Broadway legend Patti Lupone will close out Martha’s Vineyard’s inaugural Broadway @ concert series this Friday, September 2.
The Vineyard shows are an extension of the popular nationwide Broadway @ series which founder Mark Cortale began in Provincetown in 2005 and has since expanded to the West End of London, New Orleans, Santa Monica, Fort Lauderdale, Sydney, and elsewhere. This summer, the series of story-laced concerts has brought a handful of musical theater superstars to the Vineyard, and the appearance by the American Theater Hall of Fame inductee Patti Lupone will provide an exciting final flourish to series’ initial Vineyard outing.
The two-time Grammy awardwinner and Tony awardwinner will take to the stage at the Performing Arts Center to wow the crowd with her distinctive voice and powerful stage presence. The audience will get a glimpse at the woman behind the roles she has taken on in her lengthy career — including the title character in “Evita,” Rose in “Gypsy,” Fantine in “Les Miserables,” and Mrs. Lovett in “Sweeney Todd” (to name a few).
For those who have not had the chance to attend any of the previous four Vineyard performances, the Broadway @ series provides a unique and exciting opportunity to enjoy some of the Great White Way’s most notable musical talents in an up-close and personal experience.
Each concert features a variety of songs — some from musicals, some old standards or rock ballads — with personal stories interspersed with the music. Packed houses for each show were transported by the magic of Broadway, while also enjoying the down-to-earth personal stories of the people behind the star image.
Ms. Lupone’s show is called “Don’t Monkey with Broadway.” It is one of a handful of musical shows that she has created over the years.
Ms. Lupone described the show in a recent interview with The Times. “It’s basically my history with Broadway musicals, how I discovered Broadway,” she said. ‘I’ll include songs that I grew up listening to in my brother’s bedroom, because that was where the turntable was.”
One of Ms. Lupone’s favorite albums as a kid was an LP called “They Stopped the Show,” which includes a selection of musical numbers from Broadway stars of the day such as Mary Martin, Rosalind Russell, Ray Bolger, and Walter Huston.
“It’s how I became enamored with Broadway musicals from a very young age,” Ms. Lupone said.
Ms. Lupone launched her illustrious career as a founding member of John Houseman’s the Acting Company, touring the country for four years. She subsequently earned her place in Broadway history with starring roles in numerous musicals, as well as performances in a number of David Mamet plays.
The versatile singer and actress has appeared in dozens of movies and television shows, and has recorded, or been featured on, many albums. She performs regularly in solo shows, selling out venues across the country including New York’s Carnegie Hall.
“The songs that always resonate with me are the ones that have stories,” said Ms. Lupone. “Even some rock ’n’ roll songs that have stories.”
Although she won’t divulge her repertoire for the upcoming show, she promises to mix up ballads with some lighter fare. “There has to be some sort of dynamic in the show,” she said. “It’s not necessarily formulaic, but you have to keep the audience engaged with different emotional levels. I have a director who’s a great scavenger of music and knows how to create a flow.”
Ms. Lupone truly enjoys doing intimate concerts — connecting with the audience in a way that is not possible while playing a role. “You have to make the audience trust you,” she said. “And you have to take them on a journey.”
Patti Lupone is one of the most recognizable names in musical theater, and deservedly so. She will no doubt be metaphorically “stopping the show” on the PAC stage this Friday.
“WCAI Presents Broadway @ the Performing Arts Center with Patti Lupone”: Friday, Sept. 2, at 7:30 pm. For tickets and more information, visit vineyardbroadway.com.