InDepth InterView Exclusive: Patti LuPone Talks FAR AWAY PLACES, 54 Below, PARKER, Broadway, Hollywood & More
Once in a generation, if we are lucky, an extraordinary talent like no other arises - one who can ceaselessly, effortlessly caress the loftiest heights of comedy and drama onstage (and sometimes onscreen), while, simultaneously, imbuing musical theatre roles with the same skill set, plus a powerhouse, quintessentially unique and resplendent vocal instrument; and, of course, that indescribable "It" factor, too - such is the tale of Broadway's grand dame, Patti LuPone. Ms. LuPone is a part of that great pantheon of leading ladies of lore led by Ethel Merman, Mary Martin, Angela Lansbury, Liza Minnelli, Elaine Stritch and Bernadette Peters - that is, musical theatre royalty. Taking a look back at many moments in her long and varied career thus far, LuPone candidly opines about a vast array of topics and opens up about many of the remarkable figures who have played roles in her astounding time spent on Broadway, in Hollywood and on TV - among them: Stephen Sondheim, Hal Prince, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Marc Shaiman & Scott Wittman, Steven Spielberg, David Mamet, Ryan Murphy and many more. Most importantly, LuPone discusses various aspects of her ever-expanding new solo show upon which her sensational live album, FAR AWAY PLACES, is based - the songs, the stories, the themes, the collaborators and her future plans for the piece (such as her series of 54 Below shows coming up in February). Additionally, LuPone addresses appearing on GLEE, reflects on working with Jennifer Lopez and Jason Statham on PARKER, shares her thoughts on her favorite films of the year, expounds upon what roles she would like to pursue and teases about her concert with David Yazbek and the debut of her new Carnegie Hall concert as well as a return to London where she made her mark with her Olivier-winning original Fantine in LES MISERABLES - all of that and much, much more! PC: MATTERS OF THE HEART was your distinctive solo show of the 1990s, followed up with COULDA, WOULDA, SHOULDA, and, now, FAR AWAY PLACES seems to be a new show in that same unique vein. How would you compare working with Scott Wittman on each? PC: And what a place to start! PC: Have you ever sung any Laura Nyro material in concert? PC: Speaking of technology and the modern age: how do you view audience's use of smartphones during a show in a cabaret setting versus a theatre setting? PC: In BROADWAY: THE GOLDEN AGE you talk about how an unamplified production causes the audience to sit forward and pay much closer attention and how powerful that can be. PC: It's so daring and it predicted so much to come. PC: Ryan Murphy seems to be having some social impact with his TV shows. PC: Even the great typhoon that MAHAGONNY centers upon. Is it really coming to take us all soon? PC: The patter in the show is absolutely hilarious. You've worked with Jeffrey Richman before on your material, correct? PC: Pioneers always feel that way! PC: It's a lost art, apparently. PC: In what way? PC: And original Adam Guettel music, right? PC: Speaking of roles you yearn to play: what about Desiree in A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC? You've done it before once or twice, but never in New York. PC: Apparently the producing costs were too high as well as the star salaries - Andrew Lloyd Webber's company had initial fees, as well, which made it more expensive. PC: Have you considered singing "Because The Night" again? Your LES MOUCHES recording of that is spine-tingling. PC: Speaking of the great artists of classic rock: what are your thoughts on Stevie Nicks? It would be a thrill to hear you take on some of her material. PC: It is an unforgettable moment. PC: Too dark? Too under-sung? PC: It is my personal favorite Spike Lee film, actually. PC: And that is so elemental to the process for an actor. PC: It is. Bobby Cannavale appears in the film as well. I've heard you are a particular fan of his. Are you? PC: Will you be doing any WOMEN ON THE VERGE material? PC: ANYONE CAN WHISTLE is the role us Sondheim fans are dying for you to essay. Would you consider taking it on again? PL: Me, too. PC: And, boy, do you! Do you ever get tripped up on the lyrics? It's tricky.
Patti LuPone's FAR AWAY PLACES is available now. More information is available here.
Even more information on Patti LuPone is available at her official website here.
PL: Well, how do I say this? I am in musical theatre, but it isn't necessarily what I listen to in my leisure time, do you know what I mean?
