Stage and screen legend Betty Buckley previews her upcoming concerts

Betty Buckley is playing the lead role of Dolly in a production of “Hello Dolly!”, that will be performing in Boston in August. Photographed at The Four Seasons Hotel, in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, June 11, 2019. John Boal/for The Boston Globe
Betty Buckley is playing the lead role of Dolly in a production of “Hello Dolly!”, that will be performing in Boston in August. Photographed at The Four Seasons Hotel, in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, June 11, 2019. John Boal/for The Boston Globe /

Betty Buckley is one of the great performers on TV, film and stage, and Hidden Remote spoke to the Tony Award winner ahead of her latest concerts.

There’s no one like Betty Buckley. TV fans know her from her fearsome performance as Gran’ma during the third season of AMC‘s Preacher or as Patricia Arias on The CW‘s Supergirl; movie viewers recognize her as Dr. Fletcher in M. Night Shyamalan’s thriller Split; and theatergoers know her in the title role of Hello, Dolly!

And that’s just what she’s done recently. Her legendary career spans decades and includes a Tony Award, two Daytime Emmy Award nominations, and two Grammy Award nominations. She’s one of the most versatile performers in the business.

Now, having wrapped the national tour of Hello, Dolly!, she’s lined up several concerts in Costa Mesa and Los Angeles this month. Hidden Remote had the opportunity to speak with Betty as she prepared for these shows, to preview what fans can expect and discuss her iconic career.

Learn more about Betty Buckley in our interview below. To get tickets to her concerts (Oct. 17-19 at Costa Mesa’s Segerstrom Center for the Arts and Nov. 2 at the Saban Theatre in Los Angeles), visit her website.

More from Interviews

Hidden Remote: You have decades’ worth of music, so how do you decide which songs go on your set list for a concert?

Betty Buckley: I do have quite a lot of songs I could choose from, but I’m always looking to find material that speaks to where I’m at in the moment [and is] what I want to sing about in the present moment.

Sometimes I’ll really resonate with a piece of material for a while and then it feels like it doesn’t resonate in the same way, so I move onto something new. But I’m always looking to learn new material and things that are interesting. I’m a storyteller and I’m always listening for stories that I have some connection to, that I can share with the audience, that are of the moment, in terms of what we all are addressing in our lives on some level.

HR: What can you tell us about these four shows? What should we expect to hear?

Betty Buckley: I’m going to Los Angeles to work with my pianist and music director, Christian Jacob, who I’ve worked with for about ten years now and we’ve done three albums together. The last two albums we did together are Hope, which was released a year ago this past spring, and then the one before that was Story Songs.

Story Songs was actually recorded in Costa Mesa, in our last bit of concerts there, so we might pick a couple of songs from the Story Songs collection of songs and repeat those. [We] probably will be most centered on the Hope collection, which we haven’t performed in Costa Mesa or on the West Coast yet.

Maybe one or two from Ghost Light, which was my album that was produced by T-Bone Burnett. And I’m also going to be learning some new songs while I’m in L.A., new songs for me with Christian. We’ll go through the songs we feel we want to play and sing in the present time and then we’ll cull those down to what we think is an interesting set list.

Betty Buckley
NEW YORK, NY – NOVEMBER 17: Betty Buckley performs at the Every Body, Rise!: A Celebration Of Elaine Stritch at Al Hirshfeld Theatre on November 17, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images) /

HR: Can you tell us about the other musicians who’ll be joining you for these concerts?

Betty Buckley: [Guitarist] Nir Felder is playing Costa Mesa and Oz Noy will be flying in for L.A. I’ve got a new drummer in Costa Mesa called Dave Tull that I’ve never worked with, so I’ll be flying back to rehearse with Dave and Nir and Trey Henry, our West Coast bass player.

I’ll be flying back to L.A. right before November 2nd to work with Christian and the drummer Ray Brinker, Oz Noy and Trey Henry. The opening set in L.A. will be played by Tom Scott, who’s a very famous saxophone player that I’m a huge fan of, and I think he’s going to be coming on for the second half and doing a few songs with me. I’m not sure. It’s all kind of a very spontaneous, intuitive choice of material in the moment.

HR: You mentioned recording Story Songs during a previous time in Costa Mesa, and you also performed there with Hello, Dolly. Is there something about that city or venue that appeals to you as an artist?

Betty Buckley: I really like the Segerstrom Center. I think it’s really beautiful architecturally, and the sound is great. I loved playing the big hall we played for Hello, Dolly; it was the perfect acoustic theater. But Samueli Theater is a really nice room and there’s a great guy who runs it—the artistic director Aaron Egigian, who I’ve had a long association with. He’s just a really nice man and I really enjoy working for and with him, and the audiences are terrific. It’s just a really great place.

HR: When it comes to TV, audiences will never forget your work as Marie L’Angelle in Preacher. How was that experience for you?

Betty Buckley: Preacher is one of my favorite shows ever on television. My agent called me and said they were interested in me for this role of Madame Marie L’Angelle and I was ecstatic. I was so excited because I’m such a fan of the show—the writing, the acting, I just think it’s incredible and a smart parody about culture and religious philosophy. It’s fascinating and so I was thrilled when I got this part.

It was one of the best work experiences of my life, because everybody in every job capacity was just the best of the best and super-nice people. One of the jokes around the set was we had all gotten together and it was like a group of angels—these lovely human beings who were so good at their crafts, and really dedicated to the quality of the work and the show. It was an absolute gift to get to collaborate with them all.

And to play Marie L’Angelle was a blast for me, because she was such a villain. I got to be as horrible as I knew how to be. It was super fun and a great four months of my life getting to work with them.

Next. Animaniacs star Rob Paulsen shares his inspirational story. dark

Betty Buckley appears in concert Oct. 17-19 in Costa Mesa and Nov. 2 in Los Angeles. For more information and to get tickets, visit her website.