Bette Midler’s Sue Mengers Play Shouldn’t Be Seen “Last” by Kevin M. Thomas

Bette Midler as Sue Mengers
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Alright already!

I saw Bette Midler in “I’ll Eat You Last: A Chat With Sue Mengers” and I wasn’t going to write about it as I didn’t get press tickets.

But I have been talking about it ever since and I keep getting asked when will my review by available.

Enough! Here it is!

Sure I am a giant fan of Midler and Barbra Streisand (a client of Mengers).  So the show almost seems impossible not to like for fans like me.

First I thought Midler’s fast talking sounded too theatrical and like Bette’s typical banter. But, as Mengers, she explains that Mengers learned English mostly from movies, thus she learned to talk like the movies. So apparently Rosalind Russell in “His Girl Friday” was reincarnated into Mengers.

Aside from my love of Bette and Barbra (and this takes place on the day Barbra was suppose to call and fire Mengers), the story of Mengers is fascinating and told in a most interesting way – like the audience is one collective person chatting with Mengers in her living room awaiting Barbra’s call.

She chats with us about her life… from her beginnings trying to be an actress herself to stories of her first days as William Morris’ “girl Friday” before going out on her own. Midler’s Mengers tells of some of her favorite clients such as Gene Hackman, Ali MacGraw and Julie Harris and the lengths she’d go to on their behalf. She also tells of the first time she ever saw Barbra and knew she was something special.

It’s interesting to see how Midler the actress can fawn over a star when as a performer she’s just as accomplished as Streisand. It seems so surreal during these moments.

I could go on about the story, including Mengers famous dinner parties and her five rules for being a good agent, but better yet, go to see it. This is the absolute perfect reason to plan an excursion to New York, but plan quickly. “Eat You” only plays for 68 days. Yes, I counted. I thought this was one of the most interesting theatre experiences I had ever seen, that I wondered how much it would cost if I went to every performance. It’s that good.

Playwright John Logan, Tony nominee for “Red,” knows first hand of Mengers life as he had been to one of her dinner parties. His prose seems to bring truth, humor and depth in a character study that is fleshed out and paints a vivid picture of the cantankerous Sue Mengers.

Get more information and tickets at www.illeatyoulast.com. Really – don’t wait. LIMITED RUN and Midler always sells out.
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