The 60th Annual Grammy Awards was a historic night for Broadway fans.
When Patti LuPone returned to the balcony of the Casa Rosada to deliver another definitive performance of Evita’s “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina,” it put to rest a 20-year rift between the Tony-winning actor and composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, who infamously parted ways when LuPone was dismissed from his Broadway-bound Sunset Boulevard in 1994.
It was a moment theatre fans had hoped for, but most thought would never come.
“I’m delighted,” Lloyd Webber said the day following LuPone’s triumphant performance at Madison Square Garden. LuPone, who earned her first Tony for Evita in 1980, made her Grammy Awards debut with “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” in 1981, and returned for an encore of the song last night as part of a tribute to Broadway composers Leonard Bernstein, who would have turned 100 this year, and Lloyd Webber, who turns 70 on March 22.
“The Grammys suggested it, and I said that if Patti felt she was prepared to do it, I’d be delighted, and she was, and so there we are,” Lloyd Webber said. The American Premiere Recording of Evita brought Lloyd Webber and lyricist Tim Rice their first Grammy Award when it won Best Cast Show Recording in 1980.
“The thing I have to admit I was unprepared for,” he continued, “is that Patti’s voice is in incredible shape. I think she’s singing better than when I first knew her. I have to say, Evita is a long time ago now, and none of us are as young as we were, and her voice is like she’s 35. It’s amazing.”
LuPone and Lloyd Webber met in person last week to rehearse the song ahead of the Grammy Awards, in what the New York Post reported as a “détente” between the two. “We rehearsed the song and because we had to make one or two edits for time, it was good to work on where those beats could be for her dramatically,” Lloyd Webber said.
“It’s hugely about the context in which it’s set,” he continued. “And it’s been a joy that it’s come out of context like it has, but we were trying to do it in the context of the show, so we were really together, working on the material again.” Featuring
LuPone not only performed the iconic ballad in the original key on Sunday night, but she delivered a performance that evoked her Tony-winning turn in the show nearly 40 years ago, which Lloyd Webber noted.
“One of the things that worked in Madison Square Garden last night was that doing it in that space—with that bank of microphones—people felt like they were in an arena where she was addressing a crowd. It didn’t feel like it was a performance of a song at all, it was like it was something dramatic, with her in a stadium, and it really worked.”
Lloyd Webber is poised to publish the first part of his memoir, Unmasked, on March 6 of this year.