PC: You have other musical interests.
PL: I do. I've always tended to listen to other music - I mean, I listen to musicals as well, but I love the songwriters from my youth; which were Randy Newman and Harry Nilsson and Joni Mitchell and Laura Nyro and Carole King. I used to sing that stuff as a kid. So, it was time for a new show, and the last show that Scott and I worked on and that gets booked consistently is the one I've been doing at 54 Below that's called COULDA, WOULDA, SHOULDA... PLAYED THAT PART - it's all the roles that you wouldn't necessarily associate with me that I haven't played and some that I actually have. But, it was time for a new show and I just totally love Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht - I love their music and I love Weimar Germany and the Parisian cabaret songs of Weill. So, that's where we started.
PL: Right?! We came up with the concept of it addressing my travel bug and that opened up an enormous selection of songs. We are actually starting work on the second act of it now, because I have a Carnegie Hall concert on November 7 and most of the performing arts centers around the country want two acts, too. You know, the one that we did at 54 Below will change, presumably, once we start doing the second act. We have already worked on a couple of things that relate to the war - World War II.
PC: A rich song catalog there, as well.
PL: It is. It is. We'll see! We'll see what happens.
PC: A thrilling continuation of what we have seen so far with FAR AWAY PLACES.
PL: Yeah, I think it will be. And, it opens up so many things! Actually, I was looking through my CDs last night - up in my house in the country, and it was snowing - and I wanted to play something and I found my copy of NILSSON SINGS NEWMAN and there is this great song on there called "Dayton, Ohio 1903" which certainly applies to FAR AWAY PLACES! [Laughs.]
PC: Indeed it does. The theme of the show gives you a lot of leeway.
PL: It does. And, so, then there's another Newman song I want to do in it and there is a Leonard Cohen song in it, too. It opened us up to so much more material.
PL: Oh, no. I haven't. [Pause. Sighs.] I would really love to, though. She was extraordinary. When I was a kid, ELI'S COMIN'... are you kidding me?! [Laughs.]
PC: I'd love to hear you sing that someday.
PL: [Sings.] "Eli's Comin' / Hide your heart, girl!" Ha! Oh, my God! I would be screaming that in my apartment in New York City! Screaming. Ugh, she was so amazing - totally amazing.
PC: Her albums were so ahead of their time.
PL: Right - you got it right; the album!
PC: Always the album.
PC: She created such amazing sonic experiences.
PL: She really did.
PC: It's so weird that few are aware of her contributions to music these days.
PL: It's not weird - it's the way we live now, you know? History is just not honored at all - if that's even the right word.
PL: It's different. I think cabaret is a different environment. When you are onstage and you are trying to create an atmosphere for an audience to be enveloped in - an environment that can be so easily disrupted and destroyed by a lack of respect for the other audience members - there is nothing more exciting than a deafening silence of an audience listening.
PC: A shared focus.
PL: It's communal. It's like individually, but also communally experiencing something - a play or a musical - and the entire audience is transported, but any little thing can disrupt that. It's a fragile environment and it deserves respect.
PL: Oh, my God, though, there's that hilarious Bea Lillie bit - a friend of mine, Paul Ford, gave me a DVD that I never watched until I did one night and all it said was "The Best DVD Ever" and I put it on and he had compiled filmed musical numbers and put them all together and there is this brilliant Bea Lillie one with Laurence Olivier doing HAMLET, but it's not really him as Hamlet - it's this character actor playing Hamlet - and this audience member comes in played by Bea Lillie and she keeps talking and talking and making noise and doing everything but watching the play! [Laughs.] It's so brilliant - so, so brilliant. And this was done a million years ago - had to be the early 1950s.
PL: Right. Right. It is! Absolutely. That's what it's supposed to be - in a perfect world at least. I think there's a lot of issues with sound, too, these days - the mixers and the engineers and producers and designers are just blasting everyone out of their seats.
PC: What are your thoughts on the prevalence of autotune in so much popular music these days?
PL: I don't know. I don't even really know what it is. I suppose these people expose themselves when they sing live, though, right? Do these people even sing live when you go to see them?
PC: They sing to a playback track in a lot of cases.
