If you do not know who Patti LuPone is, it is quite possible that you have been living on a different planet for the past 30 years. Broadway and West End star LuPone originated some of the greatest roles that musical theatre has to offer, including Eva Peron in Evita and Fantine in the original London cast of Les Miserables.
LuPone’s piano player and Broadway journalist Seth Rudetsky takes the stage first, warming up the crowd with his great videos of Tonys and Variety performances from the past. He rips into everyone, from Andrew Rannells in Book Of Mormon to Patti LuPone herself. But his stories are much funnier because he has actually talked to the stars about their onstage goofs. Rudetsky’s videos make the crowd roar with laughter, and it is a great warm up for the night of Broadway classics ahead.
It is a different set up than the typical West End show, it is feels more like a night out with Patti. She takes the stage, sipping water out of a wine glass, and she tells the audience about her stories from her incredible career. She takes about everything, from her “camera rant” in Gypsy when an audience member had a rapid flash camera and started taking pictures, to how she got the role in Evita. The greatest thing about LuPone is that she does not hold back, either, she lets everybody know that she did not originally want the role as Eva Peron and she is still convinced that Andrew Lloyd Webber hates women because of it.
But of course, it is the music that everybody has come for. There is no fancy set up for this show, just a piano and a vase full of flowers on top to make it look pretty. But LuPone shows that she does not need that fancy set up, all she needs is her voice. Rudetsky puts her on the spot many times, asking to perform songs that she has not seen the lyrics for since she first performed them, but she takes the challenge on like a trooper, and knocks it so far out of the ball park she hits a satellite up in space. You usually find that Broadway legends tend to have a bit of a wear on their voices after years of performing, but not LuPone! She can still all of her songs in the original key (even if she does protest to Rudetsky not to, but all he says is higher!) and it is absolutely flawless.
The highlight of the show was the Les Miserables segment of the show. Patti grabs an audience member from the crowd to sing Valjean’s part in Les Miserables‘s ‘Come To Me’, and the audience member gets into it, closing Patti’s eyes in a Jean Valjean-esque manner, earning the most laughs of the show. However, all the laughs are stopped when the opening keys for ‘I Dreamed A Dream’ start. The house comes to a complete stand still: fanboys are crying, hearts skipped a beat, and even LuPone started to cry when she sang the famous “Life has killed the dream I dreamed” line. Never have I seen a crowd go so wild in my life.
Patti LuPone’s show is an absolute must-see for any lover of musical theatre or just great music in general. With a different set list every night, the fans will be getting a true one-of-a-kind experience with LuPone. We do not need to tell you how great it is, you have to go down to see it yourself because there are just no words to describe this amazing experience.
Patti Lupone is playing at Leicester Square Theatre until 23 June 2013. For more information and tickets, see The Leicester Square Theatre website.