|Photo by Richard Termine|
Previews for the solo show began April 5 prior to an official opening April 24. In just over eight weeks at the Booth, the production recouped its initial investment of $2.4 million.
Upon closing, the limited engagement will have played 18 previews and 71 regular performances.
Directed by Tony winner Joe Mantello (Wicked, Assassins, Take Me Out), the play casts Midler as the legendary Hollywood agent Sue Mengers (1932-2011). The intermissionless work is set in 1981 in the living room of Mengers' Beverly Hills home.
"Sue Mengers was an American original," according to production notes. "She was the first female 'superagent' at a time when women talent agents of any kind were almost unheard of. She came from near poverty, a refugee from Hitler's Germany, and worked her way up through pluck, charm, and a legendary wit. In that uniquely American way, she invented herself; and when the career she wanted didn't exist, she invented that as well: 'Superagent.' It was a term Hollywood all but coined for her. By the 1970s, she represented almost every major star in Hollywood and went on to become the town's most renowned hostess."
Playwright Logan, who won a Tony Award for Red and wrote the screenplay for the recent James Bond movie, "Skyfall," said in an earlier statement, "I met Sue Mengers only once, at a dinner party. The kaftan, constant cigarettes, tinted glasses, and perfect blond hair were much in evidence; so too the deliciously wicked wit and stevedore language. But something else fascinated me just as much: a sense of sadness, a deep resignation; a woman whose time had passed her by. At one point I asked her what had changed most about Hollywood since she had arrived. She didn't hesitate for a second: 'Honey, we used to have fun…' Later in the evening she settled back and lit up a joint. There she was: a joint in one hand and a cigarette in the other. At that moment I knew I had to write the play."
Bette Midler has earned three Grammys, four Golden Globes, three Emmys, a Tony Award, and sold 30 million records worldwide in a career that spans more than four decades. She has played film roles in "The Rose," "Down and Out in Beverly Hills," "Ruthless People," "Beaches" and "The First Wives Club," among many others. Midler made her Broadway debut in the chorus of Fiddler on the Roof. Other stage performances include Tony Award-winning Clams on the Half Shell; Experience the Divine, for which she holds the all-time record for a six-week engagement at Radio City Music Hall, The Divine Miss Millennium Tour; Kiss My Brass; and The Showgirl Must Go On at The Colosseum in Caesars Palace. Outside the spotlight, she is the founder of the New York Restoration Project (nyrp.org), a non-profit organization that revitalizes abandoned and neglected public spaces across New York City.
I'll Eat You Last was produced by Graydon Carter, Arielle Tepper Madover, James L. Nederlander, The Shubert Organization, Terry Allen Kramer, Stephanie P. McClelland, Jeffrey Finn, Ruth Hendel, Larry Magid, Jon B. Platt, and Scott & Brian Zeilinger.
Tickets, priced $82-$142, are also available by calling (212) 239-6200 or visiting Telecharge.com. The Booth Theatre is located at 222 W. 45th St.