PL: It's bullsh*t. It's all bullsh*t.
PC: Britney Spears and Madonna and many others do whole concerts lip-synched or at least with very pronounced back-up tracks.
PL: It's all just bullsh*t. All of it.
PC: Pop to opera, MAHAGONNY is one of my favorite operas and I was curious...
PL: Wait! Why is it one of your favorites? That's interesting.
PL: I suppose you're right. Don't you feel like it is too long, though?
PC: There is some fat, for sure.
PL: It's too long - and you can't cut any Weill music. None. So, the thing with MAHAGONNY is, once Jimmy finishes his gorgeous, gorgeous aria, they should just, you know, get on with it!
PC: It has a little too much falling action.
PL: It goes on for twenty minutes! The crane duet is so spectacular, but no one can ever find the right place for it. They kept moving it around in the LA production we did trying to see where we could get it to fit.
PC: It kills the momentum.
PL: It can. And, you know, if Weill were around today, he would say, "Cut! Edit it!" But, I think it was still so spectacular when we did it, but we got bogged down because we had to use all of the music.
PC: Does Brecht's estate require all the text be used, I wonder?
PL: I don't know, but I'd like to know, as well.
PC: How do you think Brecht would perceive the post-irony age we are in right now? Everything is self-aware, isn't it?
PL: Oh, God, don't you think he'd be having a ball?! [Laughs.] The two of them working together now... [Pause.] wow, it would just be nuts! Do we have anybody working like that now?
PL: That's interesting.
PC: What were your own experiences working with him on GLEE?
PL: You know, I think Ryan is really political on THE NEW NORMAL. I don't know if he is as political on GLEE and if he is political on AMERICAN HORROR STORY. I think that, probably, THE NEW NORMAL is his most political show - now, I am talking about in the sense of the anger and frustration that is out there and holding a mirror to the hypocrisy of society, which I think he does brilliantly. And, don't you think that is Brecht & Weill?
PC: Undoubtedly. They predicted so much of what we are experiencing.
PL: Exactly! Exactly. They did.
PL: [Pause.] Isn't it?
PC: "Ah, The Sea Is Blue"... and getting bigger.
PL: The sea is getting bigger - because of all the melting. Oh, God...
PC: Another Weill tune. Why did you decide to include that?
PL: Oh, I love it. It's the tango from HAPPY END, of course. I never thought of that connotation, though.
PC: HAPPY END, which starred Meryl Streep on Broadway once upon a time. Was she there the night this album was recorded? Your reference to her in the show is so amusing.
PL: She was there, but I don't know if she was actually there the night we recorded it. I think her daughter came to see the show first and then she told her she had to come see it because of the line. [Big Laugh.] That line is in it whether Meryl is in the audience or not!
PL: Oh, Jeffrey?! Of course! Jeffrey is my best friend in the whole world. I love Jeffrey. Scott, Jeff and I have worked together so much - first, it was John McDaniel and me in LA, then it was Dick Gallagher. But, Jeffrey and I have been writing together for years - if I had to do a speech or something or whatever it was. Jeffrey introduced me to Scott.
PC: Is that how you met Marc Shaiman, then; through Scott?
PL: No. Jeffrey took me to a housewarming party in Los Angeles and it was when Marc and Scott had first moved out to LA. So, I met Scott and Marc together, that day. When I left, I happened to just say to Jeffrey, "Oh, I need a new act. We need to get someone to work with on a new act for me." And Jeffrey didn't know at first, but, then, he said, "Hmm. Maybe Scott can do it?" So, that's when Scott and I started working together - it was in my final year of LIFE GOES ON; so, 1993.
PC: A twenty year partnership! It seems like you came into your own as a concert performer during that period as your own unique artist. Did you feel that way at the time?
PL: Not really, honestly - I always feel like the odd man out! [Laughs.]
PL: I always do! I always feel like I'm odd man out.
PC: It worked for Lincoln. Have you seen that film yet? Tony Kushner's script is exceptional.
PL: Oh, no, I haven't even seen LINCOLN yet. I didn't know Tony Kushner wrote it, though - I have to see it now. I have the copy they sent me, though, so I will have to watch it. I think I'll watch it tonight.
