Fresh from her triumphant run as Norma Desmond in both the Broadway and London companies of Sunset Boulevard, Tony Award winner Betty Buckley is set to headline the current tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber - Music of the Night, beginning November 26 at Boston's Colonial Theatre.
Music of the Night showcases the work of the acclaimed British composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, who has written the scores to such shows as Evita, Jesus Christ Superstar, Song and Dance, Cats and The Phantom of the Opera.Buckley's one-of-a-kind voice, combined with her intelligent interpretations and commanding presence, are the perfect match for Webber's soaring melodies. In fact, she has starred in three Webber shows to date: as the Tony-winning Grizabella in the Broadway company of Cats, as Emma, the English woman who comes to America in Song and Dance, and most recently, as the faded silent screen star Norma Desmond in
Sunset Boulevard.About her recent turn as Norma Desmond in Sunset, New York Magazine's John Simon wrote that Betty's presence "appears to have rewritten, recast, redirected the entire show. Unlike previous Normas, she abounds in childlikeness, girlishness, womanliness, and age-old humanity--the whole spectrum. Whereas other Normas made me laugh and shudder, this one also made me smile and cry. Moreover, she brings attractiveness and sexiness to the role." And Jeremy Gerard--in the bible of Broadway, Daily Variety--reported it this way: "The Street's supreme diva is driving audiences into a frenzy, and why not? She is a musical-theatre alchemist."
In Music of the Night the "musical-theatre alchemist" will be joined by twelve multi-talented singers and dancers, many of whom have appeared in Andrew Lloyd Webber productions in the U.S. and abroad. Buckley and company will all be backed by the lush sounds of a 34-piece onstage orchestra.
The production, which features songs ranging from Jesus Christ Superstar to Sunset Boulevard, was conceived by Scott Ellis and David Thompson and directed by Mr. Ellis, known to Broadway audiences as the director of She Loves Me and the recent revival of Company at the Roundabout Theatre. Orchestrators Bill Brohn and David Cullen, vocal arranger David Loud, dance arranger David Krane, musical supervisor Phil Reno and musical director and conductor Jay Alger have all worked to create new orchestrations and different settings for Lloyd Webber's tunes.
Andrew Lloyd Webber-Music of the Night first began its tour in Washington, D.C., in September of 1995, and since that time critics have been throwing raves at the production. In the Chicago Sun-Times, Richard Christiansen exclaimed, "One show-stopper after another! It's a slick, glossy concert piece, and if you like Andrew Lloyd Webber, you are going to love this!" Now, with Betty Buckley leading the company, there is more reason than ever to catch what promises to be wonderful music of the night.
At this time Betty Buckley's Music of the Night schedule is as follows:
- November 26-December 8: Boston, Colonial Theatre - 617-931-2787
- December 10-15: Cincinnati, Taft Theatre - 513-749-4949 (tickets on sale 10/27)
- December 17-22: Philadelphia, Merriam Theater - 215-732-5446 (tickets on sale 11/17)
The tour will then continue to play in Denver (December 31-January 5), Los Angeles (January 8-19), San Francisco (January 21-26), and Chicago (January 29-February 9). Theatres and phone numbers for these cities to come as they are confirmed. Be sure to continue to check Betty Buckley's website, now in its new home on Playbill On-line, for more information and for phone numbers to purchase tickets.
-- By Andrew Gans