ONSTAGE & BACKSTAGE: Billy Elliot Beatboxes, Patti Does Eva and Ahrens and Flaherty Chat About Rocky

By Seth Rudetsky
13 May 2013

LuPone in Evita.
Photo by Martha Swope

Then, I told her that a guy who's playing Magaldi in the UK tour of Evita said he'd be coming to the show and thought it would be fun to come on stage and sing the scene in Evita that leads into "Buenos Aires." Shockingly, Patti told me we could try it in rehearsal. It is one of my favorite moments in the show and has the crazily high phrase, "Screw the middle classes!" We ran through it in the rehearsal studio and my producer was there with a writer from the Huffington Post (who's doing a story on us). They both almost had a breakdown hearing Patti sing it and demanded that she does it in the concert.

Afterwards, I was speaking with the writer and I totally identified with him because he was obsessed with the album while he was growing up, yet never go to see Patti play the role, just like me. He was always excited when she'd sing, "Don't Cry For Me…" in concert but so disappointed that there were so many other sections of the show she didn't have in her repertoire. He forced himself to accept he would never hear her sing "Eva and Magaldi" live. So, for both of us, to finally hear Patti sing it in front of us, after thinking it would never happen, was amazing! Also, I love all the Fantine music in Les Miserables not just "I Dreamed a Dream." I made her sing the high E flat in "You let your foreman se-e-e-e-e-end me away" and the entire Fantine deathbed scene! Ah! I am so excited for this concert! Fly to London and get tix for us here.

I had Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty come to the Chatterbox again because we only got through half of their career at their last appearance. We backtracked a little and talked about My Favorite Year and I mentioned how it was Andrea Martin's Broadway debut. Lynn said that they wrote a song for her that was getting no laughs…and, ironically, it was called, "Professional Show Business Comedy." Ouch. On the day the critics came, they brought Andrea into a room to try to fix the number. The only rules they had to adhere were; choreographer Thommie Walsh said that there were three clowns who had to be in the number and Andrea's co-star was great in his role but they knew he wouldn't be able to learn a whole new number in one day so his part had to be minimal. Stephen and Lynn gave Andrea all these different props and asked her to go to town. She did all these funny things (including being a Gypsy with a tambourine) and her solo section in the middle took shape.