PC: As an Italian, what are your thoughts on SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK?
PL: Oh, I loved it! I just loved SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK. I thought it was fantastic. I thought it was extremely well-acted and extremely well-written and I really thought the story was so unique. To me, that's the one - I mean, ARGO was great and I loved ARGO, but, to me, that's the one. I haven't seen LIFE OF PI or LES MIZ yet, but I love to see the little ones sneak in and win the big prize.
PC: Why so?
PL: Well, we need writers and we need stories. We don't need to retread.
PC: What are your feelings about the ubiquity of movie-to-musical stage adaptations - WOMEN ON THE VERGE included?
PL: Well, you know, I know there are writers out there who are desperate to get their work on and they do what they have to do. The thing that I just discovered, much to my utter horror - and I don't know where I've been - is that Wall Street has completely taken over Broadway, so we don't have any - maybe very few, if any; one or two - showmen left - showmen and showomen; people who love the theatre and know how to produce it.
PC: Money talks...
PL: We are just so much stock chips to these children - these rich kids that have showed up on Broadway - and I don't know if they want a tax loss or a Broadway credit or what! I don't know what they are doing, but they don't know how to produce. And, then, they close them down because they don't know how to keep a show running!
PL: Apparently! They don't know how to outwit a bad review. They just don't know what they are doing and it's just... [Sighs.] You know, I said this to a friend of mine recently who is a film producer and they said, "Well, Patti, this has been happening in Hollywood for years," and, I said, "Really? Where was I?" I feel like my head is in a cloud - really. I do.
PC: It's a new era.
PL: It is. You know, I did work for Lincoln Center Theater on WOMEN ON THE VERGE - the last musical that I did on Broadway - and that is a non-profit theater, so I didn't experience it there. I don't know when that shift occurred - I don't know when that happened on Broadway. I don't understand what's wrong with my side of the stage, either - the designers and the creators and the directors and the actors; why did we give up the power to these people who don't know what they are doing? Obviously, it was one producer who said, "Give me money and you can have a voice, too," but it's become that way with everything. I mean, we just had an experience on THE ANARCHIST that was just absolutely mind-blowing to me!
PL: Well, I mean, the guy who put up the most money thought that he had a creative opinion! It was just shocking to me. I wanted to say to him, "Did you study? Do you have any history in this business? Do you know the history of theatre such that you dare to give notes to David Mamet?"
PC: David Mamet, no less - a Pulitzer Prize winner.
PL: It's shocking to me! Shocking that they had this presumption. [Pause.] And, what about the shows that get scooted out? I guess they all go back to their penthouses and drink their martinis and are fine with putting another building out of work. [Pause.] I am appalled and disappointed and really heartbroken about the condition of Broadway.
PC: You actually did a TV pilot about Broadway today that HBO never aired - THE MIRACULOUS YEAR.
PL: Oh, yeah, man - I am bummed about that.
PC: John Logan told me about it when he did this column. What did you think of the project?
PL: Well, nobody's seen it! I mean, how can you turn down that cred, though - John Logan and Kathryn Bigelow? How could you possibly, possibly say no to that? But, they did.
PC: Starring you and Norbert Leo Butz and Frank Langella...
PL: And Hope Davis!
PL: Yes! Adam, too. [Sighs.] Ugh, it's just outrageous! Outrageous. I don't know. I don't know what HBO was thinking - I think they have probably the hippest vision on television and I know little about all of that anyway. As Alec Baldwin said, "I never worry about my paycheck at NBC." Who you really worry about are these mavericks that show up on Broadway and say, "It's my way or the highway... but I don't know what I'm doing!" [Big Laugh.]
PC: Willful ignorance, almost. As William Goldman once wrote, "In Hollywood, nobody knows anything."
PL: And that's true! That's OK, and, you know what? That would be great if someone was really coming from that place because you are open to a creative process.
PC: On the topic of HBO, you auditioned for the role of Janice on THE SOPRANOS did you not?
PL: I did. I did. Oh, God. I was devastated. I remember that when I didn't get it I came home to Connecticut that night, sat on the porch swing and cried my eyes out.
