Patti LuPone has a confession: "I don't go after anything because I'm lazy." You'd never know it from her voracious work on stage, but the two-time Tony-winning Evita and Gypsy actress, a self-proclaimed "stage rat," hasn't pursued a role until now.
She's back on Broadway this season opposite three-time Oscar nominee Debra Winger, the steely-voiced actress of "Terms of Endearment" and "An Officer and a Gentleman," in the new two-woman David Mamet drama The Anarchist, which the playwright is also directing.
"It's been 15 years since I did one of David's plays, it was The Old Neighborhood, and that was too long for me [to wait]," says LuPone, who has known Mamet since the two met on a bus while touring the country with The Acting Company in 1976. "I learn so much from David when I'm in the room with him and I missed that," she says. "I miss being directed by him, listening to him talk about acting, and listening to him talk about life."
So, what's a girl to do? Just ask. Following the Broadway opening of Mamet's Race in 2009, LuPone sent her old pal an e-mail asking for a play. He replied with The Anarchist. Then it almost didn't happen — a 2011 London production was announced without LuPone. "I said to David, 'Let me play it in New York.'" Mamet replied, as LuPone recalls, in his quintessential manner, "F*** London, let's do it here now."
The actress had one more request — Mamet had to direct. "I told him, 'You have to, because I know my best work is when you direct me,'" LuPone says. The playwright obliged.
However, one key piece of the puzzle was still missing — LuPone's co-star. Another actress was originally announced, but the plan didn't come to fruition. It was then that Winger, a no-nonsense straight-talker who held her own among Hollywood boys' club and lived to tell, was announced as LuPone's co-star.
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