Monday, September 27, 2010
patti lupone, a memoir

This is a glorious book. Funny and touching and everything I look for in a 'memoir'...It is inspiring in such a full and complete way---I almost don't have words for it....Patti LuPone's full-on love letter to Broadway, and "Gypsy", and Arthur Laurants--the Book Writer of the Original production, and the Director of the 2008 production in which she starred and for which she won her second Tony Award, and to the entire cast of this incredible revival is sweet as it can be and so very inspiring....!It had me in tears. Tears of Joy and Recognition. It is everything one wants a "theatre" experience to be, in every way....This part of the book, (the last chapters) is the culmination of a career in The Theatre that was never easy and has had many many bumps in the road--not the least of which was the Andrew Lloyd Webber London production of "Sunset Blvd", in 1993, which I was lucky enough to see......I count it as a true highlight in a Lifetime of going to The Theatre and seeing some very great great productions and some fantastic and stunning performers and out and out true Theatre Stars. In this case, it wasn't so much the show as it was Patti Lupone's performance. At the end of the first act of "Sunset Blvd", I was sobbing and was inconsolable, I was so moved by what Miss LuPone had done as an actress and a singer.....I wish I could have gone back and seen this show and her performance many times. But, we left London almost immediately after and of course, I knew I would go to New York when "Sunset Blvd" opened on Broadway with Patti LuPone, once again, playing 'Norma Desmond'. Well, that did not happen for either of us. And there in lies the lowest point in her truly glorious career....Read the book. I did not see her play "Mama Rose", in the revival of "Gypsy" in 2008 because I can no longer travel or go to the theatre--I did see her perform on the Tony's that June and was blown away by her performance. I shouted and screamed and hooped and hollered 'Bravo' right here in my bedroom, all by myself, and I was thrilled, once again, by this talented complete Actress/Singer/Star.....And, I saw Ethel Merman in the Original Broadway production of Jule Styne and Stephen Sondheim's "Gypsy"....And I also saw Angela Lansbury play it and Tyne Daly play it and Betty Buckley perform this monumental theatre part in what I consider is probably the Best and Greatest Musical ever written for the stage, and with one of the most memorable Overtures you will ever hear.....By way of my Theatre Pedigree---I saw the Original Broadway Productions of "Pal Joey", with Gene Kelly and Vivienne Segal, 1941......I saw "Oklahoma", a Landmark Musical if there ever was one....I was lucky enough to see it two weeks after it opened on Broadway; And there was "Carousel", and "South Pacific", with the Great Mary Martin---these three Musicals were all by Rodgers & Hammerstein....."West Side Story"...another landmark musical in the Golden Age of Broadway, (along with all of the other ground breaking unique Musicals of the one and only Stephen Sondheim)....And no, I'm not talking about the films that were made of these great great shows---they could not and did not hold a candle to the experience of those Original Stage Productions...Sorry, but there is just no comparison.The point of all this is that I have been going to the Broadway Theatre since I was a child, and have seen just about every great play and performer working on Broadway since 1936-37, plus, I have dedicated my life to working in the theatre in every capacity one can name and had the unique experience of playing on Broadway, too. So, in my personal opinion, Patti LuPone is one of the Special 'Greats' of The Theatre. Trust me: She is the real deal!And Ms. LuPone's book is so filled with the true richness of the 'theatre' experience---I honestly don't remember reading a memoir that captured the hard work and dedication and love that goes into the creation of these 'events'---even the failures are filled with the long long hours and days and weeks and often months and years that often go into this process. The payoff, of course, are those few and rare Theatre Experiences that transcend everything and become Theatre Legend.I truly laughed out loud any number of times while reading this wonderful book, and again, was moved to tears too.....How many books can do that to me? I'm not sure that I can even count them on the fingers of one hand.I have a few pictures that I took of this truly great great "star".....The first one was backstage at The Belasco Theatre, in May of 2001 when my dear friend Betty G. was doing Stephen Sondheim's "Follies". Betty shared a dressing room with the wonderful Marge Champion (the very same dressing room that Betty had lived in during our residency in "Spoon River" so very many years before) and between the Matinee and Evening performance of "Follies", we were going out to celebrate Betty's Birthday with a special Birthday Dinner, across the street from The Belasco....Betty, her two sons, Garrett and Andrew, her Cousin Carol and me. But before we left to go to dinner Betty and I had trudged up to 'my' dressing at The Belasco on the floor above---(We had moved to The Belasco in "Spoon River", having opened originally at The Booth Theatre--surviving JFK's Assassination and a move from one theatre to another that might have destroyed any number of shows----) and after visiting my old dressing room we came back down to Betty and Marge's room. And as we were getting ourselves together to go to dinner, this small compact ball of talent knocked on Betty and Marge's Dressing Room door....It was Patti LuPone. She had been to the Matinee, too, and wanted to tell these two wonderfully talented old warhorses how GREAT they were.....I took a picture of the three of them standing there in the Dressing Room....Patti said she would love a copy and indeed, I mailed her a lovely 8 X 10 print.....It was a bonus on this special day of Celebration and of course, after dinner both Carol and I and 'the boys' came back for the evening performance of "Follies" so we could see Betty's performance, one more time----GREAT!.That summer of 2001, Patti LuPone played The Hollywood Bowl and a good friend gave me the ultimate Hollywood Bowl "experience". Parking in the 'Gold' section----Valet Parking, my dears, and a real table with a linen tablecloth and silverware, etc., in what used to be called the Pool Area right next to the Hollywood Bowl Stage, where you can order your dinner from Patina and then, enjoy the performance---Up Close & Personal! What a fabulous treat this was......You can see below---It is called, 'The Pool Circle'.I took some pictures of Miss LuPone performing, which I don't think you are supposed to do, but I couldn't help myself....This concert and a second concert the following year, where Patti Lupone shared the stage with the incredibly talented Audra MacDonald---(to see both of these women together was thrilling, beyond words---THRILLING!...). These are just two Highlights of a life spent being thrilled by talent and being lucky enough to have seen some truly GREAT one-of-a-kind people, like Judy Garland, and Marlene Dietrich--Live & In Person, to name just two. I treasure these experiences as very special memories and I wouldn't trade them for anything. That I no longer am able to go and have any more experiences like this is sad, indeed, But I count myself truly lucky that I was able to go and have them all, when I could!Reading Patti LuPone's book brought back many memories for me and I urge anyone who loves talent and truly dedicated 'artists' to run to the bookstore and get this wonderful special memoir. For me, I wish it had been four times as long....I hated that it was over, but again, I feel so happy that Patti LuPone wrote it in the first place and that I had the privilege of reading it and savoring every word!
We've not heard the last of this wonderfully talented "STAR"! And if you are ever lucky enough to be close to a venue where she will be playing---Run, don't walk, to get your tickets. Meanwhile, give yourself a real treat and read this very very special book!

