PLAYBILL ON OPENING NIGHT: I'll Eat You Last: A Chat With Sue Mengers—I Laughed, You Bette

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25 Apr 2013

Bette Midler; guests Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Glenn Close and Victor Garber
Bette Midler; guests Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Glenn Close and Victor Garber

Meet the first-nighters at the Broadway opening of I'll Eat You Last: A Chat With Sue Mengers. Bette Midler, Linda Hart, Bruce Vilanch, Joe Mantello and Kathy Griffith were there – so was Playbill.


Cool, entitled, in command, Bette Midler puts down the magazine she has been idly fondling and peers over her tinted shades at the 766 people who seem to have suddenly showed up in her living room, applauding her like banshees. She drinks in their adoration a good 30-35 seconds, then issues Edict No. 1 in The Care and Feeding of Hollywood Super-Agents: "I'm not getting up," she declares with finality. "It's my house, you get up. Only don't. I just had the carpet cleaned for the party."

She's not kidding, either—about this, anyway. Should she require a canister of booze or her box of ciggies and tokes from a distant table, there'll always be a sycophant on the aisle in the third or fourth row happy to rush to the stage to step 'n' fetch for her (after he removes his shoes, of course, because of the just-cleaned carpet).

By the time she struggles free of her cocoon/couch and assumes the relative upright position called standing, the fastest 90 minutes on Broadway have elapsed, and at her feet is half of Hollywood, sliced, diced and ready for bite-sized consumption like so many hors d'oeuvres. Call it an immovable feast passing for a roller-coaster ride.

I'll Eat You Last: A Chat With Sue Mengers began its master class in bastardly, agentry behavior April 24 at the Booth and will continue at least until June 30. Baby sharks might be advised to take notes if they expect to survive in this no-think tank.

As befitted the subject, the opening-night turnout was arguably the glitziest one of the season—so much so that the fourth estate was banished to the mezzanine so the orchestra level would be thoroughly star-stuffed with such as Linda Lavin, Barbara Walters, Harvey Weinstein, Harvey Fierstein, Lindsay Mendez, Marlo Thomas, Jennifer Westfeldt, Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, Ron Rifkin, Tom Kitt, Carolina Herrera, Jon Robin Baitz, David Geffen, Bob Balaban, Kelly Lynch, Martin Short, George C. Wolfe, Kathie Lee Gifford, Christine Baranski, Jerry Dixon, Victor Garber, Linda Emond, Sally Murphy, Barry Diller, Fran Lebowitz, Adam Guettel and Hayley Bond, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Justin Paul and Benj Pasek, Susan Sarandon, John McEnroe, Diane Furstenberg, Anjelica Huston and Jack Huston, Glenn Close, Jim Parsons, John Benjamin Hickey and Ellen Barkin.


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