Friday, January 14, 2011

Door Slam, in comes Patti LuPone

Will LuPone be one of the "Ladies who Lunch??"

I remember right before the most recent revival of Stephen Sondheim's masterpiece “Company” was announced there were plans to do a concert version of the show with the N.Y. Philharmonic and to be directed by Lonny Price. Now there were also plans to film this production as it seems like every time Mr. Price directs a concert in New York it is filmed. Shortly after this the revival announcement was made and these other plans quietly disappeared until recently. It turns out that in April the 7 though the 9th at Avery Fisher Hall the N.Y. Philharmonic conducted by Paul Gemignani and directed by Lonny Price will finally be performed. Also to top it off the big official cast news is that Neil Patrick Harris will be playing the leading role of Robert and get to sing at least depending on what they use “Someone is Waiting” and “Being Alive.” As soon as the original concert production was announced with Mr. Price I had a hunch and today there is an unofficial confirmation that joining Mr. Harris is two time Tony Award winner and frequent Sondheim/Price performer Patti LuPone in the role of Joanne who gets to offer up marriage advice in the droll “The Little Things You Do Together” and unleash her powerful belt in the classic “Ladies Who Lunch” which she was able to test on the Sondheim at 80 Birthday concert recently.

As she has already done concert versions all directed by Lonny Price of “Sweeney Todd” as Mrs. Lovett, “A Little Night Music” as Desiree Armfeldt, “Passion” as Fosca, “Sunday in Park with George” as Yvonne/Blair Daniels, “Anyone Can Whistle” as Cora Hoover Hooper, and in "Gypsy" as Madame Rose that originated in a Lonny Price directed production at the Ravinia Festival it only seems fitting that she would also take on the role of Joanne.
I wonder if Ravinia will do a similar version for their 2011 season? I also wonder how long will it be before LuPone finally takes on a role I have dreamed of seeing her play and that is as The Witch in a production of “Into the Woods.” I know she has talked about being up for the original and there were many reliable rumors about her doing the revival before she chose “Noises Off” instead, still will never understand that decision.

I'm hoping that there's a chance that Sherie Rene Scott will play Amy as LuPone and her worked together in the recent “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” and she seems to posses a lot of the traits that would make for an interesting Amy and if they wanted to continue the Breakdown trend Laura Benanti would make for a wonderful April. If Lonny Price uses a lot of the actors he's used previously then Audra McDonald could make for an interesting Marta and Michael Cerveris could be an interesting Harry my only real concern is Mr. Harris who comes across as two young and seemingly too self assured to be someone who is going though a midlife crises.

However I'm under the firm belief that you can never have too many productions of Sondheim shows, well except for “Pacific Overtures” so I can't wait to see who else they get and if this is going to be recorded like the others.

Soon Patti is set to record the original Broadway cast recording of "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown" (thank God!!) and then after this production of "Company" LuPone is confirmed to be singing the solo piece in the New York City Ballet's production of “The Seven Deadly Sins” by Lynne Taylor Corbett. This will be a sung ballet in seven scenes with songs taken from Kurt Weill and a libretto by Bertolt Brecht, and was first performed at the Theatre de Champs-Elsees in Paris on June 7, 1933. LuPone did a song cycle under “The Seven Deadly Sins” which I presume will feature most of the same songs such as I'm a Stranger Here Myself, It Never Was You, My Ship, Susan's Dream, etc. at the Ravinia Festival last year and then if the rumor mill is true she might even find time to tackle one of Jerry Herman's greatest female roles that of Dolly Levi in a Broadway revival of “Hello, Dolly!”

LuPone who up until a few years ago last full scale Broadway musical role was 1987's “Anything Goes” has really kicked it up and made it almost an all LuPone all the time Broadway world. Here's hoping that she considers working in some free time and possibly record another solo disc? I would love one dedicated to the music of Stephen Sondheim or if she wants to expand and not do an entire Sondheim disc how about finally putting her "Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda" concert on disc.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I simply cannot wait for this concert of "Company." And I totally forgot about the original announcement of this concert, which disappeared after the revival was announced...