On a raining Tuesday night nearing the end of her month long appearance at Feinstein’s at the Loews Regency Betty Buckley performed her current show, Ah Men! The Boys of Broadway, for a sparce but adoring room that included Broadway star Sherie Rene Scott. The intimate gathering cheered every song demonstrating a vast appreciation for one of Broadway’s preeminent singing actors. The slant behind the show was that although Buckley has sung her share of Broadway classics most notably “Memory” from CATS, she has also not been able to sing some songs she has always longed to sing, because they were written for men.
Now in her return to Feinstein’s Buckley is in excellent form sharing her fascination with men and some of the songs they have sung. Her story goes back to when she was just 14 and fell in love with Riff played by Russ Tamblyn in the movie version of West Side Story. She was so fixated on him that she even envisioned herself a Jett and would do the song “When You’re Jet” in the family driveway complete with the Jerome Robbins choreography. That song of course was part of her show as well a divinely pure rendition of “Marie.”
She also coveted a song Michael Rupert sang William Finn’s “Venice in Eligies", a show she appeared in watching him from the wings. Now at Feinstein’s she had her chance to make it her own along with many others like “Luck Be a Lady” and “More I Cannot Wish You” from Frank Loesser’s Guys and Dolls, along with “I Won’t Dance” from the Astaire/Rogers film Swingtime, one of her forays away from Broadway.
Probably the most memorable highlight of her show was near the end of the evening when Buckley put together a marvelous medley from Sweeney Todd- “Not While I’m Around,” “Joanna,” and "My Friend,” each sung by a different character in the musical.
Betty Buckley was seemingly at her most casual and relaxed, while maintaining her dramatic aura in an entertaining show filled with personal witty banter that gave the evening a heart-warming appeal, a delightful (an adjective she used to describe the intimate audience ) juxtaposition to her luxurious voice Her pianist-musical director-arranger is Christian Jacob. Catch her while she can! Buckley’s stay at Feinstein’s comes to a close on Saturday October 29.