Artscapes: Betty Buckley Brings “Story Songs” to Segerstrom Center

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4-betty-buckley-photo-by-scogin-mayoTelevision fans know her as Abby Bradford in the hit series “Eight Is Enough.”

Musical theater enthusiasts know her from her memorable rendition of “Memory” in her Tony Award-winning role as Grizabella the Glamour Cat in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Cats.”

She’s starred in a host of other Broadway musicals including “Triumph of Love,” “Sunset Boulevard,” “1776,” “Song and Dance,” “Pippin,” and “Carrie,” and made many TV and film appearances.

Now, the incomparable Betty Buckley, aka “The Voice of Broadway,” is coming to town with her new cabaret show, “Story Songs,” running Oct. 27-29 in the Samueli Theater at Segerstrom Center.

Buckley debuted her show at Joe’s Pub in New York last month and received unanimous9-betty-buckley-photo-by-scogin-mayo critical acclaim. The New York Times called it “the strongest cabaret of her career… Ms. Buckley, her voice in excellent shape, gave everything she sang the shape and depth of a personal confession.”

As the show’s title implies, Buckley is focusing on songs that tell stories, both emotional and humorous.

“I am a story teller, an actress singer, so this fits me in the present moment of time,” explained Buckley during a recent phone interview from her ranch in Texas.

“I’ll be doing some standards, and something by new composer Joe Iconis,” said Buckley “Joe wrote a beautiful character song called ‘Old Flame,’ I sang it at a benefit in May and it went well, it’s a very funny song. I’m also doing some songs by Stephen Schwartz (“Pippin” and “Wicked”), and three by Jason Robert Brown (“Parade,” “The Bridges of Madison County”).”

6-betty-buckley-photo-by-scogin-mayoFor her show at Segerstrom Center, Buckley said she is bringing not only her long time musical director and arranger, jazz pianist Christian Jacob, but also a bass player, guitarist and drummer to help give the songs more musical depth.

So are the East Coast audiences different than the West Coast?

“Every audience is different,” said Buckley. “There has to be a willingness to go on a ride. Every audience expresses itself. Some like to sit back and take it in. We’re happy with all of them.”

Buckley has recorded more than a dozen albums, including “Bootleg: Boardmixes from the Road,” which features performances from around the world (“It’s one of my favorites,” admits Buckley), and her latest, entitled “Ghostlight.”  

“I’m hoping to record this show,” said Buckley. Would the recording include a live rendition of “Memory,” her signature song?

“It depends on the audience response for an encore, if people request it. If not…”

If not, there are plenty of other songs, and albums, to keep fans happy.

Up next for Buckley is the release of her latest film, “Split,” a psychological thriller directed and written by M. Night Shyamalan, due out in January.

After that, Buckley said she has more concerts on tap, but don’t wait for her to come back, catch Buckley Oct. 27-29 while you can still get tickets.

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