Patti LuPone: Can you hear me now?

 

Broadway legend hates cellphones

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By Steve Rothaus

When Broadway legend Patti LuPone opens the new Aventura Arts & Cultural Center Saturday night, turn off your cellphones and don't even think about recording her performance. "How 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. "It's a real epidemic in theater," LuPone says almost two years later.

‘‘The 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 audio 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 Almodóvar, set to open Nov. 4.

"I'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. ‘‘There were no offers to me to return to Broadway," LuPone says. "That's the way it is for me. I'm not anybody's [first] choice. Then they put me in the part and say, ‘Now I get it!' '' LuPone seems to know exactly who she is. She just published her autobiography, Patti LuPone: A Memoir ($26, Crown Archetype), written with jour- nalist Digby Diehl. "A literary agent said ‘It's time to write your memoir.' I wouldn't call myself a writer," LuPone says.

"I 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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