re in. The hotel rooms all look the same, thanks to all the big chains. And the food franchises and gas stations all look alike. (Marietta Journal, June 22, 1977)

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1984 – Good Morning America – Art Or Bust – Bette Midler (Part Two)

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Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS

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Easter Bonnet Competition Raises $6,379,572 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS

Broadway World
Easter Bonnet Competition Raises $6,379,572 for BC/EFA
by Alan Henry
Apr. 25, 2017

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We’ve got the fundraising results from the annual Easter Bonnet Competition! Check out the winners below! The total raised was $6,379,572.

Broadway’s best shared playful parodies, stirred emotions and delivered dance-driven delights at the 31st annual Easter Bonnet Competition, which raised a record-shattering $6,379,572 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. It’s the single highest fundraising total in Broadway Cares history.

The staggering number, raised by 57 Broadway, Off-Broadway and national touring productions, was announced by Gavin Creel, Bette Midler and David Hyde Pierce, stars of this season’s smash hit Hello, Dolly!. The total, announced Tuesday, April 25, 2017, breaks last year’s record-setter of $5,528,568.

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This year’s Easter Bonnet Competition (#BroadwayBonnets) was presented April 24 and 25 at the Minskoff Theatre, home to Disney’s The Lion King. The production featured performances and 20 exquisite, handmade bonnets, created and presented by some of Broadway and Off-Broadway’s most popular shows.

This year’s top overall fundraising award went to Glenn Close and the company of Sunset Boulevard, which raised a jaw-dropping $509,246.

In addition to sharing the fundraising total, Creel, Midler and Pierce also presented awards for best presentation and best bonnet design.

The Lion King won for both best presentation and best bonnet design. Set to spoken-word poetry written and performed by cast member L. Steven Taylor, the cast of The Lion King celebrated unity by highlighting, through dance, African, Asian, Indian and Polynesian cultures important to the show and the cast. The show’s elegant bonnet, designed by Mikey Clifton, Matthew Keating, Brenda O’Brien and Ilya Vett, emerged as an elaborate tribute to Mother Earth, “grown” onstage during the number.

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The company of Cats was runner-up with “The Battle of 52nd Street: Cats vs. Hogs,” a parody of “Jet Song” from West Side Story. After ending a fictitious rumble between the cats and their 52nd Street neighbors, the groundhogs, a larger-than-life pink pussy hat, appropriately bedazzled in glittering lights, emerged as the company’s bonnet.


Top Overall Fundraiser

Sunset Boulevard $509,246

Broadway Musicals

Top Fundraiser Sunday in the Park with George $382,780

1st Runner-Up Dear Evan Hansen $381,732

2nd Runner-Up Hamilton $348,585

3rd Runner-Up Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 $288,166

Broadway Plays

Top Fundraiser The Price $122,114

Off-Broadway Plays and Musicals

Top Fundraiser Avenue Q $49,485

National Tours

Top Fundraiser Wicked – Munchkinland $348,617

1st Runner-Up Kinky Boots $260,280

2nd Runner-Up Fun Home $212,314

3rd Runner-Up Book of Mormon – Jumamosi $164,799

Top Overall Fundraiser

Sunset Boulevard $509,246

Broadway Musicals

Top Fundraiser Sunday in the Park with George $382,780

1st Runner-Up Dear Evan Hansen $381,732

2nd Runner-Up Hamilton $348,585

3rd Runner-Up Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 $288,166

Broadway Plays

Top Fundraiser The Price $122,114

Off-Broadway Plays and Musicals

Top Fundraiser Avenue Q $49,485

National Tours

Top Fundraiser Wicked – Munchkinland $348,617

1st Runner-Up Kinky Boots $260,280

2nd Runner-Up Fun Home $212,314

3rd Runner-Up Book of Mormon – Jumamosi $164,799

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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Bette Midler in ‘Hello, Dolly!’ The next big phenomenon hits Broadway

The Inquirer
Bette Midler in ‘Hello, Dolly!’ The next big phenomenon hits Broadway
By David Patrick Stearns
Updated: APRIL 21, 2017 — 9:43 AM EDT

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NEW YORK — Outside Broadway’s Shubert Theatre on Wednesday, guys were taking selfies while swathed in bright-red feather boas. Inside, film director Quentin Tarantino stood in line at the men’s room. High-rollers took their third-row seats, carrying overpriced lattes. What could possibly be uniting such diverse parties?

The combination of star and show has created a good, old-fashioned box-office-busting phenomenon. I saw the excitement for myself, not to mention the boa guys, at a preview performance Wednesday before the Thursday opening.

You thought Hamilton forced you to plan your life many months in advance? In December, I was at the Paris Opera and struck up a conversation with some Brits, who exclaimed, “You’re from New York? We have tickets for Bette Midler in May.”

So if they’re coming from the other side of the pond, you can be sure Philadelphians are beating a path to the Shubert. Midler is 71 and on the outside cusp of being able to maintain a Broadway schedule. Tuesday shows and some weekend performances will replace Midler with the also-compelling Donna Murphy — contrary to wild rumors that 95-year-old Carol Channing, who originated the role, would come out of retirement and do occasional shows.

