BWW Interviews: Tony Award Winner Betty Buckley Talks VIXENS OF BROADWAY
San Francisco, please join me in welcoming Tony Award winning "Voice of Broadway," Betty Buckley to the BroadwayWorld SF page! She brings her acclaimed show, "The Vixens of Broadway," to San Francisco's Feinstein's at the Nikko for 8 performances -December 5 - 15, 2013.
Betty, let me just give a little background as a refresher for our readers. You won a Tony Award for your performance as Grizabella, the Glamour Cat, in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats. You received your second Tony Award nomination for Best Actress in a musical for playing Hesione in Triumph of Love, and an Olivier Award nomination for your critically acclaimed interpretation of Norma Desmond in the London production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Sunset Boulevard, which you repeated to more rave reviews on Broadway.
And, dear readers, Betty's other Broadway credits include 1776, Pippin, Song and Dance, The Mystery of Edwin Drood and Carrie. Off-Broadway credits include White's Lies, Lincoln Center's Elegies, the original NYSF production of Edwin Drood, The Eros Trilogy and Juno Swans. Regional credits include Gypsy, Threepenny Opera, Camino Real, Buffalo Gal and Arsenic and Old Lace. She starred in the London production of Dear World in 2013 and Promises, Promises.
Betty, thank you for doing this interview with me and welcome to the City by the Bay! Are you happy to be back?
I love San Francisco! I love the restaurants, the Chinese Food most especially and the "Go Cars" that tour around the city.
We'll we're glad to have you back. When was the last time you played San Francisco?
I played San Francisco in November 2012. We did "Ah, Men! The Boys of Broadway."
That was a fabulous show! What a fun thing for a female artist to be able to do - sing some of the greatest songs in Broadway history - that were written for men. That must have been so much fun! (For those of you who didn't catch Betty in "Boys of Broadway," you can pick up a CD of the show at Amazon. For other Buckely CDs visit www.bettybuckley.com.)
And now you're doing "The Vixens of Broadway" which highlights songs written for the "other women" and second female lead characters of Broadway. Can you tell us a little bit about the inspiration behind the title "Vixens" and this particular mix of songs.
This is a collection of songs sung by the second female lead in some great Broadway shows. Interestingly, it's these colorful characters that often have some of the great showstoppers in the Broadway Songbook.
Why do you think these show-stealing songs are sung by the "second string" divas so-to-speak? What, about American musical theater, makes the second female lead so potent?
Sometimes these memorable characters are singing from the outsider's point of view. Sometimes the character is singing about her plight or dilemma, which can illuminate a feeling or emotion that we've all experienced at one time or another and we can all relate to.
You do songs from Chicago, Evita, Company, Oklahoma and Into the Woods. You're also doing songs from Jerry Herman's Dear World in which you just starred in the London Premiere earlier this year. What about these songs appealed to you?
They are some of the best songs ever written for Broadway!
I couldn't agree with you more. Now Betty, you first premiered "Vixens" in 2012 and the show has garnered critical acclaim ever since. What goes into the making of a great cabaret show? (Other than your considerable talent!)
Thank you so much! It takes approximately six months of finding material, looking for inspiration, picking songs, creating arrangements, writing and shaping the show. I have been privileged to work with amazing collaborators. For the past several years they are musical consultant and arranger Eric Stern, music consultant and coach John McDaniel and my brilliant arranger and pianist Christian Jacob, and all of the wonderful musicians with whom I am so fortunate to work.