Hell No, Dolly! Bette Isn’t Performing At Tonys

It looks like Bette Midler, the biggest star of the Broadway season, won’t be performing at the Tony Awards on June 11th. The stated reason: “Hello, Dolly!” producers wanted to do the title number remotely, from the stage of the Shubert, where the show is housed. They claimed their stage configuration was much safer for the performers than that of Radio City Music Hall. Please. Every other show has to adapt its number, so why shouldn’t “Hello, Dolly!”? As for Bette, some people think she wants to be BEGGED to perform at the Tonys. That’s true diva behavior, I suppose, but I can’t believe her colleagues on- and off-stage will be thrilled about it, especially since many of them will still be in a production that has to sell tickets (Midler in the run is essentially sold-out) after Madame is gone. Others are saying that Bette has never forgotten her Tony-nomination snub of a few seasons back, when she played Hollywood agent/pothead Sue Mengers. Still others say that Miss Midler’s voice is shot and she wants to protect it. That’s the most outrageous excuse of all. If the role’s originator, Carol Channing, were two seconds from death she would still get to that Radio City stage

and perform. Miss Channing, 96, is still alive. Perhaps the broadcast’s producers should ask her to perform the title number. (Propped up by chorus boys, of course.) That would demonstrate to Miss Midler — who’s happy to show up to collect an award — that Broadway doesn’t go for booze or dope or for divas who aren’t troupers!

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