Here’s why Betty Buckley is glad she changed her mind about starring in ‘Hello Dolly’

To play the title character in the national tour of “Hello, Dolly!,” Betty Buckley lost more than 30 pounds, left behind the beloved horses on her Texas ranch and set aside anxieties about going on the road for the first time at 71.

She did all that to gain a part she’d never expected to take.

“I never had a hankering to do it,” says Buckley, who turned 72 six days before her July 9 opening at Belk Theater. “I saw a couple of versions as a teenager in Texas, I saw Pearl Bailey on Broadway on a college vacation, and the show didn’t make a deep impression. It was a beautiful piece of entertainment, but I never understood why everyone was so excited about this woman flouncing around in pretty costumes and hats.

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