PC: It was a particularly painful loss for you?
PL: I'm Italian, are you kidding me?! What the hell! But, so was Aida [Turturro]
PL: I did it at Ravinia. I would love to do it again.
PC: You'd be interested in headlining a new production?
PL: Of course! I love that show. I actually saw the original production and I did not like what I saw on Broadway in the revival - I didn't know what the hell I was watching; it was so dark and dreary.
PC: It wasn't as lavish as the original, that's for sure.
PL: And that can even be OK if it wasn't so drab... I don't know. I can still see the vivid blue in the original - Hal [Prince] was in his heyday when he did that and SWEENEY TODD.
PC: And EVITA.
PL: Yeah! Yeah. I mean... he really was.
PC: What are your thoughts on the revival of EVITA closing at a loss after nearly a year-long run?
PL: How can that be?
PL: Yeah - something these days is really screwy. Apparently they have done away with how the royalty pool that used to be done - the creative staff used to even make money. Something is wrong there - unless Andrew Lloyd Webber, which I would not be surprised at, was, as usual, being incredibly greedy.
PC: The SUNSET BLVD chapter in your book is so depictive of the sheer chaos of show business, no matter the level of stardom. It's like Waterloo!
PL: Waterloo! You're right. You're so right.
PC: Since "September Song" recently appeared on SMASH, I was curious if Scott had requested its inclusion because of that, perhaps.
PL: Oh, I've been singing "September Song" for years - of course I have, it's a Weill song! [Laughs.]
PC: Did you consider "Send In The Clowns" for this album?
PL: I do it in my live show of COULDA, WOULDA, SHOULDA, but I didn't do it for this album. That show has more Sondheim.
PL: Oh, wouldn't that be cool? Oh, I love that idea. That's for my rock show, though!
PC: What's the song list for that going to be? Can we get a preview?
PL: Well, we've done a list for PATTI ROCKS THE 60S - the crew that I travel with and I all sat around the bus and made a list of what songs I should sing for it already. First, though, I have to do "The Boys Are Back In Town" on a gay cruise! [Laughs.] I just have to!
PC: A surefire hit!
PL: I have a bunch of songs that I want to do for that show.
PC: You have to appear on Jimmy Fallon to do "Nights On Broadway" to promote FAR AWAY PLACES! Do you know about The Bee Gees parody he and Justin Timberlake famously do?
PL: Oh, that's so funny! I love Jimmy, so I have to! [Laughs.]
PL: Oh, I love Stevie Nicks! I think that Stevie Nicks is one of the greats. Steve Nicks and Grace Slick and Janis Joplin have the real rock voices, to me. Yeah - she had and she still does have one of the great rock voices.
PC: When Stephen Sondheim did this column, we discussed SONDHEIM! The Birthday Concert and he cited your two turns as two of his favorites of the night; the Ladies In Red "Ladies Who Lunch" and SWEENEY TODD segments.
PL: Oh, he did?! [Big Laugh.] That was a lot of fun to do - a lot of fun. It was Lonny [Price]'s idea to have the three of us do it like that [with Michael Cerveris and George Hearn].
PC: Was the Ladies In Red sequence particularly memorable for you, being onstage with your peers in honor of Sondheim like that?
PL: It was. Of course it was. Of course. Actually, in talking about that DVD Paul made for me, Elaine does something on it from THE Ed Sullivan SHOW from back in the 50s - "You Took Advantage Of Me" - and when I was watching it with my husband I said, "She's wearing a hat! She's always wearing a hat!" There she is on TV, back in the 50s, and she's wearing a hat on her head! So, it was my idea to do it, and, I said to Lonny, "So, where will Elaine be sitting?" And, he said, "To your left," and, I said, "Perfect!" [Big Laughs.] And so that's what we did.
PL: Nobody does still wear a hat but Elaine! It's true!
PC: When she hugs you at the end, it is like the great Broadway diva baton being passed - really remarkable.
PL: It is. It was just the best - the best. Elaine is the best.
PC: Neil Patrick Harris was overflowing with praise and adoration for you when he did this column about COMPANY - he adores you. Rightly so.
PL: Oh, Neil is special to me. I love Neil.
