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Talkin' Broadway V.J.


Today, Harper, from our Atlanta Regional column, fills in for V.J. with a recent chat he had with Betty Buckly.

Harper Strom: What was your reaction to the recent announcement that Cats will close in June? You were the first to play ‘Grizabella,' after all.

Betty Buckley: I was kind of taken aback by it, really.

HS: I'm sure that it will be hard to watch it go after such an amazing run.

BB: Oh, definitely.

HS: How [did] you enjoy the run at the Caryle?

BB: Oh, it was great!

HS: I had the chance to see you a few weeks ago in Kennesaw, and it was a fabulous show.

BB: That audience was fantastic! It was great.

HS: How do you like touring night-to-night versus a sit down run?

BB: Being at home is a good thing. There's more of a steady structure to it. It's pretty hard to travel. My concert calendar from February through March was very intense, so I had to spend the whole month of January trying to get ready for this extended period of shows.

HS: Tell me about The Dead.

BB: Well, I was offered The Dead, but I turned it down.

HS: Have you been thinking about doing any more sit-downs in New York, like Sunset or Triumph of Love? I know that your schedule after the Carlyle is packed…

BB: Sure, if the right project comes along. There are a couple of people that are trying to develop projects for me, so we'll see how that goes. It's all about the timing and the situation. I couldn't really do The Dead because of my concert calendar throught June.

HS: Have you had a chance to catch any of the new shows this season?

BB: To tell you the truth, the only one I've seen is The Dead, and I loved it. That's the only thing I've seen recently. I'm looking forward to the two Wild Party's. My friend Peggy Eisenhower is lighting [LaChiusa's], and she says it's really wild, and dark, and mysterious, and complicated —it sounds like fun!

HS: Last year you starred in Camino Real at the Hartford Stage. How was it to get away from the mainstream for a little while?

BB: Oh, it was good! Michael Wilson is a brilliant director, and it was a great, great cast. They do exceptional work up there, so I had a really good time.

HS: Tell me a little about your new CD.

BB: My show [at the Carlyle] was called Heart to Heart, and my new CD is also called Heart to Heart. There are some really beautiful love songs, like "Ruby", "Just the Way You Look Tonight," "You're Nearer," " If Ever I Would Leave You," and "My Funny Valentine" is one medley. "I Had a King" is a Jodie Mitchell song that I paired with a song that I wrote called "If I Remember You Right." Then it's got some contemporary songs like Mary Chapin Carpenter's "I Am a Town," James Taylor's "Fire and Rain, and "How Deep is the Ocean". . . It's a very intimate collection of what I like to think of as contemporary art songs. It's a duet album with my long term pianist Kenny Werner. Two pieces on there are the two songs that I sang in Camino Real production at Hartford Stage, one of them I composed with lyrics by Tennessee Williams.

HS: What's your take on the supposed "new theatre music," with its more cerebral elements and such?

BB: I think it's great. I'm really a tremendous fan. I did a song by Jason Robert Brown in my show at the Carlyle, and it got a great reception. People loved it. But I just love Jason Robert Brown's work, and Adam Guettel, Ricky Ian Gordon, Jeanine Tesori…they're all just fabulous.

HS: Thank you for a wonderful interview. It's been a pleasure.

BB: Thank you for wanting to write about me!

And thank you Betty and Harper! - V.J.

See you Sunday!

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