I had the pleasure of hearing Betty Buckley last night performing songs from her recent CD Ghostlight. Betty is well known for her success on Broadway in larger than life roles. I’ve seen her before singing songs from her roles on Broadway but last evening was a much different Betty Buckley. As one critic said Betty is about finding her own soul in the soul of the song. I love that. She has a lovely way of making the audience feel like they have been invited into her living room. The whole evening I felt as if she was putting her arms around me.
It seems to me that people think of Broadway performers as larger than life and so they are not capable or willing to pair down and find the beauty in the simplicity of the lyrics. But last night Betty, again in the words of the critic, was the opposite of a belter: she is instead an artist of restraint. She even mentioned that she was presenting a quieter evening than most people would have expected and even her encore of Memories, to which she won her Tony, seemed more subdued. It was just as powerful but more quiet.
Her musicians had the same gentle touch, especially Anthony Wilson, on the guitar. I have seen him perform elsewhere and it’s his choice of the notes he plays that I think is part of his brilliance. His soul, like Betty’s, speaks to you.
And that got me thinking about how I could bring some restraint into my life. There are times when I speak before I think and it would have been best to say nothing. Because in the act of really listening, the notes, which you may have missed, fills the void. I need to take the time to hear something that I otherwise would have missed had I belted out my words instead of being an artist of restraint.
In the whispers of the silence are the jewels of what life is really all about. It frees you to reflect, renew and dream.