Lovely, Lovely, Lovely Interview with Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin in the Times

November 13, 2011

An interview with the stars who are about to open their revue on Broadway: 

Q. But you’re both such big personalities. Is it a challenge to share a stage together?

LUPONE There’s no challenge at all. I think insecure big personalities can’t share a stage. [Laughs]

Patti LuPone… Oh the Irony

November 22, 2010

Since the nice people at Signature Theater have put me in a Sunset Blvd place I had to post the clip above.  It’s Patti LuPone singing the big song from Sunset Blvd when she was doing the first workshop of the show at Lord Lloyd Webber’s private theater on his estate at Sydmonton.  Meryl Streep is in the audience checking out the show.  Watch Patti fight for her theatrical life in a ridiculously high key.  And also appreciate the irony of watching the first public performance of “As If We Never Said Goodbye” in the context of the show by the first performer who was famously fired from the production.

Don’t cry for her…

September 29, 2010

Patti LuPone: A MemoirWhen I got Patti LuPone’s new memoirs, I couldn’t put my Kindle down.  The book is dishy, fast-paced, and incredibly insightful.  It’s probably the most candid memoir I’ve read since since Beverly Sills’s — I would love to have read the draft before the lawyers got to it. 

However, LuPone is clearly committed to her art.  It’s terrific to get her insights on the acting process, the theatrical process and communicating to an audience.  Just watch out if you’re Andrew, Lord Lloyd Webber or Bill Smitrovich!

Patti LuPone on Sondheim

March 12, 2010

Patti LuPoneInterview with La LuPone in the Diva Talk column: “Well, each aspect of Steve’s writing is equally as difficult — the lyrics are complicated and the melodies are intricate … And, as I’ve always said, learning the music becomes infinitely easier when there’s a marriage between the lyrics and the music, and that is always the case with Steve. So, it’s easier to learn his music than it is other people’s music. That does not mean it’s easy. I’ve never, and I’ve said this ad nauseam, sung ‘God, That’s Good’ correctly. There’s a section that [Mrs. Lovett] sings with Sweeney — each of the three passages is different and the notes are very close together, and I’ve never gotten it right!””

As a reminder, LuPone will be performing at the Strathmore gala, April 24th.

What makes a performance vocally thrilling?

April 28, 2009

Set Rudetsky will tell you. (And tell you, and tell you….)

Rudetsky is a noted music director and appreciator of Broadway song.  He was also part of the ensemble cast of the Broadway revival of The Ritz and writes a weekly column for    Of late, he has become  known for entertainingly “deconstructing” performances, especially concentrating on issues of tone, vibrator, and placement.  Both his Web site and YouTube have a plethora of clips of him discoursing on a variety of singers.

Here’s a typical session, discoursing on the great Patti LuPone:

His passion and plethora of words occasionally makes it feel like you’ve been cornered by your ADHD show-queen nephew after Thanksgiving dinner.  But the good news is that, unlike your nephew, you can pause or exit when you’ve had enough.

Patti LuPone at Les Mouches Interview

November 17, 2008

Here’s a great interview with Patti LuPone and David Lewis on the site about the release of the Live at Les Mouches CD.  Not only does it play excerpts from the new, phenomenal CD, but there are also home-movie clips of LuPone in action.

One of the all-time greats????

November 10, 2008

Patti Lupone at Les Mouches

Wow!  What an amazing CD!  Given that this could certainly enter the Hall of Fame for Live Cabaret Recordings*, it’s amazing that this recording took 28 years to be released.

Now that I have that out of the way…

While singing Evita 6 times a week (Terri Klausner did the matinees**), Patti LuPone also did 28 weeks of a midnight show at the nightclub Les Mouches.  This CD presents a you-are-there audio ticket to the show.

It’s amazing to hear LuPone with a much younger, suppler voice.  Also, it’s fascinating to hear the song selection,a nd the 70’s feel of the orchestrations.  And the energy of the evening, both in LuPone’s performance and the communion she establishes with the audience are palpable.

