What does Betty Buckley do on opening nights?
"I pray to God to help us all."
And she's not speaking lightly. The Tony-winning star of Cats is reclined in her dressing room, being made up by her assistant, Courtney Shepatin. Beside her is a statue of the Hindu deity Ganesh, placed there by her spiritual adviser Swami Mukunananda.
She says it helps with the stress of opening. "I've always clutched on my openings until he [the adviser] installed one of the statues in her Sunset Boulevard dressing room. That opening, she said, went perfectly."
Opening night is a weeklong process for Buckley. She takes voice lessons, workouts with her Pilates trainer, meditation.
"I give my friends a pep talk," she said of the cast. "I tell them there is nothing like an opening night on Broadway. It's the most divine thing. The tension and pressure are enormous. When I was younger, I was so terrified, I missed the whole experience. I tell them 'You must really show up for them. You've got to let go. You've got to chill. It's the Show up. Relish it. Enjoy it.' Early in your career you think there will be a flock of them, but you wind up being able to count them very precisely.