Patti LuPone steals the show in 'glorious' reimagining of Company

10.18.18
Patti LuPone
The Guardian

Patti LuPone has reclaimed her crown as queen of musicals in a performance that has been described as iconic, dynamic and a must-see by critics.
LuPone came out of her short-lived retirement to star as Joanne in Marianne Elliott’s reimagining of Stephen Sondheim’s Company, a musical about marriage and single life. Elliott’s decision to gender-swap the lead male character, Robert, for a woman, Bobbie, and bring on LuPone has sparked rave reviews.
“A gender change can work wonders,” wrote Michael Billington in the Guardian, and the Evening Standard described it as “glorious” in its five-star review. It has, however, been what the Independent described as LuPone’s stand-out performance that has made theatregoers and critics take notice.

The 69-year-old actress and singer is one of the most influential figures in musical theatre, starring in Evita, Les Miserables, Gypsy and Sweeney Todd. She has regularly made headlines for going off-script, once snatching an audience member’s phone for texting and stopping mid-song to tell another off for taking pictures. She has also said she would refuse to perform if Donald Trump came to see her show.
In a recent interview with the Guardian, she said that her reputation precede her, but she always managed to deliver.
Joel Fram, Company’s musical supervisor and conductor, agreed. “None of it was possible unless she was as great as an actress as she is,” he said.
Fram said he was moved by LuPone’s “thoughtful performance” in the show. He said: “It gives her the ability to land the joke with such precision … to suddenly strike the unexpected note of pathos. You suddenly realise beneath the humour and beneath the wit, there’s a vulnerability to the whole performance.
“Listening to Patti, you realise she speaks every word as if each word was worth a million dollars. That’s what makes it so gripping, that level of control.”
He said musical theatre was often thought of as a flamboyant art form, but stressed the secret to LuPone was her restraint. “She knows just how much to give and just when to give, that when she detonates a bomb it goes off with maximum worth.” Read the full review here