And one of the things that most fascinates me about this CD, is that there is a lot that one can quibble with.  LuPone screams shrilly a lot; the melody of Downtown is practically unrecognizable; and certain selections in her act are head-scratchers.

But for me, none of that dims the amazing force that that pops out of the speakers when this CD is on!

Special credi should go to Joel Moss, credit as “producer” of the CD, but who should really be called an audio archeologist.  Moss took a shoebox full of 20 year old casettes that had been made of various shows, digitized them, and then cobbled them together to create an audio experience that feels like a seamless evening.

Here are the tracks:

1. Intro
2. Latin from Manhattan / I Got Rhythm
3. I’ve Got Them Feelin’ Too Good Today Blues
4. Love for Sale
5. Not While I’m Around / Come Rain or Come Shine
6. Meadowlark
7. Squeeze Me
8. Heaven Is a Disco
9. Downtown
10. Street Of Dreams
11. Because the Night
12. Mr. Tambourine man
13. Everything I Am
14. Rainbow High
15. Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina
16. Look to the Rainbow
17. Superman (I Wish I Could Fly)
18. It Goes Like It Goes
19. Thank Yous
20. Goodnight Sweetheart

*Emily Everson and I are indeed working to put together a Hall of Fame for Live Cabaret Recordings.  Stay tuned.

**I know Terri Klausner did the matinees because that’s who I saw when I first saw the show — on the first preview Saturday matinee it played Broadway.  Because, of course, there was no publicity that LuPone wasn’t doing them, especially in advance of the opening of the show (when I bought my ticket).  So while part of me listens to this CD with enormous admiration and awe that LuPone was able to do these performances 90ish minutes after the Evita curtain, another part of me is really vexed that someone who didn’t do the matinees of her show had this regular side gig.  BTW, I did get to see LuPone in the role about nine months into the run.

Special Delivery

November 3, 2008

Patti Lupone at Les Mouches

I’ve been listening to and thrilled by an advance copy of one of the most-anticipated (though 28 year old) cabaret recordings of the fall.

In 1980 while performing Evita on Broadway, Patti LuPone did a late-night cabaret act at the club Les Mouches that ran for 27 weeks.  A house recording was restored and re-mastered (and is amazing).

I’ll run a post on the CD later, but I wanted to let you know that I received an advanced copy.  I wish I could tell you that I received it because of the influence that this blog now has in the cabaret world.  But that’s not the case.

I got the CD early (official release date is November 11th) because I was ordering other titles from Ghostlight Records, and they included it with the order.  (And BTW, my devoted readers can also look forward to reviews of the CDs of 13, White Christmas, and Klea Blackhurst & Billy Stritch’s Dreaming of a Song.

So, for those of you who are having trouble waiting for this CD, here’s your chance.

Gypsy with Patti LuPone

September 7, 2008

Gypsy - 2008 Original Broadway Cast

OK, who really needs another recording of Gypsy? I mean I have the Ethel Merman, Angela Lansbury, Tyne Daly, Bette Midler, and Bernadette Peters recordings.  And the movie on DVD.

Well, turns out that I need this disc for two major reasons.  The performances on this are amazingly nuanced and there are line readings not just from LuPone but the cast as a whole that cast whole new light on the material. 

Moreover the CD features never-recorded songs that had been cut from the original production.  So that means it’s a treasure trove for the Sondheim completist.  For example, I thought that the only Sondheim lyric to mention Christmas was the re-write of I Remember for Streisand.  However, this CD features Three Wishes for Christmas.  And anyone who knows of Sondheim’s tempestuous relationship with his own mother will certainly chuckle at the lyric from Mother’s Day — “… and by this time next year, she may not be here.”

Gypsy Preview

June 24, 2008

My dear friend Jim just sent me a preview CD of Patti LuPone’s Gypsy (it’s available at the St. James Theater for those people who pre-order the full CD, scheduled for an August release).

All I have to say is Wow!  I can’t wait for the full release!!!