Though Bette Midler has performed on the largest theatrical stages, sung to the grandest audiences, and appeared in beloved films from The Rose to Hocus Pocus, “the Divine Miss M” still gets nervous before her shows. It’s because of this persistent fear that the Grammy, Emmy, and Tony Award winner so dutifully prepares herself for each and every act, no matter the medium or the size of the crowd. She believes this vigilance—an “alertness”—has allowed her to realize the murky vision of success she brought with her to New York City in the late 1960s. On this week’s episode of Table for Two, Midler sits down with host Bruce Bozzi to reflect on her five-decade career in show business, including recollections of an early gig as a bathhouse singer, her first forays into Hollywood, and the realities of working in entertainment as a woman before the turn of this century. Hear a preview of the episode below, and subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts.

Episode 22: Bette Midler

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