What Andrew Lloyd Webber has to say about Patti LuPone’s epic Grammy performance
Andrew Lloyd Webber may have given Patti LuPone the iconic role of Eva Peron in the original Broadway production of Evita but he also reneged on plans for LuPone to bring the role of Norma Desmond to Broadway in Sunset Bpulevard after she debuted the role in London.
To say there were hard feelings is an understatement. LuPone trashed her London dressing room when she found out Glenn Close would be Broadway’s Norma instead of her. Then she sued and got a $1 million settlement.
More than two decades have passed and LuPone’s legend has only grown as she went on to win a second Tony (for Gypsy) and be nominated for Sweeney Todd, War Paint and Women on the Verge of Nervous Breakdown.
She also wrote a best-selling memior in which she made her feelings about the Lloyd Webber/Sunset Boulevard episode quite clear. This is a diva who does not mince words.
Now 68, LuPone agreed to bury the hatchet and participate in last night’s Grammy tribute to Lloyd Webber by performing Don’t Cry for me Argentina from Evita.
Here is what he had to say to Playbill about the experience and his former leading lady’s performance:
“The Grammys suggested it, and I said that if Patti felt she was prepared to do it, I’d be delighted, and she was, and so there we are. The thing I have to admit I was unprepared for,” he continued, “is that Patti’s voice is in incredible shape. I think she’s singing better than when I first knew her. I have to say, Evita is a long time ago now, and none of us are as young as we were, and her voice is like she’s 35. It’s amazing. We rehearsed the song and because we had to make one or two edits for time, it was good to work on where those beats could be for her dramatically. It’s hugely about the context in which it’s set. And it’s been a joy that it’s come out of context like it has, but we were trying to do it in the context of the show, so we were really together, working on the material again. One of the things that worked in Madison Square Garden last night was that doing it in that space—with that bank of microphones—people felt like they were in an arena where she was addressing a crowd. It didn’t feel like it was a performance of a song at all, it was like it was something dramatic, with her in a stadium, and it really worked.”