“It’s going to be a night off,” Betty Buckley says of her upcoming one-woman show at Bay Street Theatre with a laugh.
The musical theater legend will be at Bay Street over Columbus Day Weekend, on October 12, with her all-new show The Vixens of Broadway, celebrating some of the greatest show tunes of all time. While her stay in Sag Harbor will be short—she’s not even spending the night—Buckley is looking forward to visiting. “I think [Sag Harbor] is all fantastic! There are some great places I like to visit when I’m there,” Buckley exclaims. “There’s a great sushi place [Sen Restaurant] down the street from the theater.”
As for that “night off,” Buckley is referring to taking a one-night break from her “day job”—the world premiere production of Horton Foote’s The Old Friends, currently playing Off-Broadway. “We have had such rave reviews,” she gushes. “There’s actually talk of the production possibly moving to Broadway.” The Old Friends, directed by Michael Wilson, is a previously unproduced work by the late Foote centering around the trials and tribulations of two Texas families. Buckley stars as widow Gertrude, an alcoholic who runs the family. “It’s been extremely challenging,” Buckley sighs, “and very demanding emotionally.” But Buckley, a Texan herself, thinks the end result has been worth it and notes that “the character is based on several people that I have met through the years.” Buckley also loves working with the talented cast, which features Foote’s daughter Hallie Foote and iconic star Lois Smith, who Buckley describes as “simply fantastic.”
The Tony Award-winning Buckley is known for her work in musical theater and on the television series Eight is Enough. Most associate Buckley with her role as Grizabella in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats and her performance of its signature song “Memory.” Buckley also starred in Webber’s Song and Dance, as well as Sunset Boulevard as Norma Desmond. “Andrew Lloyd Webber is a wonderful creature. He only uses the very best people in every job. He’s a really nice man and it’s been an honor and a privilege to work with him,” Buckley says. Buckley is also known for her role as gym teacher Miss Collins in the original film adaptation of Stephen King’s Carrie, which is being remade this year starring Hamptonite Julianne Moore. Buckley’s association with Carrie has become part of musical theater lore; she played crazed Margaret White in the notoriously unsuccessful musical adaptation of Carrie, which lasted only 16 previews and five actual performances. Buckley replaced fellow Broadway star Barbara Cook, who quit the production after being nearly decapitated by a set piece during the show’s pre-Broadway London run. Other notable roles include M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happening, Woody Allen’s Another Woman, Roman Polanski’s Frantic and countless guest spots on television series. Recently, Buckley appeared as a recurring character on ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars, which her brother, Norman Buckley, directed.
While Buckley has enjoyed a healthy career in film and television, her first love is theater. “What’s great about doing a play is you actually have time to rehearse,” Buckley chuckles. “In film and television, you sometimes get to rehearse.” Vixens of Broadway features songs like “When You’re Good to Mama” from Chicago, “My Heart Belongs to Daddy” from Leave It To Me, “Another Hundred People” from Company, “Corner of the Sky” from Pippin and “I Know Things Now” from Into the Woods. “It’s a beautiful repertoire,” Buckley marvels.
Buckley, who was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame earlier this year, has a busy few months ahead of her, including several concerts a week-long teaching stint at the University of Oklahoma. The active star will be in Sag Harbor for “one night only,” so don’t miss this theatrical treat.
For more information about Vixens of Broadway and to order tickets, call 631-725-0818 or go to baystreet.org