Betty Buckley: For the Love of Broadway
The Tony Award winner's new cabaret show at Feinstein's at Loews Regency proves to be an often exciting and completely satisfying evening of musical theater songs.
Following last year's mandate of her Broadway By Request show, Buckley has decided to please her cabaret fans by eschewing her own love of jazz and pop to fully concentrate on standards and theater music. But unlike her previous greatest-hits outing, For the Love of Broadway is made up of nearly two dozen songs Buckley has never performed in public. The results are sometimes surprising, often exciting, and consistently satisfying.
Backed by her long-time musical director Kenny Werner and his trio, Buckley once again proves to be an extraordinarily sensitive interpreter of love songs -- be they happy or sad. Her rendition of "Bewitched" -- paired with "Hey There" -- is one of the best and gentlest I've heard. She also brings a peerless romantic feeling to a number of selections, including "Come to Me, Bend to Me," "Lazy Afternoon," "Never Let Me Go," and "One Hand, One Heart." And, as always, Buckley knows how to break your heart, as especially evidenced by a stunning take on Jacques Brel's "If You Go Away."
What Buckley also brings to her interpretations is a palpable sense of hard-earned wisdom, which serves her (and us) especially well on a pairing of "Simple" and "Be On Your Own" (from Nine -- and both, as she points out, sadly cut from the film version), as well as "I Never Know When to Say When," "There's a Fine Fine Line," and "This Nearly Was Mine." Her maturity even adds another dimension to "Home," the big-belting showstopper from The Wiz that Buckley sings as her finale. (And you must give extra credit to any performer who chooses to tackle that song at the end of an 80-minute concert!)