Bette Midler May Bring Sue Mengers Play to Los Angeles

Richard Termine
Bette Midler in "I'll Eat You Last"

UPDATED: Since this news item was published, a Dec. 3-22 L.A. run of "I'll Eat You Last" at the Geffen Playhouse's Gil Cates Theater has been confirmed.

NEW YORK -- After slaying Broadway in a limited 12-week engagement, Bette Midler may be taking her smash-hit vehicle I'll Eat You Last: A Chat With Sue Mengers to Los Angeles.

In an interview with The New York Times following the show's final performance last Sunday, Midler nixed the idea of touring the production. However, given that John Logan's single-character play is a love letter to the New Hollywood of the 1970s and one of its most colorful personalities, the star confirmed that West Coast plans are being discussed.

"We're in talks to bring it to L.A., which would be fun, because it'd be near my house and Sue's house," Midler told Times theater reporter Patrick Healy.

Directed by Joe Mantello (Wicked), the play is an intimate conversation with the late Mengers, who was as famous for her star-studded Beverly Hills dinner parties as for her client list. Her reign as a Hollywood superagent stretched from the late 1960s through the early '80s. 

Produced by Graydon CarterArielle Tepper Madover, James L. Nederlander and the Shubert Organization, the show pulled capacity houses for its entire New York run, grossing close to $10 million despite playing in one of Broadway's smaller venues, the Booth Theatre.

The play recouped its $2.4 million initial investment eight weeks into its run.

Quizzed about the likelihood of her doing another Broadway show, Midler said in the Times that the ideal circumstances of this production made it irresistible, but she doubts she has the stamina to return any time soon, even if a musical might tempt her.

"I always have Mame in the back of my mind, and people do mention it," she said. "But I don't think I have eight shows in me. I'm too old. I think people don't understand how hard this is. Those kids who work so hard in eight shows a week, I bow to them."