It’s rare to find careers as varied, and as continually-evolving, as Betty Buckley’s. In addition to performing iconic roles on television (Eight is Enough), on film (Carrie), and in Broadway musicals like 1776, Cats (for which she won a Tony award), The Mystery of Edwin Drood and Sunset Boulevard, Buckley has recorded an astounding 17 solo albums.
In advance of her shows at Joe’s Pub Oct. 12-15, Buckley came to the Billboard on Broadway podcast to discuss her latest release, Story Songs, her love of rock music, and highlights of her career.
“When I was growing up in Texas, I loved Janis Joplin, Led Zeppelin, Jefferson Airplane and Grace Slick, these rock artists,” Buckley reveals. “My dream was to be a rocker. But my path was through the musical theater.” She relates that the visionary genre-blending producer T Bone Burnett, a childhood friend of Buckley’s, once said to her, “‘The truth that people don’t know about you is you always just wanted to be part of the band!'”
Over the years, Buckley has kept her distinctive voice and perspective. “I see each song as like a moving painting, like a little movie in my mind’s eye,” she shares, and she works closely with her band members, producers and arrangers, whether in the studio or live.
In a wide-ranging conversation with host Rebecca Milzoff, Buckley tells the story of her long road to winning the role of Grizabella in Cats; how Martha Plimpton convinced her to sing Radiohead; and much more.