Bette Midler will star in John Logan’s new play, I’ll Eat You Last: A Chat With Sue Mengers, directed by Joe Mantello, opening on Broadway on Wednesday, April 24 at a Shubert theatre to be announced. I’ll Eat You Last is produced by Graydon Carter, Arielle Tepper Madover, James L. Nederlander, and The Shubert Organization.
Ticketing information will be announced at a later date.
Appearing on Broadway for the first time in 30 years, Tony and Grammy Award-winning superstar Bette Midler will play the legendary Hollywood agent Sue Mengers (1932-2011) in the new, one-character play.
Sue Mengers was an American original. 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 1970’s, she represented almost every major star in Hollywood and went on to become the town’s most renowned hostess.
Playwright John Logan, who won a Tony Award for Red and wrote the screenplay for the last James Bond movie, Skyfall, said, “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.”
Producer Graydon Carter said, “I adored Sue, and no trip to Los Angeles was complete without a dinner at her place. To work with Bette, John, Joe, and my fellow producers Ari, Jimmy, Phil, and Bob to bring her to the Broadway stage is something that I believe would have pleased Sue greatly.”
Producer Arielle Tepper Madover said, “The last show I worked on with John was his Broadway debut, Red, which won six Tony Awards and is now being presented all over the world. It is a joy to be continuing our collaboration with this new play.”
BETTE MIDLER (Sue Mengers) 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 memorable film roles in The Rose, Down and Out in Beverly Hills, Ruthless People, Beaches, and The First Wives Club, among many others. Miss 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 proud founder of the New York Restoration Project (www.nyrp.org), a non-profit organization that revitalizes abandoned and neglected public spaces across New York City. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @BetteMidler.
JOHN LOGAN (Playwright) received the Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critic Circle, and Drama League awards for his play Red. This play premiered at the Donmar Warehouse in London and at the Golden Theatre on Broadway. Red has subsequently been seen in more than 80 productions across the United States and in over 30 foreign countries. He is the author of over a dozen other plays including Never the Sinner and Hauptmann. His newest play Peter and Alice will premiere in March in London. As a screenwriter, Logan has been three times nominated for the Oscar. His film work includes Skyfall, Hugo, The Aviator, Gladiator, Rango, Coriolanus, Sweeney Todd, The Last Samurai, Any Given Sunday, and RKO 281.
JOE MANTELLO (Director). Directing credits include: The Other Place, Dogfight, Other Desert Cities, The Pride, Pal Joey, 9 to 5, November, The Receptionist, The Ritz, Blackbird, Three Days of Rain, The Odd Couple, Glengarry Glen Ross (Tony nomination), Laugh Whore, Assassins (Tony Award), Wicked, Take Me Out (Tony Award), Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, A Man of No Importance, Design for Living, Terrence McNally and Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking for San Francisco Opera, The Vagina Monologues, Bash, Another American: Asking and Telling, Love! Valour! Compassion! (Tony nomination), Proposals, The Mineola Twins, Corpus Christi, Mizlansky/Zilinsky…, Blue Window, God’s Heart, The Santaland Diaries, Snakebit, Three Hotels, and Imagining Brad. As an actor: The Normal Heart (Tony nomination), Angels in America (Tony nomination), and The Baltimore Waltz. He is recipient of Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, Lucille Lortel, Helen Hayes, Clarence Derwent, Obie, and Joe A. Callaway awards. He is a member of Naked Angels and an associate artist at Roundabout Theatre Company.
GRAYDON CARTER (Producer) has been the award-winning editor of Vanity Fair for more than two decades. He was also the co-founder and editor of Spy magazine. In non-magazine-related work, he has produced a number of iconic documentaries including The Kid Stays in the Picture, Public Speaking, and 911, for which he won both a Peabody and an Emmy Award. This is his first professional experience in the theater.
ARIELLE TEPPER MADOVER (Producer) is a Tony Award-winning producer. Broadway: Lucky Guy, Annie, Red, Hamlet, Hair, Mary Stuart, Equus, Monty Python’s Spamalot, Frost/Nixon, The Pillowman, A Raisin in the Sun, James Joyce’s The Dead, John Leguizamo’s Freak. West End: Piaf, Spamalot, Frost/Nixon, Guys and Dolls, Mary Stuart, A Voyage Round My Father. Off-Broadway: De La Guarda, The Last Five Years. Madover founded the Summer Play Festival and the Tepper Center for Careers in Theatre, is on the board of the Public Theater, the Broadway League is an emeritus member of the Syracuse University board. Crain’s “40 under 40” and Cosmopolitan’s Fun Fearless Females.
JAMES L. NEDERLANDER (Producer). President of Nederlander Organization, son of James M. Nederlander (Chairman). Various producing credits include: Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark, Evita, Lewis Black: Running on Empty, Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, West Side Story, Next to Normal, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Million Dollar Quartet, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? with Kathleen Turner and Bill Irwin, Movin’ Out. Concerts: Robin Williams, Harry Connick Jr., Pink Floyd, U2, the Rolling Stones, and Billy Joel at Yankee Stadium.
THE SHUBERT ORGANIZATION (Producer) owns and operates 21 theatres in New York, Boston, and Philadelphia. Under the leadership of Philip J. Smith, Chairman, and Robert E. Wankel, President, the firm continues its tradition of producing distinguished theatrical attractions. These include Sister Act, That Championship Season, Passing Strange, Equus (with Daniel Radcliffe), A Steady Rain, God of Carnage, Amour, Dirty Blonde, Dance of Death (with Ian McKellen and Helen Mirren), Cats, Dreamgirls, Jerome Robbins’ Broadway, Lettice & Lovage, Passion, Sunday in the Park with George, the original production of Amadeus and Hugh Jackman: Back on Broadway. The Shubert Organization is dedicated to the revitalization of the American theatre. Its activities include the restoration and modernization of its theatres and participation in civic and community affairs. Shubert Ticketing provides superior box office, call center and marketing services, as well as online products for live entertainment venues across the country.