The Broadway rumor mill is in overdrive with speculation that all-around legend Bette Midler and pop icon Barry Manilow are being considered as the opening act of this year's Tony Awards ceremony. According to The New York Post, "There's talk of involving Manilow in the Tony telecast this year. One idea floating around is to have him and Midler open the show with a medley of Broadway standards and a few songs from her first album, The Divine Miss M, which Manilow produced."
Midler and Manilow, along with many other famous vocalists, got their start in the New York City club the Continental Baths during the 1970s. A then-unknown Manilow served as a pianist, arranger and musical director to Midler, and subsequently arranged her first two albums before nabbing his own recording contract. The two joined forces again in 2003 to record Bette Midler Sings the Rosemary Clooney Songbook.
Manilow is currently pulling in crowds at Broadway's St. James Theatre with his concert event Manilow On Broadway. The show marks his return to the Great White Way for the first time in two decades. He is best known for his popular songs like "Could It Be Magic," "Mandy," "Can't Smile Without You" and "Copacabana (At the Copa)," Manilow has 49 Top 40 hits and has sold over 80 million records worldwide.
Midler is headed back to Broadway for the first time in 30 years with the solo show I'll Eat You Last: A Chat with Sue Mengers. She has earned three Grammys, four Golden Globes, three Emmys and a Tony Award. Midler made her Broadway debut in the original production of Fiddler on the Roof and later appeared on the Great White Way with three concert engagements. She recently served as a lead producer for Priscilla Queen of the Desert. Her many film credits include Ruthless People, The First Wives' Club, Beaches, For the Boys, Hocus Pocus, Gypsy, The Stepford Wives, The Rose, Scenes from a Mall and Parental Guidance.
Christmay may be almost a year away, but watch Manilow and Midler duet on "White Christmas" below!