Betty Buckley’s 5 best songs of all timeBy Michael Riedel, New York Post October 8, 2014
Of all the Broadway divas, my favorite — and my good friend — is Betty Buckley. She won a Tony singing “Memory” in “Cats,” and she broke my heart as Norma Desmond in “Sunset Boulevard,” with the best rendition of “As If We Never Said Goodbye” you’ll ever hear.
She has a new album out, “Ghostlight,” produced by T Bone Burnett, and performs at Joe’s Pub through Saturday. I’m going Thursday — you should be there, too — and in honor of the occasion, here are my five favorite Betty Buckley songs of all time:
‘I’ll Never Fall in Love Again’
Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice saw her perform this tune in the 1969 West End production of “Promises, Promises.” Years later, when Betty auditioned for “Cats,” Andrew was thrilled. “I wanted to see her right away,” he said. “Tim and I thought she was the best thing in that production.”
‘He Plays the Violin’
Betty had just gotten off the bus from Texas and went straight into an audition for the great musical “1776.” She got the part of Thomas Jefferson’s wife, Martha — her Broadway debut — and can be heard singing “He Plays the Violin” on the wonderful cast album of the 1969 show.
‘When There’s No One’
“Carrie” is best-known as one of the most famous flops in Broadway history — saved only by this great song, which only an actress of Betty’s caliber can pull off. (She plays Carrie’s crazed religious mother.)
‘Children Will Listen’
A singer dropped out of a 1993 Stephen Sondheim tribute at Carnegie Hall, and Betty, who was up in Williamstown, Mass., doing a play, jumped into a car and arrived at Carnegie in the nick of time. She sang this song, backed up by the Boys Choir of Harlem, without rehearsing — and brought down the house.
This is a “Cats” song we all know and love to death — but watch Betty’s rendition at the 1983 Tony Awards, and you’ll remember why you fell in love with it the first time you heard it.