More To Come............

NOTE: 4:05pm....It was 113 degrees at 12:15pm today in Downtown Los Angeles....which means it could be five degrees hotter where I am. This is the Hottest Day Ever Recorded In Los Angeles ever since they started tracking these things---A Very Very Long Time Ago.....

had this to say:

Wow!!!!!!!!!!! What a great memoir!!!!! I love musical comedy!!!!

Monday, September 27, 2010 at 1:26:00 AM PDT 

Blogger Pat
had this to say:

Wow Naomi! What a post!
I loved it and could feel your enthusiasm right across the pond. What riches you have seen.
I'm very grateful to hear of Patti's book because I am three quarters through a lovely book recommended by Nea (blogger) and as things are just now I need to occasionally escape to another world.
Patti's will be next on my list.
I'm ashamed to say I know very little of Patti apart from her name. So thank you:)

Monday, September 27, 2010 at 2:51:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Sadly, the only time I saw Patti Lupone was in the TV series "Life Goes On." I was unaware of her many talents and long career in theater.
I recently saw her on a talk show promoting the book and along with that interview and your wonderful insights, it is definitely on my TBR list.

Monday, September 27, 2010 at 5:29:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

What a prolific artist! I love the old photos, and the portrait. Thanks again for sharing this part of your world, Naomi.

Monday, September 27, 2010 at 7:31:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I really like her - so, I will have to read the book...

Hope all is well with you and Sweetie!

Monday, September 27, 2010 at 7:34:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I couldn't agree more about the quality of new works for the theater these days compared with "The Golden Age." Perhaps the number of talents coalescing on Broadway at one time only happens once in a lifetime.

As for Ms. LuPone's book, I think I'll get it for my daughter for Christmas.


Monday, September 27, 2010 at 8:39:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

How rich your experiences have been and I can tell you not only have a true appreciation for the stage and people's talent, but it is also an appreciation born of experience. I love not only your commentary on her memoir, but all the history and memories of your own that you add to it to make the story that much richer. Thanks!

Monday, September 27, 2010 at 10:55:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Wonderful post and wonderful memories. Unfortunately, in my world, I could only see the movies and although I realize they can never compare to the real deal....they did give me an appreciation of the music and talent and awesome contributions of the authors and composers. I wish I could have gone to the big theater productions but alas, money and distance played an enormous role. I have a cousin in the theater and she plays locally in many of the Sondheim productions. She brings it home to us.

Thanks for opening a door to the real thing. What wonderful memories you have and what a glorious ability you have to share.

Monday, September 27, 2010 at 4:52:00 PM PDT 

Anonymous Anonymous
had this to say:

OK, this is crazy! I thought about Patti Lupone this morning when I read the newspaper. In her TV series, there was a boy with Down Syndrome named Chris Burke.

He went to school at Don Guanella is Springfield, PA which is right down the street from my town. Don Guanella celebrated their 50th year this weekend and Chris Burke attended the celebration.
...which made me think of Patti Lupone. Then I read your entry...crazy!!

Monday, September 27, 2010 at 5:06:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

You've seen every great play since 1936?? Wow! I'd love to see your list!

Believe it or not, I own West Side Story but have yet to see it. I bought it for my parents and they gave it back to me a few years ago. Now you're inspiring me to watch you do for so many other wonderful musicals and films.

