Betty Buckley – A Video Library

Playbill, in celebrating the birthday (July 3) of the brilliant Tony Award winner Betty Buckley, has assembled a list of some of Betty’s greatest performances caught on video.

If you love music theater you have to take a look. I watched every one.

I’ve loved Betty’s talent for as long as I can remember. I actually attended the same high school as I’m from the same hometown, Fort Worth, Texas.

I think she’s a thrilling talent. The first time I actually met her she came to see Carol Channing in “Hello, Dolly!” on Broadway which I was lucky to be a part of. Then our cast went to go see her in “Sunset Boulevard.” She was heart-stopping. Some the “Sunset” songs are in this collection.

Hit the link and go watch some fabulous theater by a great artist.

Randy Jackson responds to Betty Buckley’s defense of Broadway singers

Recently, Betty Buckley tweeted in defense of singers that American Idol judge Randy Jackson deemed “too Broadway.” For many, the label appeared to diss singers who sounded like they would be at home on a Broadway stage.

Today, Randy Jackson responded to Betty through

“Just for the record; @bettybuckley I love you, I also love broadway, I am a huge broadway fan. There are tons of broadway stars that are dear friends of mine. I have the upmost respect for all broadway actors and singers. To me the greatest thing in life is a true thespian. One who can be a great actor, singer, and great dancer. The all around performer. Last I checked, America is land of the free, home of the brave, and freedom of speech is still allowed. But what I was merely saying to the singer, or any singer who wishes to be in popular music is that you have to be able to have control of your vibrato and have amazing talent. A lot of people who sing broadway, do not have control of their vibrato, which does not easily lend itself to singing other styles of music. The wide open vibrato doesn’t work everywhere. Was not dissing anyone, and if you know our show carefully, we have been using the words “Too Broadway” for 11 seasons now, and we have all said it. FYI: If you are a fan of the show, then you would know, we had a giant win with a broadway singer named Adam Lambert. One of our greatest contestants, 4 years ago, And yo Betty the dawg ain’t got nothing but love for you. Ever since eight is enough. I want everyone to realize their dreams.”

My thoughts on this:

1. Thank you Randy for addressing the issue and saying you have respect for Broadway actors and singers.

2. While you and other judges HAVE been saying “too Broadway” for 11 seasons, what you have NOT made clear is that it was not dissing Broadway. Many times on American Idol singers have been dismissed with a simple “too Broadway” and that was it.  To many viewers this gave the impression that having a “Broadway” sounding voice was a bad thing.

Perhaps, Randy, if you have the respect you say you have for the talent and discipline of Broadways performers, you could have been been clearer by saying “great voice, and I can see you succeeding on Broadway, but I don’t think your voice is suited for the pop music industry.” While you may have understood in your head that that’s what you MEANT, that’s not what you have been saying.

Here’s to clarity in the future.

Betty Buckley rips American Idol & Randy Jackson; Nigel issues apology

On this week’s American Idol, a contestant was called “too Broadway” and was not given a chance to get to the next round of the competition. For years, on American Idol a contestant being “too Broadway” is viewed as someone that has what the judges consider a good voice, talent, but not to be a ‘Pop music’ Idol or superstar. Randy Jackson was last night’s culprit and after all the judges voted, the contestant was sent home.

Broadway icon Betty Buckley, a Tony Award winner and Grammy Award nominee, had a lot to say about the topic on her Twitter account, and she has some very valid points.

“OK, I just have to say this: I am sick & tired of Randy Jackson bashing what they think is Bway singing! It’s soo ludicrous! I have yet to see or hear anyone sound remotely like they are a theatre singer on Idol!!

And, further, theatrical singing encompasses every kind of sound, voice & style. He doesn’t know what he’s talkin’ about!! And by these constant disses he is tellin’ Amer. kids that Bway is some kind of inferior art form. Next to jazz, Broadway is the only indigenous Amer. art form & with respect, “Dog”, your opinion is whack & uninformed! I mean, I respect Randy Jackson & everyone certainly has their own likes & dislikes, but THIS constant diss of “Bway” sounding, to his ear, singers is just so ignorant & stupid that I literally cannot comprehend the producers allowing such mendacity in his remarks! Beyond idiotic !!!

And when Steven Tyler remarked, “They learn that”, I thought I was gonna scream!!

All human voices have vibrato in one form or another! This constant STUPID reference is beneath contempt & I gotta say, too, that all big “rock/pop” shows these days are frickin’ THEATRE! SOOO, Nigel Lithgow & company, in a world that includes an increase in the popularity of musical in general in theatre, film & television America Idol needs to WAKE UP to the truth, voices are voices, singing is singing in all forms, styles & genres. These categories have nothing to do with anything.

The Record business in general is in big trouble & why for frickin’ sake would you the creators of “Idol” risk losing & demeaning any well intended audience. You respond to a singer because you hear their soul or you do not! ENOUGH!! I’VE HAD IT!!

O, while I’m at it. The use of melisma comes outa African American church & made most popular by Mariah Carey & comp. but mindless use of melisma does NOT a great singer make if it is random & without a true emotional intiation! I’ve really had it, people! Someone tell Lithgow!

Thanks for the “Amens”, Tweeties & Dopeys. Spread the word, please. Do not let these poor kids be so propaganized by a pop bass player with some pop recording success be the arbiter of what constitutes a supposed “good” singer! ENOUGH!! Aaaand….”world peace”. ; ) Oh, & one more thing: Broadway is a place, not a style. At one time, in early days of classic Bway, Rodgers, Hamerstein, Hart, Lerner & Loew Gershwin, Tin Pan Alley & company one could say there was a style, a consistency in construct. But not any more.

All kinds of composers and singers and styles on Broadway. And that’s been true since the 60’s. I would venture to say that the “Dog” & powers that be don’t get much. Write them, people, & tell them how absolute off frickin’ base this is! x.”

I have to give props to Betty here. For years, it’s made me cringe when the AI judges speak about a voice as a “too Broadway” – as if it’s a bad thing to have a good, trained, developed voice. I hope in the future they would at least acknowledge the talent even if the judges think the voice isn’t suitable for a pop music recording career. They’ve never really made that clear, and it’s always sounded like a put-down.

To his credit, Nigel Lythgoe tweeted back to Betty saying ” I totally understand your point. The problem goes beyond Randy (Jackson). ‘ Broadway’ has been adopted as a style of singing and dancing. I guess in the UK we we would call it a “show” voice. I agree – GaGa, Freddie Mercury – great show voices. You, Chenoweth, Katherine McPhee. Thank you I will certainly speak with Randy. I had the pleasure of seeing your outstanding performances in “Cats” and “Pippin.”