PC: Would you like to re-team with him again someday soon?
PL: Oh, Neil?! Of course! Are you kidding?! You know, I first worked with him when we did SWEENEY TODD and he played Tobias and I was Mrs. Lovett - that was the first time we were onstage together and it was absolutely wonderful. So, of course I would work with him again - I'd love to.
PC: Having made your mark with three separate productions of SWEENEY TODD, I am curious about your opinion of Tim Burton's recent film adaptation?
PL: Oh, well, I didn't like it.
PL: I just missed Steve's music - and I told Steve that and he got mad at me and sent me a nasty letter!
PC: Oh, no!
PL: I guess I'm just a traditionalist - I don't think you can mess around with that stuff; I don't think you can improve upon perfection. And, that score is perfect. So, I don't want to hear someone transpose the music like that - I mean, the only time I was happy was when I heard the London Symphony Orchestra play the overture! I was like, "OK. This is the grand guignol of what Steve wrote." I don't know, maybe "under-sung" is the right word - or "misconceived."
PC: It's a whole other thing, in any event. Have you seen LES MIZ?
PL: You know, I haven't seen LES MIZ, but I just don't know if they know how to make movie musicals anymore!
PC: It's not perfectly sung, I can tell you that - but, it's powerful and very emotional.
PL: Well, it's not even that, really - I'm not talking purely about the singing of it; if it's in your heart, you don't have to be a great singer to put your heart and soul into it - but, what I am saying is that they don't know how to shoot them anymore. You know, so you see people's legs when they are dancing! I just don't think they know how to shoot them anymore at all; I don't.
PC: MTV and then CHICAGO aping that fast editing style with so much success has influenced them in a significant way.
PL: Ugh. CHICAGO made me nauseous watching it because of that.
PC: In speaking of film, I was curious if you would comment on some of the tremendous directors you have worked with: first up, SUMMER OF SAM with Spike Lee?
PL: SUMMER OF SAM is wild. Isn't it great?
PL: Yeah, I had a great time working on that and I loved working with Spike, though it was my only time working with Spike. Adrien [Brody] was a doll, too. Yeah - we had a great time.
PC: WISE GUYS is your only film with Brian De Palma, unfortunately - though that one is a lot of fun, too.
PL: Right! De Palma - I only worked with him once, as well! It seems like I only work with these directors once and then I am off their list.
PC: Spielberg with 1941, too!
PL: I know! I know! Spielberg, too! You know, it's like: if I work with these directors once, I am off their list! What's that about?! [Laughs.]
PC: You briefly worked with Sidney Lumet on STRIP SEARCH, but you ended up getting cut out, I believe, correct?
PL: Yes. I worked with Sidney Lumet for a split-second - I didn't have the opportunity to get to work with him for very long, but he was wonderful. He reminded me of what it must have been like for the period where theatre directors became film directors - you know, they direct the scene, they don't just direct the camera. They are involved with the actors as much as they are with the cinematographer - and that was Sidney.
PL: Yeah, but the editor controls everything in film - everything.
PC: Your most recent film is with Taylor Hackford, PARKER. Did you enjoy your experience shooting that?
PL: Oh, I love Taylor. I begged Taylor to make me a contract player in all his movies! I really did love working with him so much because I feel like he has the same sensibilities - and I thought the film was really good. His work in it was really good. I mean, I don't know about all the action stuff or anything, but his actual direction of the actors was wonderful, I thought.
PC: Did his wife Helen Mirren stop by the set?
PL: No, no - we talked on the phone and we've seen each other at things over the years, though. She came and saw me in SWEENEY, too.
PC: What about working with Jason Statham and Jennifer Lopez?
PL: I have to say, Jason Statham is the nicest guy in the world! And, J Lo is the nicest lady - all of my scenes are with Jennifer, and, I can tell you, she is extremely professional and so kind. She was an absolute professional and that was so nice to see from a star like her.
PC: Do you think the era of singing competitions like AMERICAN IDOL is dying down? She recently left the show.
PL: It hope it is because I think it is so derivative, you know?
PL: Oh, I am. I love Bobby.
PC: You've said if you could play a male role in a currently running production you'd love to play his role in GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS.
