Bette Midler proved why she’s called the Divine Miss M, delivering an epic speech to accept the Tony Award Sunday for her star turn in the Broadway revival of “Hello, Dolly!” — and stubbornly refusing to leave the stage until she was good and ready.
In her four-minute-plus oration, she thanked the actors and creative team in the hit musical production as well as former teachers and actresses who previously played her role, from Carol Channing to Pearl Bailey.
But as the orchestra struck up “There’s No Business Like Show Business” hoping to usher her from the stage, Midler was having none of it. “Shut that crap off!” she shouted, and proceeded with her speech like a true diva.
“I’d like to thank all the Tony voters — many of whom I’ve actually dated,” Midler when she first appeared on the stage of NYC’s Radio City Music Hall.
The actress, who had earned a special Tony in 1974 for her first Broadway concert performance, called playing matchmaker Dolly Levi “the greatest professional experience of my life.”
After getting the orchestra to stop, she continued, “Revival is an interesting word. It means that something is near death and it was brought back to life. ‘Hello, Dolly!’ never really went away.”
The show also won Tonys for Best Musical Revival, featured actor Gavin Creel and for costume designer Santo Loquasto.
Watch the video above.