Don't mess with Patti Lupone

 

So don't bother bringing your cellphone to the theater

By Steve Rothaus

When Broadway legend Patti
LuPoneû opens the new Aventura Arts &
Cultural Centerû Saturday night, turn off
your cellphones and don't even think
about recording her performance.

îîHow dare you! Who do you think
you are? Get them out,'' LuPone shouted
from the stage Jan. 10, 2009, the night
before she closed her Tony-winning
run in Gypsy. The star got an ovation
for literally stopping the show during
her big closing number, Rose's Turn.

îîIt's a real epidemic in theater,''
LuPone says almost two years later.
îîThe more technologically advanced
we get, the more removed we are
from the theater. .‚.‚. Why bother
coming?''

Ironically, another theatergoer
recorded LuPone's stage tantrum and
posted the audioû on YouTube.

LuPone, 61, has spent her life on
stage, becoming famous in 1979 (and
winning her first Tony Award) as
Broadway's original Evita. She later
starred in London's original musical
production of Sunset Boulevard and
in Broadway revivals of Oliver!, Any
thing Goes, Sweeney Todd and Gypsy.
She's currently in previews for a new
Broadway musical, Women on the
Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, based
on the Spanish film by Pedro
AlmodÐvar, set to open Nov. 4.

îîI'm always ready to go back to
Broadway. That's where I belong,'' says
LuPone, adding that even after her 2008
triumph in Gypsy, producers weren't
breaking down her door.

îîThere were no offers to me to return
to Broadway,'' LuPone says. îîThat's the
way it is for me. I'm not anybody's [first]
choice. Then they put me in the part and
say, îNow I get it!'‚''

LuPone seems to know exactly who
she is. She just published her autobiogra
phy, Patti LuPone: A Memoir ($26,
Crown Archetype), written with jour
nalist Digby Diehlû.

îîA literary agent said îIt's time to
write your memoir.' I wouldn't call
myself a writer,'' LuPone says. îîI started
talking into a tape recorder. Digby
would write something, and I would
rewrite it. .‚.‚. I'm actually glad I did it
now because the stories are fresh in my
brain. I know my career. I don't ever
think about moving forward, except to
think about working.''

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