At 70, Bette Midler keeps her schedule packed and the wisecracks flying. In October alone, she is appearing as Blake Shelton’s mentor on NBC’s The Voice; reissuing her platinum-certified debut album, The Divine Miss M; and starting rehearsals for her starring role in Jerry Zaks’ upcoming revival of Hello, Dolly!, which bows in March 2017 and broke Broadway’s single-day sales record with more than $9 million in advance tickets. The three-time Grammy Award winner talks all of the above -- and whether the 1993 Halloween movie Hocus Pocus will get a long-awaited sequel.
How are you enjoying your debut experience on The Voice?
It’s so much fun. I wasn’t going to do it. I was with a bunch of people and I said to a very well-known singer, “I don’t want to do The Voice, because what have I got to say to those kids?” And he said, “You don’t have to tell them what notes to sing. You tell them what it means to be a performer.” The singers on the show have some of the most beautiful voices I’ve heard in public. This show has a real sweetness at its core. It’s not mean-spirited. And of course, Blake is a hoot! He is on the small screen, but I personally think -- if I were his agent -- I would get him on a big screen as quick as possible. I think he probably can act. He’s so photogenic, like a John Wayne type.