DIVA TALK: A Dozen Must-Have Female Vocal Recordings

By Andrew Gans
19 Jul 2013

Cover art

Patti LuPone
"Patti LuPone Live"

Patti LuPone and Evita were the reasons I initially fell in love with the theatre when I was in sixth grade. I had never seen a musical like that (through-sung with dancing soldiers, movable beds and a torch-filled Act One finale) or heard anyone sing like LuPone (belting Cs, Ds, Es and the occasional F with power and ease). Naturally, after getting the Broadway cast recording of Evita, I started searching for LuPone's solo recordings and couldn't believe that this multitalented young artist didn't have one. I patiently waited for a solo disc… and waited and waited… And 13 years later I was rewarded with the two-CD set "Patti LuPone Live," which I have to admit was worth the wait. Not only did the live concert feature a second act that allowed the gifted actress a chance to explore her Tony and Olivier-winning career (completely thrilling versions of "Don't Cry for Me Argentina," "Meadowlark," "As Long As He Needs Me," "I Dreamed a Dream" and more), but the first half was filled with many songs I had never heard LuPone wrap her textured, rangy voice around, including an exciting "I'm a Stranger Here Myself," a touching "It Never Was You," a rousing "I've Got the Sun in the Morning" and the sweetly moving "Dirty Hands! Dirty Face!" Perhaps my favorite track on the first disc is the inspired pairing of the haunting "Calling You" and the great pop hit "Get Here." Or maybe my favorite is the roof-raising "Come to the Supermarket in Old Peking"? Or maybe it's LuPone's sensational "Being Alive"? Truthfully, I can't decide – it's one of those rare recordings that is a complete joy from beginning to end.