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Flashback Friday - - Betty Buckley concert, 2007

The wonderful Betty Buckley turned 70 on July 3rd. Happy birthday, Miss Buckley. Here's my review of a concert she did at Town Hall in 2007:

I saw that Betty Buckley was doing a concert at Town Hall on 10/11/07, and tix were only $20, how could I pass it up? For those of you who don’t know who Betty Buckley is, she’s a Tony-winning actress and singer who’s perhaps best known for having played Abby Bradford, the stepmom on *Eight is Enough*. She won a Tony for playing Grizabella in the original Broadway cast of *Cats*, which makes her signature song “Memory”. Ugh.

Which is why I HAD to go. Back in 1998, Rosie O’Donnell was host of the Tony Awards. The show opened with her doing a number about how she wants to be a diva. Patti Lupone appeared singing a minute from “Don’t cry for me, Argentina”, showing inches of cleavage and seeming a little embarrassed. Most memorably, Jennifer Holliday sang a minute from “And I am telling you I’m not going” from *Dreamgirls*. This performance is an utter terror of eyes bugging out of the head, the jaw moving back and forth like a horse, cawing like a crow (four times!), and gasping for breath like a Hoover with a clog. And her singing is just as scary. I taped this and shared it with Karen Miller on her visit to Madison in 2002, just before I moved to NYC. She was aghast and amazed, and we’ve since shown this bit at nearly every gathering of our group for the last five years. My friend Jim Campbell transferred it to DVD, because I was afraid the tape would one day dissolve, after so much use, and so much rewinding over the eight priceless seconds at the end of Ms. Holliday’s performance.

ANYWAY, Betty Buckley is the last diva to sing, and she does a minute from “Memory”, wearing a black gown and feather boa, trying to sing and arrange her hair at the same time, and makes some strange choices when it comes to vowels. The last line of the song is , “Look, a new day has begun”, and her sound on the “oo” on “new” could kill small game at fifty feet. A solo concert by her at Town Hall sounded very promising.

Here's that whole number from the Tonys:

First off, on my way up the stairs to the balcony the woman ahead of me made me think, “Does an old woman in a white fringed shawl made of an acrylic fiber have the right to walk with such assured elegance?” And the answer is an emphatic Yes!

Karen Miller has been my date for many TDF events, and we always comment on how our seats are in what we call The TDF Ghetto. True, they’re far away from the stage, but more importantly they’re populated by pain-in-the-ass old New Yorkers. They invariably crack me up.