By Seth Rudetsky
18 Jun 2012
Photo by Monica Simoes
I was sitting with Scott Wittman, too, who directed the whole thing and I told him how much I loved it. At the end of the show, Patti performs a request taken from Twitter. She asked for "Ronnie," who requested "As Long As He Needs Me." She asked him to raise his hand, but he wasn't there. Then a woman, whose name was Ronnie but that wasn't the requester, piped up. Patti asked what she requested and she named some obscure song called "Baby Loves Me." Patti asked what that was. The woman told her that it was once a hit in England (?!). Patti said, "What makes you think I sing that song?" The woman said, "I know you don't sing it, but I thought you'd sound great on it." Patti was hilarious and told her "That's actually not a request. It's a suggestion." Brava! Patti then performed "As Long As He Needs Me" and sang the whole last phrase without a breath. In other words, "As long as he-e-e-e-e ne-e-e-e-e-eds me-e-e-e-e!" It was so good! I met with her the next day to rehearse our show for Provincetown and asked her about her amazing breath control. She said she's always had it and that when she was at Juilliard, the whole acting company had to get x-rays to see what kind of breath capability they had. The doctor looked at her lungs and told her she could be an opera singer. I wasn't surprised but couldn't get past the part where her acting class was forced to have their chests x-rayed. "OK, people! We're starting the morning with warm-ups, then trust games and, after lunch, MRI's!"
|photo by Monica Simoes|
Patti was talking with me about being short (she's 5-foot-2) but on Tony night she told me she was like a giantess because she was joined by two other Evitas who are shorter than she is! She, Elaine Paige and Elena Roger were all chatting — and Patti was essentially the Tommy Tune of Evitas. Jackie Hoffman was in the audience at Patti's show and I was chatting with her director (and my old friend) Michael Schiralli. We were laughing because Jackie was the first performer at 54 Below, but all the press said that the room was opening with Patti LuPone. Jackie's show started with a recording of a supposed phone conversation between the owners of 54 Below. One of them mentioned how excited he was that Patti LuPone was going to open the room. The other one said, "What? We can't have a performer of that stature perform here without testing it first. What about the sound? What about the air quality? We need someone so desperate and so low on the celebrity totem pole that she'll try out the room before an actual star does." Then, "Ladies and gentleman, Jackie Hoffman!"
Andrea Martin is still feeling sick so we've postponed our 54 Below show and Patti is extending (54below.com). You must go see her! And then come see us at the Art House in the beginning of July. Go to PtownArtHouse.com for tix.
(Seth Rudetsky is the afternoon Broadway host on SiriusXM. He has played piano for over 15 Broadway shows, was Grammy-nominated for his concert CD of Hair and Emmy-nominated for being a comedy writer on "The Rosie O'Donnell Show." He has written two novels, "Broadway Nights" and "My Awesome/Awful Popularity Plan," which are also available at Audible.com. He recently launched SethTV.com, where you can contact him and view all of his videos and his sassy new reality show.)