Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Congratulations, Patti LuPone!

OK, a bit off the "mondo" track but...I recently returned from a trip to New York City where I was lucky enough to see Patti LuPone in the revival of Gypsy (1959) at the St. James Theater. This classic musical, with score by Jules Styne and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, has been handsomely mounted by script writer Arthur Laurents, and was one of the most powerful and affecting shows I have ever seen. The entire cast was excellent, but all eyes were on Hurricane LuPone, who portrayed Mama Rose with more ferocity and vulnerability than any other actress I can think of. She also sang the role with more musicality and power than anyone, Merman included. This is one of the most difficult and multi-faceted roles in all of theatre, and she nailed every nuance and tore the roof off the theater with her pipes of burnished brass.

LuPone won a well-deserved Tony award on Sunday night, three decades after winning for Evita. Brava! Sondheim also took home a special Lifetime Achievement award. And let's not forget Boyd Gaines as Herbie and Laura Benanti as Louise (the future Gypsy), both of whom also took home Tonys for Featured Actor and Actress in a Musical. All three are featured in this clip from the Tony Awards, performing the famous Act 1 closer "Everything's Coming Up Roses." Sing out, Patti!

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