Review: Patti LuPone: Don’t Monkey With Broadway

Patti LuPone
Theater Pizzazz

No one would ever accuse of Patti LuPone of “monkeying around” on stage. Few performers show the kind of dedication and commitment to their material, and to connecting with their audience, as this Tony Award-winning star. But it’s little exaggeration to state that LuPone has outdone herself with her new show “Don’t Monkey With Broadway,” which debuted in New York to raucous cheers at Symphony Space on April 19 as part of Project B-Way/95.

Conceived and directed by her frequent collaborator Scott Wittman, and featuring impeccable music direction by the great Joseph Thalken, this two-act, two-hour show managed to display previously unseen facets of LuPone’s musical personality, while also giving her long-time fans exactly what they came to hear: unparalleled renditions of such anthems of the Great White Way as “Meadowlark,” “Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina,” “Some People,” “Being Alive,” and “The Ladies Who Lunch.” And who else – and I mean who else – would have had the guts to come out for a truly unplanned encore, and then belt out the ultra-difficult “Buenos Aries” with such head-on conviction (while also laughing at herself for forgetting a few of the words, and encouraging the theater-savvy crowd to sing along).

At one point, LuPone cracked about how she sees herself as “sweet, vulnerable, and funny” – to much audience laughter — but she actually lived up to all those adjectives during the show, thanks to such welcome selections as “Sleepy Man,” “Anyone Can Whistle,” and, most especially, “A Boy Like That/I Have a Love” (one of a group of songs from West Side Story) in which she performed both the roles of Anita and Maria with gusto and glory (and a few deliberately hilarious bits). If we didn’t know it before, we know it now: there is nothing Patti cannot do!

So, to all concert and Broadway producers out there, please heed my words: Don’t monkey around. Book this show pronto. It is one of the must-sees for any lovers of LuPone or musical theater. 

Read the rest of the review here