Tony Winner Patti LuPone Gives Her Regards to Broadway on Dazzling New Solo Recording

Patti LuPone

In this ever-changing world that sometimes seems to be spinning out of control, it is comforting to know there is at least one constant—the power and pleasure derived from listening to Patti LuPone belt out Broadway tunes from some of the biggest hits in the musical theatre canon.

Such is the case in the stellar new recording Patti LuPone: Don't Monkey with Broadway, which was recorded live at the John W. Engeman Theater in the town of Northport, Long Island, where the Olivier and two-time Tony Award winner spent her youth. Available on the Broadway Records label, the two-disc set features musical director Joseph Thalken on piano and a special appearance by the Northport High School Tour Choir.

The concerts, presented January 23–24, were a benefit for Northport High School’s Performing Arts Department and served as a tribute to LuPone’s arts education at the school, which included music teacher Esther Scott, who writes in the recording’s liner notes, “Patti LuPone is arguably the most talented student I ever had. During her high school years she sang solos with the concert choir, singing masses of Hayden and Mozart, and premiering a large work for soprano soloist, chorus and orchestra… Having been her teacher from her earliest forays into the performing arts I am beyond proud.”

And, Ms. Scott certainly has reason to be proud. The Broadway favorite, currently raising the roof opposite fellow two-time Tony winner Christine Ebersole in the new musical War Paint, has lost none of her range, and her interpretive abilities have only deepened since she first catapulted to stardom in the original 1979 Broadway production of Evita.

On this new recording, LuPone essentially offers an exhilarating tribute to Broadway, marking a love affair that began when the Long Island native was just a child. The first disc features songs that influenced a young LuPone as well as the tunes that solidified her place among the Broadway greats.

The stage and screen star begins her recital with Cole Porter’s little-heard “Please Don't Monkey with Broadway” and then launches into terrific takes on three songs from musicals that informed her youth: “A Lot of Livin’ to Do” from Bye Bye Birdie, “Happy Talk” from South Pacific, and “Big Spender” from Sweet Charity. The national tour of Charity, LuPone noted, was the first professional production for which she ever auditioned—the then-17-year-old made it to the final callback.
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