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Patti LuPone talks about her influences

Patti LuPoneLoved this lead in yesterday’s Los Angeles Times about the great Patti LuPone who performs next Tuesday at UCLA’s Royce Hall to benefit Reprise Theatre Company:

Broadway stars don’t come much bigger or more combative than Patti LuPone, the Tony-winning force of nature who has left her indelible imprint on numerous musicals including “Evita,” “Anything Goes,” “Sweeney Todd” and “Gypsy.” Equally loved (by critics, the gay community) and feared (by cellphone abusers everywhere), she is an actress whose ferocious stage presence knows no compromise.

In the article, Miss LuPone is asked about the artistic influences in her career. Here are her thoughts on two of them: Davis: I grew up on Long Island … and they used to show old movies on television at 10 and 1 o’clock. I saw Busby Berkeley musicals and Bette Davis movies. Davis wasn’t the most beautiful actress but she was the most courageous at the time. I was maybe 8 or 9 years old when I first saw her. I used to cut school and feign illness just to see Davis. My mother never knew this because she was off at work. Sondheim: He’s a task master when it comes to pitch and what is considered Broadway singing — no bending of the note, no swooping. I was in “Company” this year at the New York Philharmonic — at the after-party, he gave me a note and I wanted to smack him. Well, I didn’t want to smack him. But this was two hours after the production closed…. Basically, [he said] I was slurring two words and that I recovered. It’s his music and his lyrics so of course he’s going to notice…. It takes a lot of concentration and discipline to sing him as written. When I see musicals in New York today, I usually don’t know if I’m watching “American Idol” or a Broadway performance. It should be as precise as an operatic aria.

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