Jordan Roth, President of Jujamcyn Theaters, continued his popular conversation series, “Broadway Talks,” at 92nd Street Y on Sunday, February 6th with two-time Tony Award winning actress Patti LuPone one night before she was honored by The Drama League with a grand celebration at The Pierre.
Mr. Roth introduced the star by saying “Around these parts there is only one Patti,” referring to her as “a fearless artist and Broadway legend,” who has appeared on Broadway and the Westend of London, as well as in television and on film. She was the star of a long running TV series “Life Goes On,” and has been nominated for 5 Tony Awards and 6 Drama Desk Awards, winning twice and three times, respectively.
She only just completed a starring role in David Yazbek’s new Broadway musical WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN, based on Pedro Almodovar 1988 cult film, in which she turned in a truly inspirational performance. That show closed on January 23, but her recently released autobiography, aptly called Patti LuPone: A Memoir is fresh off the press. And in these parts folks are still talking about her Tony Award winning performance in the revival of GYPSY from the 2008/2009 Broadway season.
Patti with her characteristic candid style did not disappoint. She said “People think of me as strong, strident and filled with rage…” Referring to that she said “not exactly” meaning we are not born like that. There are situations she felt we have to overcome and possibly because of her Sicilian Italian heritage she learned to rise up instead of cower.
She also spoke about not really being difficult, but having standards and the poor management on EVITA. She felt she got a bad rap, because she asked for fans backstage, and how that has followed her so that people have come to think of her as difficult, which really isn’t the case. She just has to speak out against injustice when she feels compelled like with EVITA. Patti said she had to leave EVITA, “because I lost my sense of humor and laughter is essential to balance.”
Speaking about acting Patti said “David Mamet taught me the most about acting.” Further, she said “Acting is its own form of self analysis.” She said “I’m really a sacredy cat in life and I have permission on stage I don’t have in my own life. The stage gives you permission to do anything and be anything.”
Patti’s SWEENY TOOD director John Doyle, who conceived the brilliant production she played the Tuba in, was in the audience. When the time for questions from the audience came he surprised the star by asking his own question. If you were going to be marooned on a desert island what would you bring? The things she spoke about were very revealing because Patti wanted stuff she could continue to learn from. She wanted the recordings of Maria Callas, especially The La Divina, but she also mentioned Edith Piaf and the History of Theater.
Jordan and Patti at 92nd Street Y was an evening to remember, but for more in Patti’s own words buy her book, Patti LuPone: A Memoir. In these parts there is only one Patti.