Really, to me, a lot of the women mentioned herein are too old for the role. So was Patti, if we're being frank.
Buckley is 75. Bernadette is 74. Patti is 73.
By contrast, Elaine Stritch originated the role at 45. Her immediate successor, Jane Russell, was 50.
Although Patti's original understudy in this production (not Jen Simard) wasn't very good, it was nice to see the role played by a woman in her forties, and for Joanne not to look like Bobbie's grandmother. The conception of the character as 30-40 years older than Bobby/Bobbie has never made sense to me.