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Sunday, 05 May 2013 13:47

Betty Buckley: You Always Remember Your 1st Time Featured

Written by  Dennis Kucherawy
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Betty Buckley… Theatre, Film and TV Great…Comes To Richmond Hill Performing Arts Centre

This Thursday, May 9th


“Cats,” “Pippin,” “Drood” and

“Sunset Blvd.” Among Theatrical Hits


Without a doubt, Betty Buckley is one of the most thrilling musical theatre entertainers I’ve ever seen.  Whether bringing to stunning life Grizabella in “Cats,” Norma Desmond in “Sunset Boulevard, Catherine in the original Bob Fosse production of “Pippin,” or Carrie’s mother in the notorious 1988 production of “Carrie,” Buckley guarantees “goosebumps.”


A consummate star of TV, film and the stage, she’s sure to transport the audience when she performs at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts this Thursday.  For me, it will be a walk down memory lane.


My appreciation of her goes back to 1970 when I had the great good fortune of seeing her in the original London cast of Burt Bacharach’s “Promises, Promises.”  A 16-year-old, I was about to return to Canada after six weeks in Europe, four of them studying French outside of Paris and Geneva.


It was my last night in Europe.  I went to see her on my last night in London.  She was an unknown, co-starring as Fran Kubelik opposite Anthony Roberts and I was totally blown away by her passionate performance, especially of the showstopper “Knowing When to Leave.”


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PggSgXY2AeY – Betty Buckley, “Knowing When to Leave,” “Promises, Promises,” Original London Cast Recording


A favorite song of mine is her radiant, uplifting rendition of Stephen Schwartz’s “Meadowlark” (from his musical “The Baker’s Wife”), especially the version on her London concert CD.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqI6-Lrvi68 – Meadowlark, (London version unavailable on youtube)


I consider her "Meadowlark" definitive just like her performances as Grizabella (which I saw shortly after “Cats’ ” Broadway opening) and Norma Desmond.  The singular depth and power of her acting were in a class of their own.   Simply, she is one of the best… moving and memorable.


Another great CD of hers is “Children Will Listen.”  Among the highlights are a beautiful Sondheim medley of the title song from “Into the Woods” and “Not While I’m Around” from “Sweeney Todd.”  Other absolutely wonderful tracks are “Never Never Land” from “Peter Pan,” and the “tear your heart out ballad,” “When There’s No One from “Carrie.”


(Buckley was thrilled to attend the show’s 2012 revival directed by York University grad Stafford Arima, she told the “Toronto Star” this week.  “Some things about it were really good and I’m glad it was revived successfully enough to take the curse of failure off it,” she said.)


The album also includes her rendition of the ubiquitous “Memory” from “Cats,” only she really owns it.


With that in mind, you can be sure her concert will be “memorable.” It was 33 years ago since I first heard her sing.  She proves the adage is still true:


“You always remember your first time.”


For tickets, call the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts at  905.787.8811.


For more information, visit:  www.rhcentre.ca.


Dennis Kucherawy


“Ah, Men! The Boys of Broadway” is Betty Buckley’s latest CD and is available at Song & Script.”


Track List:


1.         “I Can See It” – “The Fantasticks”

2.         “My Defenses Are Down” – “Annie Get Your Gun”

3.         “The Jet Song” – “West Side Story”

4.         “Maria” – “West Side Story”

5.         “I Won’t Dance” – “Roberto”

6.         “Venice” – “Elegies”

7.         “Luck Be a Lady” – “Guys and Dolls”

8.         “Song on the Sand” – “La Cage Aux Follies”

9.         “Hymn to Her” – (Adapted from “My Fair Lady”)

10.     “Come Back to Me” – “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever”

11.     “Hey There” – “The Pajama Game”

12.     “Sweeney Todd” Suite – “Sweeney Todd

13.     “Corner of the Sky” – “Pippin”

14.     “More I Cannot Wish You” – “Guys and Dolls”


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