Review: Betty Buckley

Originally reviewed for

It’s no accident that Betty Buckley’s doing a lot of Broadway in her latest cabaret act — “For The Love Of Broadway!” — she says that Feinstein’s got complaints about the jazzier slant of her earlier acts at the club. “We came to see Betty Buckley; we want to hear Broadway, dammit!” She even comically complains about the situation in a very funny specialty number called “When I Belt” written especially for this act by John McDaniel and Eric Kornfeld.

Whether that’s all true or not (it certainly makes for funny patter), it’s a real pleasure to hear her tear into songs as varied as Pal Joey’s “Bewitched,” Avenue Q’s  “There’s a Fine, Fine Line” and The Wiz’s “Home.” Musical director Kenny Werner’s arrangements are original and dynamic, and Buckley’s delivery smart, big and powerful. Particularly touching was her take on Jacques Brel’s “If You Go Away” in which you could almost sense the lover addressed in the song slowly turning away.

The act, however, is a bit on the ballad-heavy side. This breaks what I consider to be one of the few rules about building a solid cabaret act: go easy on the ballads (you want an audience that is in love, not asleep). You can’t fault her often-riveting interpretations, though, and there’s just enough spicy up-tempo stuff to make this a generally enjoyable evening.

For tickets, click here.

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