PL: Oh, that's funny! Did I?! I would!
PC: I thought UNION SQUARE was a masterful film and your sequence so memorable and effective.
PL: Oh, thank you so much for that.
PC: How did you become involved with it?
PL: Well, I had worked with Nancy [Savoca] before. So, she asked me if I would do it - and I would do anything for Nancy; I think she is just a wonderful filmmaker - so, I did it.
PC: When did you shoot it?
PL: I think I was doing WOMEN ON THE VERGE at the time. I was just very happy to be under Nancy's direction again. I'm glad that I did it.
PC: Your appearance packs such a punch. Have you seen the finished film yet?
PL: No. I've never had an opportunity to see it. Yet.
PC: Screen to stage, you have a David Yazbek concert coming up.
PL: Yes, I do - and I am so excited about that! I love singing his stuff.
PL: Yes, I will. I will be doing "Island" and "Invisible".
PC: Your performance of "Invisible" is simply divine - always.
PL: Thank you. Yes, so, I will be doing that and "Island", which was Laura [Benanti]'s song, which is just fantastic. I am singing "All That Meat And No Potatoes" with David and a song David wrote that I absolutely love called "Sandman".
PC: It will be quite a night! Is he working on anything new?
PL: Yes, he is, but it is sort of on hiatus, I think. He told me what it was, but I have sort of forgotten.
PC: Your appearance in FAMILY GUY: LIVE! With Seth MacFarlane and Alex Borstein was so fabulous. Would you like to re-team with the FAMILY GUY crew in the future?
PL: Oh, yeah! I love Alex and Seth.
PC: Alex is so funny on BUNHEADS, too.
PL: I need to see BUNHEADS - I am a fan of Sutton [Foster]'s so I'll have to check it out.
PC: David Mamet has written you an original musical to do sometime in the future, as well, has he not?
PC: He did - well, he didn't write it for me, but he wanted me to play it a while ago; A WAITRESS IN YELLOWSTONE. I don't know, there's no music to it yet I don't think - it's the story of a waitress at a diner and a senator comes in one day and steals her tip and she goes on a wild goose chase trying to track him down - and, then, it turns into a sort-of fairytale. It's pretty interesting.
PL: Well, I did once and I have to say: the show doesn't work. The original doesn't work, at least, and now Arthur [Laurents] is dead. I don't know why it doesn't work, either - the music is great; but, at the end of the day, it doesn't work.
PC: Speaking of future roles, have you ever considered Hermione in THE WINTER'S TALE? Are you a fan of the play?
PL: Yes, I am a fan of it, but I've never considered it, really - well, actually, I've done it! It was our first show - our first play - at Juilliard in our very first year.
PC: Nothing like 18-year-olds trying to play mid-60s!
PL: [Big Laugh.] And not very well either!
PC: CAN-CAN is coming back, apparently. Is that on your radar?
PL: No! No one has called me about it yet! Who is doing it?
PC: There will be a workshop of a new production with the Burrows heirs involved late this year. I hope it works.
PC: Do you think it could work?
PL: I do. I really do. I think it could totally work. I guess my luck just stinks with Encores! outside of GYPSY because I thought they should have moved it when I did it [in 2004]. I thought they did a great job with the show and it was a wonderful cast.
PC: You have proven your mettle with Cole Porter before - your "Come To The Supermarket In Old Peking" is definitive. Is there any special reason you chose to include it on FAR AWAY PLACES?
PL: Well, I started singing "Come To The Supermarket" because I saw Loretta Devine sing it at Carnegie Hall in a show called GOTTA GET AWAY, arrangements by the late, great Michael Gibson, and I said on that night, "I gotta sing that!"
PL: Yeah, I do - but, we won't even discuss that, Pat! [Laughs.]
PC: What about Kander & Ebb's THE RINK sometime soon? You could kill with Chita's role.
PL: I know! I know. Laura [Benanti] and I were talking about that, actually - THE RINK. We'll see.
PC: While John Kander is still with us, please!
PL: Exactly! Exactly.
PC: Will there be more added to the documentary your son, Josh, is creating about you and posting on YouTube?
