BWW Reviews: Broadway at NOCCA: An Evening with Seth Rudetsky and Patti LuPone
Last night was the first concert in a series that producer Mark Cortale, along with SiriusXM radio star Seth Rudetsky, is brining to the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts (NOCCA). The first guest of the series was Patti LuPone, known for her roles in EVITA, LES MISERABLES, ANYTHING GOES, SWEENY TODD, and GYPSY among others. The format for the performance was very laid back. Discussion between Rudetsky and LuPone was intermingled with singing some of their favorite show tunes.
The evening in the intimate Lupin Hall started off with LuPone's introduction, for which she received a standing ovation from a rather enthusiastic audience. Rudetsky explained that the performance was for the most part unplanned, and that those who had seen their first concert of the day would see an entirely different show for this second concert. They let their discussion lead them to the songs they would perform and vice-versa.
Rudetsky and LuPone talked about her first exposures to Broadway, which were MY FAIR LADY starring Julie Andrews and FUNNY GIRL starring Mimi Hines, and listening to the "Ed Sullivan Presents..." albums. Later, they discussed her vocal struggles during her time with EVITA and the angry letters she received from theatergoers when they realized she only performed in the show six times a week and they happened to attend one of the two in which she was not performing. For all of the LES MISERABLES fans in the audience, it was a treat to learn that part of "I Dreamed a Dream" which has the lovely crescendo as Fantine sings "...as they turn your dreams to shame..." is the way it is because of LuPone. She suggested that as the music goes up, her voice should also go up, and the song has stayed that way ever since.
In one of the funnier moments of the night, LuPone told her audience about a memory she has from one of her past visits to New Orleans. She and a few other cast mates broke into a Mardi Gras parade and marched for quite some time behind a high school band, learning their dances and "performing" along with them.
LuPone and Rudetsky also enlightened the audience on their opinions of theatre etiquette including bringing cameras into a performance, texting, and eating. LuPone challenged the audience to "leave it behind for two hours" in order to be fully present in the events unfolding on stage. How right she is! This performance was very special to experience, and something that the audience members are sure to never forget.
The song list for the evening included:
I Get a Kick Out of You
Don't Rain on My Parade
I Regret Everything
I Dreamed a Dream
As Long as He Needs Me
Everything's Coming Up Roses.