“I like to sing, and I like to ride horses,” says Betty Lynn Buckley. The Big Spring–born Broadway legend has always been mesmerized by musical theater—“My mother took me to see Pajama Game when I was eleven”—and majestic animals (her childhood horse was named Black Bucket). Her singing and flair for dramatics led Buckley to New York City, where she landed leads in 1776 and Pippin, won a Tony Award for Cats, and starred in the seventies television series Eight Is Enough. Buckley still sings every day, sometimes with rehearsal pianists, at her secluded 35-acre ranch outside Fort Worth. This month you can find her teaching a song interpretation workshop at the Museum of Modern Art, in Fort Worth.
About the items on Betty Buckley’s Piano
• My first cutting horse, Purple Badger, on the day I bought him. He was my best friend and soul mate. He died three years ago of an aneurysm. I was watching him run through the pasture when he collapsed.
• I bought this piano maybe thirty years ago. I don’t play, but I compose, so when I bought this I had a pianist go with me to a lot of different places to play all the pianos for me. It has a beautiful sound.
• I won that for Cats. They passed on me for my first audition. They wanted death and dying, and they said I radiated health and well-being. Getting “Memory” right was when I finally learned how to stop the show.
• I sing every day. In the shower, in here. I drink lots of coffee, but when I sing in my office/studio I drink hot tea.
• These are my two best friends from TCU, Harriett Adams and Cherry Haymes. We were Zeta Tau Alpha sorority sisters together.
• I’m a Christian/Buddhist/Universalist. I have my photo of Jesus to remind me that the essence of Christ resides in each of us.
• That’s my little Buddha.
• My notes from Ghostlight, the album I just worked on with T Bone Burnett. We knew each other as kids, and when we were nineteen he did an archival recording of my voice for my mother.