PL: Yes. He has the third one up now. He's still in school, you know, so he's busy with that, but I think he has three more to put up still. We will add more of them after that. They're fun, aren't they?
PC: A Patti LuPone fan's dream come true! As was this, today. Thank you so, so much, Patti.
PC: Oh, thank you very much for this today, Pat. You are so kind and so thoughtful. Bye bye.
Once in a generation, if we are lucky, an extraordinary talent like no other arises - one who can ceaselessly, effortlessly caress the loftiest heights of comedy and drama onstage (and sometimes onscreen), while, simultaneously, imbuing musical theatre roles with the same skill set, plus a powerhouse, quintessentially unique and resplendent vocal instrument; and, of course, that indescribable "It" factor, too - such is the tale of Broadway's grand dame, Patti LuPone. Ms. LuPone is a part of that great pantheon of leading ladies of lore led by Ethel Merman, Mary Martin, Angela Lansbury, Liza Minnelli, Elaine Stritch and Bernadette Peters - that is, musical theatre royalty. Taking a look back at many moments in her long and varied career thus far, LuPone candidly opines about a vast array of topics and opens up about many of the remarkable figures who have played roles in her astounding time spent on Broadway, in Hollywood and on TV - among them: Stephen Sondheim, Hal Prince, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Marc Shaiman & Scott Wittman, Steven Spielberg, David Mamet, Ryan Murphy and many more. Most importantly, LuPone discusses various aspects of her ever-expanding new solo show upon which her sensational live album, FAR AWAY PLACES, is based - the songs, the stories, the themes, the collaborators and her future plans for the piece (such as her series of 54 Below shows coming up in February). Additionally, LuPone addresses appearing on GLEE, reflects on working with Jennifer Lopez and Jason Statham on PARKER, shares her thoughts on her favorite films of the year, expounds upon what roles she would like to pursue and teases about her concert with David Yazbek and the debut of her new Carnegie Hall concert as well as a return to London where she made her mark with her Olivier-winning original Fantine in LES MISERABLES - all of that and much, much more!
PC: MATTERS OF THE HEART was your distinctive solo show of the 1990s, followed up with COULDA, WOULDA, SHOULDA, and, now, FAR AWAY PLACES seems to be a new show in that same unique vein. How would you compare working with Scott Wittman on each?
PC: And what a place to start!
PC: Have you ever sung any Laura Nyro material in concert?
PC: Speaking of technology and the modern age: how do you view audience's use of smartphones during a show in a cabaret setting versus a theatre setting?
PC: In BROADWAY: THE GOLDEN AGE you talk about how an unamplified production causes the audience to sit forward and pay much closer attention and how powerful that can be.
PC: It's so daring and it predicted so much to come.
PC: Ryan Murphy seems to be having some social impact with his TV shows.
PC: Even the great typhoon that MAHAGONNY centers upon. Is it really coming to take us all soon?
PC: The patter in the show is absolutely hilarious. You've worked with Jeffrey Richman before on your material, correct?
PC: Pioneers always feel that way!
PC: It's a lost art, apparently.
PC: In what way?
PC: And original Adam Guettel music, right?
PC: Speaking of roles you yearn to play: what about Desiree in A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC? You've done it before once or twice, but never in New York.
PC: Apparently the producing costs were too high as well as the star salaries - Andrew Lloyd Webber's company had initial fees, as well, which made it more expensive.
PC: Have you considered singing "Because The Night" again? Your LES MOUCHES recording of that is spine-tingling.
PC: Speaking of the great artists of classic rock: what are your thoughts on Stevie Nicks? It would be a thrill to hear you take on some of her material.
PC: It is an unforgettable moment.
PC: Too dark? Too under-sung?
PC: It is my personal favorite Spike Lee film, actually.
PC: And that is so elemental to the process for an actor.
PC: It is. Bobby Cannavale appears in the film as well. I've heard you are a particular fan of his. Are you?
PC: Will you be doing any WOMEN ON THE VERGE material?
PC: ANYONE CAN WHISTLE is the role us Sondheim fans are dying for you to essay. Would you consider taking it on again?
PL: Me, too.
PC: And, boy, do you! Do you ever get tripped up on the lyrics? It's tricky.