When the national tour of Hello, Dolly! comes to the Music Hall at Fair Park next summer, DFW audiences will see a familiar face. Fort Worth resident and Broadway legend Betty Buckley has been confirmed as the musical's headlining star.
The Tony Award winner will play Dolly Gallagher Levi, the charming matchmaker who decides that the next match she needs to make is for herself. She weaves a web of romantic complications for her newest client, the cantankerous "half-a-millionaire" Horace Vandergelder, his two clerks, and a pretty hat maker, all to the tune of such Broadway classics as "Before the Parade Passes By," "It Only Takes a Moment," "Put on Your Sunday Clothes," and, of course, the title number.
Previously, Buckley has inhabited such larger-than-life stage roles as Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard and Grizabella in the original production of Cats. She made her Broadway debut as Martha Jefferson in 1776, earned another Tony nomination for Triumph of Love, and originated the role of Margaret White in the infamous musical version of Carrie (she appeared as Miss Collins in the Brian de Palma film).
In addition to her stage work, Buckley has released an astonishing 17 solo albums, most recently Ghostlight, produced by Oscar and muti-Grammy Award-winning producer (and fellow Fort Worthian) T Bone Burnett. Her 18th solo album, Hope, which was recorded live at Joe's Pub, will be released this spring by Palmetto Records.
On film, Buckley has appeared in Wyatt Earp, M. Night Shyamalan's The Happening, Another Woman, and Frantic, but was most recently seen in the movie Split, with James McAvoy. On television, she played Abby Bradford for eight seasons on Eight is Enough.
Just last year, Buckley received the prestigious Julie Harris Award by The Actor's Fund, and in 2012 was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame. Those accolades join the Texas Medal of the Arts Award in Theater she received in 2009, and the honor of being inducted into the Texas Film Hall of Fame in Austin in 2007.
Casa Mañana's Buckley Awards are also named for the star. The yearly scholarship awards have been "promoting and celebrating excellence in high school musical theater since 2000," with students from Denton, Wise, Parker, Hood, Johnson, and Tarrant counties competing. The 13 "best" categories include: musical, play, male and female actor (for both musical and non), male and female supporting actor, choreography, scenic design, lighting design, costume design, and student orchestra.
Hello, Dolly! won four Tony Awards in 2017, including one for Best Revival of a Musical and one for original star Bette Midler, and is currently running on Broadway with Bernadette Peters as Dolly.