Last night, I had the good fortune to go the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts and see concert/cabaret legend, Betty Buckley.
Of course, I grew up watching her on ‘Eight is Enough’ and then as the sympatheticyetthencutinhalf-by-a-riser teacher in Carrie (when I was finally allowed to watch it). So, it was to my amazement that much later I found out she could sing…as Grizabella in Cats and then in so many other musicals…and, most importantly to me, as a cabaret/concert artist.
I had never seen her live.
I wondered what the heck it would be like.
It were Magical, actually.
And a workshop in concert performance and song interpretation.
I went through the seven stages (is that how many there are?) of cabaret emotions and thoughts while I watched her:
the ‘oh, she performs with a stand with her words on it…huh‘ stage
– then the ‘who gives a fuck that she performs with a stand with her words on it’ stage
– the ‘wow, that voice is huge as hell’ stage
– then the ‘her arrangements are fucking killer’ stage
– the ‘huh…I really love musical theatre songs’ stage
– the ‘what will happen and is happening to musical theatre in Canada’ stage< /span>
– the ‘who would want to do anything but stand with a mic and perform wonderful songs that you pick and not have to wear a costume and say the same lines over and overstage
 – the ‘well, Sharron, maybe that is not for you but it is for many other talented people who love the eff out of it’ stage
the ‘she just yelled out “FASTER” to her player and then continued to snap her fingers for a full minute so he got the point’ stage
– the ‘her pianist is John McD and he has won a grammy and an emmy…and he is getting snapped at’ stage
– the ‘I guess he doesn’t seem to mind because she is Betty EFFing Buckleystage
– the ‘I think he still might mind’ stage
 
the ‘that was an awkward introduction to Garth Drabinsky sitting in the audience and no one knows quite what to dostage      
AND all the while I went through the aforementioned stages I was going through the ‘I just cried through her brilliantly simple rendition of ‘Venice’ by William Finn…her amazing version of ‘I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face‘ and the ‘Hey There‘ from Pajama Game* was bliss and she just sang the holy hell out of all those men’s songs from Sweeney Todd’ stages  
I think that is more than seven stages…BUT, you see, I had a lot of thinking going on.
I went from inspired to unsure then thrilled and moved.
She sure can tell a story…a wonderful story…which is my fave thing…and she can make you laugh and then cry…and there is a very old school/lady of the stage grandiosity about her (that is a word, right?) in the way she moves and gives the audience over to the pianist…and then takes you back like you were just on loan for a minute.
And at then end, after singing songs from the American Broadway Songbook for almost two hours, when the audience screamed out “SING MEMORIES!!!!” (LORD…and I was cringing for her…and for the audience...huh) she complied with much grace without any fuss at all…and sang the effing crap out of it…really…it was something to behold.
Lessone learned…it was very Maya Angelou, who said “If someone asks you to sing…sing”…I am paraphrasing, I know.
Why would you not want to sing the song that people hope you will sing?
They loved the rest of the concert…the audience…but it was the icing on the cake.
How wonderful.
Thanks to the Richmond Hill Centre for The Performing Arts for bringing her!
You should really check out their new season coming up…they are an amazing an
d forward thinking arts facility...so many amazing artists have played there…they brought Patti LuPone up last year…and this year Linda Eder is coming and Sandra Bernhard…here is their new season! GO!!!

  
AND don’t forget that this weekend is THE HAPPENING at Buddies in Bad Times. 
Sunday May 12th at 8:00pm come and be amazed by the diverse talent that Canada has to offer…and maybe perform yourself in one of the 2 wild card slots…it was be an evening of MAD variety.
We are a CRITIC’s Pic in the Now MAGAZINE people!!! HERE is the link!

Here is the link to the Facebook Event Page:

Here is the Buddies Page:
 

COME on out and PASS IT ON!!
GO SEE SOME theatre PEOPLE!! 
 

 

 

Here is Betty with Michael G, Peter Phoa and me with some weird wench hip.


     * I wrote earlier in the day that ‘Hey There’ was from Pal Joey. My pal Lisa called and corrected me. There you go…what the eff do I know?
  

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