“Powerhouse Voice” of Betty Buckley set to open Cabaret Series

Betty Buckley opens the Segerstrom’s Cabaret Series at the Samueli Theatre Oct. 17-19.

Star of stage, screen and concerts plans individual “journey” for audience

If you’re in the audience when Betty Buckley takes the stage, you can expect to be taken on an individual journey for which, you can be assured, she has invested much preparation and thought.

The legendary performer is preparing to open the Segerstrom Center for the Arts Cabaret Series, Oct. 17-19, in Costa Mesa with a special mix of new songs and tunes selected from her most recent albums.

“Every concert is like a journey,” said the Tony Award winning entertainer as she prepared for a three-night engagement in Southern California, who said she is planning an entertaining evening designed to tug the individual heartstrings of everyone within the sound of her voice.

Though the multi-award-winning Buckley is recognized for her work on the stage, on television, films, and even now on top streaming shows, she is also recognized as having one of the more remarkable voices in the industry.

At 15, more than five decades ago, the popular entertainer became a star after moving to New York from Texas. She remembers getting the role of “Martha Jefferson” in “1776” on Broadway the day she arrived and has not since looked back.

At 35, twenty years into her career, the world took notice of Betty Buckley’s voice as she hit the “note heard around the world” as she hit the searing high note in “Memory” as Grizabella in the original production of CATS on Broadway.

Variety immediately dubbed her voice as “a powerhouse voice” and “the voice of Broadway by New York Magazine.”

Her performance in CATS earned her a Tony Award and throughout her career, her work on stage earned for her other Tony nominations, Oliver Award nominations and her recordings have earned Grammy nominations.

“My band consists of four incredible musicians headed by my brilliant musical director and pianist, Christian Jacob. We will present some repertoire from ‘Story Songs,’ our newest album, ‘Hope’ and a few new pieces,” said Buckley.

“My goal is to allow the audience to free associate with the elements” of entertainment, said Buckley, noting that her goal on stage is to allow every member of the audience to take away what is meaningful to them in the messages delivered by her work.

“I sing what I believe my audience wants to hear and needs to hear,” said Buckley. In an interview, Buckley says she does spend a great deal of time thinking about the nation’s mood and psyche and tries to develop appearances to give audiences messages of hope.

In fact, according to the Washington Post, Buckley agreed to perform a much-heralded engagement of “Hello Dolly” this past summer “to make America happy again.” Buckley, a Texas native, is off stage a really deep thinker and is unafraid to speak her mind. “I do think individually about each show,” she says.

Her award-winning career has included television, film, stage and concert performances, and her talent

Buckley says she began performing as a child in her native Texas and is now seared into the American entertainment consciousness with a career filled with memorable roles and 18 solo albums.

Buckley arranges her performances to allow the audience to “free associate with elements” of entertainment, noting that every member of the audience should be able to allow their own experiences and expectations take away what is meaningful to them.

“Each performance is different,” she said, adding that each show is “almost like a guided meditation. “I’m not on stage to encourage them to believe or not believe, but to allow them to enjoy based on their own experiences.” While Buckley is unafraid to touch on a variety of emotions using various elements of music, she said her overriding message left with audiences is one of “personal inspiration.”

Buckley’s unique entertainment approach has her in demand six decades after first setting foot on a stage. In fact, Buckley said this week she returns to the Samueli Theatre at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts after spending four months in New Orleans filming her role in the hit series “Preacher.”

Her film roles include Miss Collins in Brian De Palma’s classic “Carrie” (1976) and Country Western singer Dixie Scott in Bruce Beresford’s “Tender Mercies” (1983.) Ms. Buckley received a Saturn Award nomination for her most recent film “Split” directed by M. Night Shyamalan which was one of the top 10 International Box Office Hits of 2017.

On television, Buckley most recently co-starred in Season 3 of the AMC Hit Series “Preacher” (2018). She also played Abby Bradford in “Eight Is Enough” (1977-1981) and received a Daytime Emmy Award nomination for her work in both “Bobby and Sarah” (1984) and “Taking a Stand” (1989.) She also had recurring roles on HBO’s “Oz” (2001-3) and “Pretty Little Liars (2012) and most recently on “Supergirl,” “Chicago Med,” and HBO’s “The Leftovers,” and “Getting On.”

In 2017, she was honored with the prestigious Julie Harris Award by The Actor’s Fund and in 2018 The Sarah Siddons Award for outstanding performance in a Chicago Theatrical Production. In 2009 she received the Texas Medal of the Arts Award in Theater and was inducted into the Texas Film Hall of Fame in 2007.

She has been awarded two honorary Doctorates of Fine Arts for her contribution to the Musical Theatre by Marymount College and The Boston Conservatory of Music. In 2012 she was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame. Buckley has been a teacher for over 45 years in Song Interpretation and Scene Study.

Buckley says, even after all these years, she loves teaching the craft to others almost as much as practicing it. “I want to pass on the beauty of the tools I’ve learned,” she said, adding her secret is always being “relevant to the moment.”

Her upcoming concerts at Segerstrom promises a rare opportunity for a personal session with an entertainer who has enjoyed an amazing career both for her raw talent and for using it in ways to make us all feel a little bit better about life.

Single tickets for Betty Buckley go on sale August 25 and start at $89. Tickets are available for purchase online at www.SCFTA.org, at the Box Office at 600 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa or by calling (714) 556-2787. For inquiries about group ticket savings of 10 or more, please call the Group Services office at (714) 755-0236.