Sunday, August 12, 2012

88 Cents or Dollars: Whatever Betty Wants

1988 Greg & the great Ms. Buckley
There are those voices that when you hear them, you know you are in the presence of something utterly amazing. I've been a fan of Betty Buckley since high school. Growing up in her home state of Texas, I couldn't wait until we were traveling to NYC for the 1st time in summer of '84 and we were going to see Cats. Only my mom could not get tickets. Completely sold out and I was crushed. But I did go on to see her in so many shows once I moved to New York in '87. (I waited an hour after Carrie was done for her to come out of the stage door and grab a photo with her.) Well that 19 year old boy got to enjoy the experience all over again and this time as a 43 year old man.

I'm on vacation in Provincetown this week and was so excited when I heard Betty Buckley would be doing a concert in town. What we got was so much more than that. Seth Rudetsky is a master at talking to people as he does on his Sirius Radio show and he started the evening with a 'chat' with the two of them sharing backstage stories. And then she started singing "Everything Is If We Never Said Goodbye" from Sunset Blvd. and my eyes filled with tears. Her voice still transcends. Her performance is magic. And one can see why she is the Broadway legend that she is. 

She shared songs from her soon-to-be released newest CD Ah, Men (where she sings all songs made famous by male characters in musicals). There was also a section devoted to Carrie where we saw snippets of her performance on tape and then she sang "When There's No One" and trust me: no one can sing this song like Ms. Buckley. A song that makes the heart ache for the character of Margaret White (which one would think would be impossible to do).

I had secretly hoped I could take a new photo with her to bookend from the one we took 24 years ago together. (Hell, it was no secret: I actually tweeted it to her before the show.) If you don't follow her on twitter...let me just say she is so approachable. She has retweeted about my children's book on autism. She talks of her life in Texas. She is simply wonderful. So when they said "no cameras can be on as we're taping for" - I thought, "so much for me ever getting close enough for a photo."

2012 in Provincetown
And then they come to her last number and they need a male volunteer from the audience. And no one is volunteering. I'm being pushed by my other half to stand...and even though I've been a performer for much of my life, I hate audience participation. (And haven't been on stage in a show in 4 years: will be again in two months though.) But I did. I seized a moment, went on stage with Ms. Buckley and played the father to her Rose in the iconic scene from Gypsy. My brain started thinking of those people who do this and usually just sit there. So having directed several shows myself, I began to direct myself in my head. (Yes, you heard me right: I was on stage with one of the most amazing women Broadway has given us and I'm telling myself to act for her...give her something in the scene!) I said my line "You ain't getting 88 cents from me, Rose!" I made my exit and I was high as a kite the evening would end in such a way for me.

She sang one closing encore and brought the house to their feet. And as she made her way up the aisle to sign copies of her CD, I was happy to be able to get that one extra chance for that photo I wanted. And yes, it happened. A lovely woman. An amazing night. 
Thank you, my fellow Texan.


  1. That's so great, Greg! Thanks for sharing that story. You sure got a lot more than 88 cents from your Rose!

  2. Greg, what can I say, amazing things are just happening in your life. I am so happy for you, I know how much you love Betty. Enjoy, enjoy!!!!!!

  3. A Night to Remember FOREVER!!! ahhhhh MEMORIES!!!