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In “Broadway by Request,” Tony Award® Winner Betty Buckley Shares Songs and Stories from Her Illustrious Career

Betty Buckley won a 1983 Tony Award® for playing Grizabella in "Cats"

Betty Buckley won a 1983 Tony Award® for playing Grizabella in "Cats"

The Carolina Theatre will present Betty Buckley: Broadway by Request, with the 63-year-old actress and singer accompanied by Christian Jacob on piano and Tony Marino on bass, at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 20th, in Fletcher Hall in downtown Durham, NC. Born on July 3, 1947 in Big Spring, TX, Betty Buckley still lives on a Texas ranch in-between her forays into theater, motion pictures, and television.

According to Betty Buckley’s official bio:

“Betty Buckley won a [1983] Tony Award® [for Best Featured Actress in a Musical] for her performance as Grizabella, the Glamour Cat, in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats. [In 1998, s]he received her second Tony Award nomination for Best Actress in a musical for her performance as Hesione in Triumph of Love, and an Olivier Award nomination for her interpretation of Norma Desmond in the London production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Sunset Boulevard, which she repeated to more rave reviews on Broadway.

“Buckley added to her critically acclaimed work the role of Mama Rose in the great American musical Gypsy for the renowned Paper Mill Playhouse [of Millburn, NJ]. Her other Broadway credits include Lloyd Webber’s Song and Dance and the role of Margaret White in the cult musical Carrie, for which she was nominated as Best Actress in a Musical by the Outer Critics Circle. She made her Broadway debut creating the role of Martha Jefferson in the musical 1776, was Catherine in Bob Fosse’s Pippin, and created the role of Edwin Drood for the New York Shakespeare Festival in The Mystery of Edwin Drood. And in London she starred as Fran Kubelik in Promises, Promises, for which she received a nomination for the Evening Standard Award for Best Actress in a Musical.

“Off-Broadway she starred in William Finn’s critically acclaimed Elegies at Lincoln Center. She also starred in The Vineyard Theatre’s production of Nicky Silver’s The Eros Trilogy and in Second Stage’s production of Juno’s Swan. She reprised the role of Jenny Diver in Threepenny Opera at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in the summer of 2003, a role for which she also received rave reviews in 1992. At Hartford Stage, she played the role of Marguerite Gautier in Tennessee Williams’ Camino Real and starred in A.R. Gurney’s Buffalo Gal as Amanda at Buffalo’s Studio Arena Theatre.

“She most recently co-starred in M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happening, released in June 2008. Her other film appearances include her debut in Brian de Palma’s screen version of Stephen King’s Carrie, Bruce Beresford’s Tender Mercies, Roman Polanski’s Frantic, Woody Allen’s Another Woman, and Lawrence Kasden’s Wyatt Earp.

“On television, Ms. Buckley recently completed a role in the HBO series ‘The Pacific,’ produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, which will air in 2010. She appeared on the 2006 Kennedy Center Honors as part of the tribute to honoree Andrew Lloyd Webber, for three seasons she played the role of Suzanne Fitzgerald in the HBO series ‘Oz’ and starred for four seasons as Abby Bradford in the hit series ‘Eight Is Enough.’ She has guest starred on the CBS series ‘Without a Trace’ and the NBC series ‘Law & Order: SVU.’ Other work on television includes starring roles in the mini-series ‘Roses for the Rich,’ ‘Evergreen,’ and the television movie Vinegar Hill. She received two Emmy Award nominations for the After-School Specials: ‘Bobby and Sarah’ and ‘Taking a Stand,’ which was named outstanding Children’s Special of the Year and features a musical score co-written by Ms. Buckley.

“For PBS, she was the host for a special called ‘The Women of Tin Pan Alley,’ and also starred in the 1996 Holiday Special for American Movie Classics’ Emmy Award-winning series ‘Remember WENN.’ The Bravo Cable Network has aired a documentary about her life and work called ‘Betty Buckley in Concert and in Person.’

“Her most recent CD, ‘Quintessence,’ released by Playbill Records/Sony BMG in 2008, features her long-time collaborator and musical director Kenny Werner. The CD focuses on an eclectic mix of jazz interpretations of standards, repertoire from the Broadway songbook and contemporary popular songs. ‘Betty Buckley 1967,’ was recorded when she was 19 years old by T-Bone Burnett in Fort Worth, TX, and was also released by Playbill Records/Sony BMG in October 2007. Concord Records released her album, ‘Stars and the Moon: Betty Buckley Live at the Donmar,’ which received a 2002 Grammy nomination and was recorded live at the Donmar Warehouse in London. Image Entertainment released a video and DVD of the concert as well. In 2002 she released ‘The Doorway,’ a 9-11 tribute album.

“She received her second Grammy Nomination for the audio book ‘The Diaries of Adam and Eve.’

“Ms. Buckley does extensive concertizing with her ensemble, and has now completed eleven CDs. Her fourth album, entitled ‘An Evening at Carnegie Hall,’ was recorded live in 1996 at her triumphant sold-out Carnegie Hall debut, a benefit concert on behalf of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS []. Kevin Duncan co-produced the Carnegie Hall concert with Ms. Buckley and together they founded KO Productions.

“In the spring of 2000, KO Records released its first recording called ‘Heart to Heart,’ a collection of love songs — contemporary, traditional and popular — as interpreted by Buckley and Kenny Werner.

“The second release for the label was a re-release of Buckley’s famed, standing-room-only concert at St. Bartholomew’s Church in New York City. Rizzoli Records originally released this album, called ‘Betty Buckley: Fifteen Year Anniversary Re-release,’ in 1986. Both albums feature songs and compositions by Ms. Buckley.

“For over 35 years, Ms. Buckley has been a teacher of scene study and song interpretation, giving workshops in Manhattan and various universities and performing arts conservatories. She has been a faculty member in the theatre and music departments of the University of Texas at Arlington and continues to teach regularly at The Terry Schreiber School in New York City and currently in Fort Worth, TX.

“In April of 2009, Ms. Buckley received the Texas Medal of the Arts Award in Theater and was inducted into the Texas Film Hall of Fame in Austin, TX in March of 2007. She has been awarded two honorary doctorates of fine arts for her contribution to the musical theatre by Marymount College and the Boston Conservatory of Music. Other awards include ‘Showstopper of the Year’ by Lancome of Paris and New York Woman Magazine and the 1996 WCC ‘Civic Spirit’ award. In June of 2000, she received a ‘Last Frontier Award’ at the Edward Albee Theatre Conference in Valdez, Alaska for Distinguished Achievement in the American Theatre.”

The Carolina Theatre presents BETTY BUCKLEY: BROADWAY BY REQUEST at 8 p.m. Nov. 20 in Fletcher Hall, 309 W. Morgan, St., Durham, North Carolina 27701.

TICKETS: $35-$45 ($30-$38 Carolina Star Members and groups).

BOX OFFICE: Carolina Theatre Box Office: 888/241-8162, 919/560-3030, or Ticketmaster: 800/745-3000, 919/834-4000, or





Betty Buckley: (official website), (Wikipedia), (Internet Broadway Database), and (Internet Movie Database).


Robert W. McDowell is editor and publisher of Triangle Theater Review, a FREE weekly e-mail theatrical newsletter that provides more comprehensive, in-depth coverage of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill theater than all of the other news media combined. This review is reprinted with permission from Triangle Theater Review.

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