Betty Buckley Is Not Wedded to the Same Old Songs

On her 35-acre ranch in Texas, the actor-singer Betty Buckley has been dreaming of playing a Western heroine at last — ideally in something by Taylor Sheridan, the “Yellowstone” creator, who shoots nearby.

“I have literally contemplated going to his ranch and just knocking on the door,” Buckley, 76, said the other afternoon, and laughed.

This week, though, she is slated to perform in Manhattan, Thursday through Saturday at Joe’s Pub, with songs and arrangements new to her show. After a year and a half of physical challenges including long Covid and compression fractures in her spine, she has worked her way back into concert mode.

A veteran of the 1976 movie “Carrie” and the musical adaptation — a cult favorite that was a Broadway flop in 1988 — she is also back on-screen as an unsettling neighbor in the horror movie “Imaginary,” released in March, and with an animated short that she wrote and narrates, “The Mayfly,” scheduled for the Tribeca Festival in June.

The actress played Norma Desmond in both the West End and the Broadway productions of “Sunset Boulevard” in the mid-1990s.Credit…John Stoddart/Popperfoto, via Getty Images
Sissy Spacek and Buckley in “Carrie,” which was Buckley’s big-screen debut in 1976. She later starred in a stage adaptation of the movie.Credit…United Artists

A 1983 Tony Award winner for playing Grizabella in “Cats,” and famed for her trans-Atlantic 1990s turn as Norma Desmond in “Sunset Boulevard,” Buckley spoke from her ranch by video call. These are edited excerpts from that conversation.

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