Thanks for sharing your review of Patti Lupone's book. If it moved you to tears and made you LOL, I know it has to be fantastic!

October is right around the corner, my friend. Hopefully, it'll cool off for you soon!!



Monday, September 27, 2010 at 7:32:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I don't think anyone recounts personal history as richly as you do, Naomi. I'm always blown away by how much detail you share with us from your incredible life. We are unbelievably lucky.

Oh, almost forgot: the tomatoes were incredible. Just knowing where they came from made them even sweeter.

I hope it cools down. Quickly. I don't like triple-digit temperatures, especially when they affect my friends. Begone, hot weather!

Monday, September 27, 2010 at 7:53:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I first heard the title song to sunset boulevard on a roadtrip back from the north to davis with my friend's family and that song just captured everything i had lived within my (albeit limited) theatrical world. Such a moving song and show, how fantastic that you saw it!
As always,
Much, much love!

Monday, September 27, 2010 at 8:37:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I like what Carmi said (as usual). No one tells it like you can, Naomi, and I wish I had been as lucky to see all that wonderful talent live, on stage. It is truly a shame that you can't do it anymore, but nice to know that a memoir delights you!

Monday, September 27, 2010 at 8:37:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I really want to know why you haven't written a book yet? Or are we reading the chapters here in your blog?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010 at 4:56:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

What a great post, Naomi! You could write a book yourself on your years of performing and seeing others perform. Your blog is a good way to share that!

I think doing theater seems like such hard work and dedication. I so admire and respect those that do it. I've only seen a handful of onstage plays/shows and was thrilled with each one. I wish they were more available to me.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010 at 5:56:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

What an absolutely fascinating post! I was never lucky enough to see a Broadway Musical - saw only one off-braodway play in my life - so I know these musicals only through the screen.

Thank you for the information!!!

Nancy in Iowa

Tuesday, September 28, 2010 at 9:28:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I love Patti Lupone. Seen her many times. She is a doll, too!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010 at 12:34:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Wow my friend. I have heard of alot of these acts but never seen them in person. Lots of stuff I have seen on TV but not like seeing it in real life.. I will have to pick up the book sometime and see about reading it.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010 at 7:13:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

This is a wonderful post and tribute, Naomi! I thoroughly enjoyed every word of it, all the pictures and thank you for sharing your memories.

I lived vicariously with you as I always had wanted to see many of those Broadway shows, on Broadway, that you mentioned.

I'm pleased you shared a bit about your own "Spoon River." After I first found your blog a mere few years ago, I purchased the book since I had never read it, so that I might better appreciate what I was able to find and read on the Internet about your show. There were periods of time in my life when I lost track of what was happening in theatre and on Broadway. One of those times was when your show was there, so it's interesting to me to hear about it from you, even if it is many years later.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 1:49:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

What a wonderful post and great memories, Naomi!
I would love to read Patti Lupone memoir. Sounds great!
Thanks again for sharing so lovely memories with amazing pictures!

Have a nice day with your dear Sweetie.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 7:04:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

That is the kind of endorsement that money simply cannot buy. I am glad you enjoyed her books so much and feel I should add it to my list now too!

By the way, I agree with you about film versions of shows not being as good as the original shows. It doesn't matter how polished the film production is, it always lacks the raw emotion that being at a live show has.

Thanks so much for popping by. I find it so hard to find time to blog this year since I changed my job at work. I hope you and Sweetie are both well : )

Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 12:40:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I've bookmarked this to read the book. I love good biographies.

I remember watching her when I was a kid on the t.v. show Life Goes On.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 6:01:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Oh, to have seen what you have have chosen another "one of a kind" seems we used to have so many and now too few. Sorry about your heat. A/C Baby!

Thursday, September 30, 2010 at 8:56:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

You must miss going to the theatre so much?

The book sounds really interesting, I really know nothing about Patti Lupone!

Did you read that Tony Curtis has died? What a loss. :(

Friday, October 1, 2010 at 1:21:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

this was a fascinating read, naomi! i've loved patti lupone and her music for years and your stories make her a much more real person to me and to countless fans. i envy you and your memories!

heard about the heat wave from a couple of friends in the same area. don't stay out in the heat if you can help it, ok? stay hydrated. praying for cool weather soon! =)

Saturday, October 2, 2010 at 1:46:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

You have lived a fascinating life. We are fortunate to live in an age where you could share it so broadly.
The book is on my read-before-I-die list.

We made it through 115.8* here. And the thunderstorms gave us a good drenching over the next 2 days.
Best to you and that kitty companion.

Sunday, October 3, 2010 at 8:19:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

What a great post your wrote! You have had a fascinating life and I love reading your memories. I saw West Side Story in Paris (in French), then I saw it again in San Francisco. I am planning a trip to New York next week and this time was not going to see a play or show, but after reading your post I’m thinking that we should go to see one. I am not knowledgeable like you so I am not sure what to see. I’ll place this book on my reading list though.

Monday, October 4, 2010 at 2:36:00 PM PDT 

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