I am so honored to have had the opportunity to interview the legendary Betty Buckley who is a two-time Grammy Award Nominee and Tony Award Winner! Betty won the Tony Award for her performance as "Grizabella, the Glamour Cat" in Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Cats." She received a second Tony Award nomination for her performance as "Hesione" in "Triumph of Love" and an Olivier Award nomination as "Norma Desmond" in the London production of Andrew Lloy Webber's "Sunset Boulevard," which she reprised to rave reviews on Broadway. Her other Broadway credits include "1776," "Pippin," "Song and Dance," "The Mystery of Edwin Drood," and "Carrie." Off-Broadway, Betty has lit up the stage in Lincoln Center's "Elegies," the original NYSF production of "Edwin Drood," "The Eros Trilogy," "Juno Swans," and "White's Lies." Regionally, Betty delighted audiences around the country in "Gypsy," "Threepenny Opera," "Camino Real," and "Buffalo Gal." She also starred in the London production of "Promises, Promises."
In addition to theatre, Betty has had a successful recording career, releasing twelve albums so far, and receiving two Grammy Award nominations! Her first Grammy nomination was for the audio book "The Diaries of Adam and Eve" and her second Grammy nomination was for her album "Stars and The Moon: Betty Buckley Live At The Donmar." Her other recordings include "Quintessence," "Betty Buckley 1967," and her latest "Bootleg: Board Mixes from The Road."
Betty has also had a successful television and film career. She starred in the hit series "Eight Is Enough" as "Abby Bradford" and for three seasons on HBO's "Oz" as Suzanne Fitzgerald." She appeared in numerous televisiion series, miniseries, and films for television including the HBO mini-series "The Pacific," produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, the 2006 "Kennedy Center Honors," "Evergreen," "Roses For The Rich," the CBS series "Without A Trace," and NBC's "Law & Order: SVU." Her film credits include M. Night Shyamalan's "The Happening," 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.
Now Betty is returning to Feinstein's at Loews Regency in NYC in her brand new show "Ah Men! The Boys of Broadway" from October 4-29. Come hear Betty sing men's songs from Broadway shows that she has always wanted to sing, including numbers from "Sweeney Todd," "West Side Story," "Guys and Dolls," "On A Clear Day You Can See Forever," "Pippin," and "La Cage Aux Folles." Feinstein’s at Loews Regency is located at 540 Park Avenue at 61st Street. Click here for tickets!
1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? Listening to my Mom sing around our house and to her extensive record collection of Broadway cast albums and great lady singers. My Aunt Mary Ruth Diltz, was a former professional dancer and dance teacher and I studied dance with her from the time I was 3.
2. Who is the one person you haven't worked with that you would like to? There are a number of people in film, television and theater that I would love to get to work with. The list is a long one.
3. What excites you about your upcoming "Ah Men! The Boys of Broadway" at Feinstein's at Loews Regency in October as well as your new CD "Ghostlight"? I love my new collection of music for Feinstein's. They are some of the most beautiful songs ever like "Maria" and "Younger Than Springtime." The concept of all men's songs has given me the opportunity to sing songs I've always loved and would not ordinarily get to sing. And my pianist Christian Jacob who has done many of the arrangements is truly wonderful. My collaborators Eric Stern and Eric Kornfeld have done amazing work on the show as well.
My new CD "Ghostlight" produced by T Bone Burnett will hopefully be released in February of 2012. I love the recording and can't wait to share it with everyone. It's a very haunting, romantic collection of music.
4. What is your favorite part in the creative process in putting a show and album together? Favorite place to practice/rehearse on your own? I loved working with T Bone at his home studio and at the Village Recorder in Los Angeles. It was one of the great times of my life. I love my own rehearsal room in my house with my Steinway piano I've had for many years. It's a very conducive, creative place. But basically I love any great rehearsal space with a beautiful piano and a great pianist exchanging ideas about music and songs.
5. What have you learnd about yourself from being a performer? What is the best advice you've ever received? That's a huge question. I've learned so many things. It would take a book to describe all of it. But fundamentally, it remains my aspiration to be a sheer presence in performance and as a communicator of song.
Regarding advice: My Grandfather, the cowboy, "Kid" Buckley said: "Don't put your whole foot in the stirrup - just the ball of your foot. You could get hung up if your horse falls down and you could die!"
6. You've performed in theatre, film, television, and solo concerts. What do you enjoy about performing in each medium? I love it all!
7. What do you get from teaching your master class to aspiring performers and what advice do you give them? I love assisting other artists to step into their full potential as actors/singers/storytellers. I teach them to listen to their inner voice and trust themselves and believe in themselves. And that if they have a genuine dream, then they have the wherewithall to manifest that dream.
8. How did you get into raising Cutting Horses? What is it about raising them and the sport that you love so much? The sport of Cutting is one of the most beautiful Equine sports I have ever witnessed. When I first saw a cutting horse work I was 12 years old and I thought, "That's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen." I knew that I had to have a horse like that and learn to ride like that.
9. Looking back over your theatrical career, what was your favorite role and what was your most challenging role? My favorite work experiences have been getting to play the parts of "Grizabella" in "Cats" and "Norma Desmond" in "Sunset Boulevard" and "Dixie Scott" in "Tender Mercies." Those three work experiences were transforming moments for me in my life and career. One of the most fun times I've ever had on a show was getting to be part of the cast of "The Mystery of Edwin Drood."
10. What did it mean to you to win the Tony Award for "Best Featured Actress" in "Cats"? I was relieved. When I was cast in "Cats," everyone told me I would win a Tony because the character and the song were so great. It was the first time in my career where I had enormous expectations from everyone else to fulfill. So when I actually won, I was hugely relieved and very grateful.
11. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? I would like to dream about my little filly Bit O Honey Boon (Honey Bear) winning the 2013 National Cutting Horse Association Futurity! :)
12. Favorite way to stay in shape? Long walks around my property with my dogs, riding my horses and Pilates with my longtime trainer Pat Strong.
13. Favorite way to spend your day off? Doing nothing. Catching up on "Criminal Minds" and my favorite TV shows and reading a good book.
14. Favorite website? www.nchacutting.com