The producers have pursued a very curious publicity campaign: There hasn’t been one.

Midler gave an interview last year when the project was announced. And since then? Lots of advertisements and placards directing you from the subway to the theater. With excitement running so high — and, reportedly, a record-high $40 million in advance ticket sales — the show has the luxury of audiences not knowing what to expect from Midler’s Dolly.

Having begun on Broadway some 50 years ago singing “Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match, find me a find, catch me a catch” in Fiddler on the Roof, Midler is now playing the ultimate matchmaker, Dolly Levi, in 1885 New York City, manipulating one and all to her wishes, but revealing her soul in soliloquies to her deceased husband, talking about how tired she is of a hand-to-mouth life and her longing for stable domesticity. None of this lies even remotely outside Midler’s well-seasoned talent.

What sets Midler apart from her predecessors — at least at the Wednesday preview — is her ability to render broad humor with consistently fresh, bull’s-eye line readings that are also anchored in the character’s psychology. But a less-expected part of the package is a benevolent warmth in place of the nervous energy of her youth and the randy-but-tough persona on which she made her name.

That said, she has always reveled in double and triple entendres and delivers them here with more precision than ever, the mischievous glint in her eye all but winking at the audience. Is this Midler being Dolly or just Midler being Midler? Who cares?

The audience seemed not to. At her surprise entrance — you’ll read no spoiler here — the audience roar was deafening, only to be eclipsed by her Act I finale, “Before the Parade Passes By,” and then again in Act II with the big production number, “Hello, Dolly.”

Truth be told, there was some vocal struggle going on. From Middler’s first entrance, her voice was a bit raspy. It cleared up some when she had a few minutes offstage, but the singing was marked by a wide, slow vibrato and compromised pitch at key moments. This isn’t Midler being 71. It’s any Broadway leading lady holding up over a long preview-performance week.

Midler has never been a dancer, but she moves credibly. And when she makes her final entrance with the biggest hat of the evening, the effect is something that only a star presence achieves.

Divas tend to be solo acts after a certain point. Her contemporaries Barbra Streisand and Liza Minnelli have mainly been concert performers for years. But Midler shows every sign of being a team player, standing back and turning off the wattage when it’s somebody else’s moment.

Not that anybody could truly steal focus from David Hyde Pierce, who plays the money-obsessed half-millionaire Horace Vandergelder from Yonkers who is in Dolly’s sights for her second marriage. Rather than being an all-purpose curmudgeon, he’s more like Scrooge, with a top hat, muttonchops, and an imperious manner.

It takes some getting used to. But when Pierce opens Act II with “Penny in My Pocket,” a self-confessing song that was cut from the original production, the show is then officially half his. The character’s psychological flip-flop near the end is far more believable than Walter Matthau’s portrayal in the 1969 screen version.

The Jerry Zaks-directed production makes no attempt to give this old-fashioned show a new-fashioned credibility. In contrast to the overly ornate Gay ’90s milieu of the film version, this production is dated 1885 so that big hats and external glitter don’t get in the way of the story. The show asks all significant characters to address the audience directly at various points, which is old-fashioned but makes sense in a production that pretends to be nothing but a Broadway show, as opposed to a slice of reality.

Sets only sketch the scenes. Costumes are candy-colored. Secondary characters — with the substantial casting of Gavin Creel as Cornelius Hackl and Kate Baldwin as Irene Molloy — make little pretense at true characterization. They’re there to make you laugh as hard as possible. The chorus and dancing are full-tilt Broadway. So it’s characteristic faster-and-louder Zaks, familiar from shows such as Sister Act.

If you go that route, does anybody do it better?

So it’s a time-warp production, something that doesn’t just give a storybook portrayal of an earlier time, but does so with time-warp theatrical techniques. And, yes, I hoped for more of the stuff of the Thornton Wilder play The Matchmaker from which Hello, Dolly! was drawn — with widowed characters grasping for a second chance at happiness and pursuing the kind of inner emancipation that would explode in the late 1960s.

But this is Be Nice to Dolly Month. The 1964 original had a troubled gestation. “Before the Parade Passes By” was a relatively last-minute addition and made all the difference between the show being a hit and a middling success. It went through numerous titles.

Any score with tunes as catchy as Jerry Herman’s is going to attract nuisance lawsuits claiming the melodies were stolen, and this was no exception. The 1969 movie version was a high-budget botch that’s watchable now only because miscast Streisand somehow knew how to hold everything together.

Channing’s last tour grew so mannered and went to so many cities that some called it “The Door-to-Door Dolly.” So this production not only stands to give Midler a late-career signature role, but perhaps a bit of rehabilitation for the entertainment machine that is Hello, Dolly!

Playing at Shubert Theatre, 225 W. 44th St., New York. Information: 212-239-6200 or www.shubert.nyc.

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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