Betty Buckley Sends Fans Into a Frenzy as She Steps Into ‘Hello Dolly!’
Betty Buckley is surprised as much as the fans about the news that she will be headlining the national tour of “Hello, Dolly!”.
The show kicks off its five-week marathon from the 4th of June at the Kennedy Center’s Opera House in Washington.
“In all honesty, I never really understood the show,” Buckley said in an interview during one of the stops of the tour in Louisville. “I never understood this woman moving across the entire stage in her ostentatious costumes, leaving everyone excited.”
Then Buckley is a Tony Award winner for her role as Grizabella in ‘Cats,’ saw the 2017 remake of “Dolly” as directed by Jerry Zaks.
“The tears started rolling out when it was time for ‘Put on Your Sunday Clothes,” Buckley says in reference to Jerry Herman’s sweet ode that emphasized the need to go out and enjoy the world. “That experience was one of the best for me, and it brought out a childlike joy I had not felt in a long time.
Even at that, she still didn’t see herself in the role. She was more akin to the dramatic rather than the comedic. Over the years she has been cast as Norma Desmond in the “Sunset Boulevard,” starred in HBO’s prison Drama “Oz” for three seasons, and as Gran’ma in the “Preacher.”
Buckley was stunned when she was asked to play the boisterous Dolly Levi, and it wasn’t just her alone who was surprised.
Lewis J. Stadlen, the co-star to Buckley, was also surprised by the news. “Is she a comedian?” he was quoted saying. Stadlen plays the role of Horace Vandergelder, a cranky wealthy man. He has played the role with different Dollys over the years, none of which have the same acting background as Buckley.
Buckley is not afraid of the task ahead; in fact, she mentions that the script analysis classes she attended back in the 70s have helped her prepare for this role.
“Gena Rowlands, Geraldine Page, and Kim Stanley are some of my idols,” she says. “They took acting to a whole new level, and they were the best truth-tell actresses as far as I know. What I want to do is bring the same quality of truth-telling into this new role.”
There were lots of persons vying for the position of Dolly Levi. The list includes Carol Channing, Barbra Streisand, Bernadette Peters, to mention just a few.