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Sunday, February 22, 2009


Showtune Sunday: Patti LuPone in "Evita"

Yeah, I can't believe I'm posting a clip from an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, either. But this is undoubtedly his strongest work, and it's instructive, I think, in the early development of Patti LuPone's astonishing career. I doubt many of those who saw her find international fame as Eva Peron imagined that she's go on to put an indelible stamp, decades later, on iconic roles like Reno Sweeney, Mrs. Lovett and Mama Rose. But if you watch her here, you see the foundation of her remarkable skill and talent: a clear understanding of text, a fearlessness with expression, and a deep sense of her character's motivation. (And next to Gunton and Patinkin, who were also destined for big careers, it's an even bigger object lesson in submitting to the role.)
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Blogger Muscato said...

I've seen her as Evita and Reno, and both were revelations.

Her entrance at the top of the second act in Evita was one of the most purely theatrical things I've ever experienced; the combination of the stark setting, dramatic lighting, incredible costume, all superbly stage-managed by an actress in total control, was astonishing.

Anything Goes was as different as it could possibly be, but equally wonerful. She led "Blow, Gabriel, Blow" as it was meant to be, a mad worldly revival meeting, and she brought an incredible sensuality to her raucous takedown of the title number.

I've also never really understood all the carping about her diction; to me, she's simply distinctive, and too many theatregoers today seem to want a cookie cutter.

In any case, thanks for a nice memory!

2/22/09, 10:34 PM  

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