© 2015 Adriaan Fuchs. All rights reserved.

Patti LuPone

“One of Broadway’s bona fide legends, Patti LuPone can turn in a dramatic performance that will leave your jaw agape, your emotions in turmoil and your devotion to her in full throttle.”

– Randy Shulman

Great Interpreters Goes Broadway! – Program 8: Patti LuPone
Broadcast on Fine Music Radio on 24 July 2015.

A trained actor (with a Juilliard pedigree), LuPone was catapulted to overnight stardom when she thrust her arms skyward in the original 1979 Broadway production of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s Evita. By her own account her experience of Evita was not enjoyable, and she had tremendous difficulty in mastering the vocal demands of the role. Even so, she managed to rip through the score like a hurricane unleashed (winning a Drama Desk Award, and her first Tony), and to this day, her portrayal of Eva Peron is generally considered to be definitive.

Following Evita, LuPone originated the role of Fantine in Les Misérables, and in the process become the first American to win a Laurence Olivier Award. She wowed audiences with her brassy pipes, tap-dancing sass, and deft comic skills in the role of Reno Sweeney in Cole Porter’s Anything Goes, and then originated the role of Norma Desmond in the original West End production of Sunset Boulevard. That experience, however, would lead to one of the greatest disappointments in LuPone’s career, when Andrew Lloyd Webber decided to cast Glenn Close, not LuPone, as Norma Desmond on Broadway, despite a signed contract that promised the role to LuPone.

She shed any preconceptions about the role of Mrs. Lovett in Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd with a refreshing interpretation in John Doyle’s 2005 Broadway production. And in 2008, won her second Tony for her indelible performance as Mama Rose in the Jule Styne-Stephen Sondheim-Arthur Laurents musical Gypsy.

There is perhaps no more a fitting word than “glorious” to describe LuPone’s trademark full-throttle singing style with its joyful blare and leering swoops. Part of the thrill of listening to her or seeing her perform is the obvious joy she takes in her own voice. She takes risks, she pushes her chest voice higher than most singers dare to go. She’s known for her incredible vocal stamina, for having what many have referred to as “vocal chords of steel.” “LuPone has a miracle of a voice”, noted People Magazine. “It can be as big and bold as a brass band or as plaintive as a solitary woodwind.” But, no matter whether she is belting out high E’s, F’s and G’s in Evita, or has the audience in the palm of her hand crooning a torch song in an intimate cabaret venue, LuPone’s style is, as Adam Feldman noted, “stamped with an implicit credo: all guts, all glory.”

In this, the final episode of Great Interpreters Goes Broadway!, Adriaan Fuchs profiles the career, the voice, the artistry of Patti LuPone.

Podcast Track List

1) “Latin From Manhattan/I’ve Got Rhythm”
Music and lyrics by Harry Warren and Al Dubin (“Latin From Manhattan”) and Cole Porter (“I’ve Got Rhythm”).

2) “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” from Gypsy
Music by Jule Styne and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.

3) “Meadowlark” from The Baker’s Wife
Music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz.

4) “Rainbow High” from Evita
Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice.

5) “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina” from Evita
Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice.

6) “I Dreamed A Dream” from Les Misérables
Music by Claude-Michel Schönberg, with an English-language libretto by Herbert Kretzmer.

7) “Blow, Gabriel Blow” from Anything Goes
Music and lyrics by Cole Porter.

8) “With One Look” from Sunset Boulevard
Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Don Black and Christopher Hampton.

9) “As If We Never Said Goodbye” from Sunset Boulevard
Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Don Black and Christopher Hampton.

10) “The Worst Pies in London” from Sweeney Todd
Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.

11) “Being Alive” from Company
Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.

12) “Rose’s Turn” from Gypsy
Music by Jule Styne, and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.

13) “Don’t Like Goodbyes” from House of Flowers
Music by Harold Arlen and lyrics by Truman Capote.

Videos

“Rainbow High” from Evita
Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice.

Patti Lupone winning her Tony Award for Evita (1980)

TV Commercial for Evita

Evita, Tony Awards (1980)

“Everything’s Coming Up Roses” from Gypsy, performed “live” at the 2008 Tony Awards.

“The Ladies Who Lunch” from Company

Patti LuPone: Born for the Stage

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