Patti LuPone talks to Michael J. Roberts about her new CD “The Lady with the Torch”

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Here she is boys! Here she is girls! Here’s Patti LuPone!!!!

From her dressing room at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre where she is currently playing the role of Mrs. Lovett in the hit production of Sweeney Todd, the incomparable Patti LuPone talks to Michael J. Roberts about her newly released CD, “The Lady with the Torch,” her upcoming May 22, 2006 concert to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, and her return this summer to the Ravinia Festival where she will be portraying Mama Rose in GYPSY. The following is an excerpt from our podcast with Patti LuPone, which we will air in July.

MJR: Hello, Ms. LuPone, thank you for talking with us at Stage Door Chicago. How was the show today?

PL: It was great! This is one of the best experiences of my life.

MJR: I saw Sweeney Todd opening night and was blown away by you and your tuba playing. All the performances are remarkable, but as usual, you are just amazing to watch on stage.

PL: Well thank you for being such a fan Michael.

MJR: We just picked up a copy of your new CD, “The Lady with the Torch.” It is brilliant!

PL: Oh thanks…thank you very much.

MJR: Can you tell us about the May 22nd concert in New York City?

PL: Sure. The concert is a benefit for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS at the Vivian Beaumont Theater and we will feature songs from my new CD.

MJR: Let’s talk about The Lady with the Torch. I was listening to the CD, and the musicians that you picked are just incredible!

PL: I know. That’s why I’m so proud of this album. We have found ten of the most incredible musicians!

MJR: I heard that you initially wanted to do a Bluegrass record?

PL: That’s right.

MJR: And instead you got talked into doing these torch songs. (laughing)

PL: Yes. We did this project with just piano initially, but we had a Carnegie Hall booking and so we started a new show. With the Carnegie booking, we knew that we couldn’t do it with just piano. So, we got Jonathan Tunick involved when we finally decided what songs we were singing. Jonathan did the orchestrations and Seymour “Red” Press, came up with and contracted these phenomenal musicians.

MJR: Are the original musicians going to be playing at the May 22nd benefit concert with you?

PL: Yes! (emphatically)

MJR: All the same ones. How incredible is that?

PL: Very! They are essential to the overall sound of the show.

MJR: It’s my understanding that you met Scott Wittman who conceived The Lady with The Torch as well as your very first solo album, at a house warming party in Los Angeles.

PL: It’s true.

MJR: Well, I hope you brought a nice gift.

PL: No. I didn’t bring any gift…actually. (laughs)

MJR: That’s nice…(both laughing)…I love it! So, you’re going to be coming back to perform in Chicago this summer!

PL: I sure am.

MJR: And you will be portraying the great Mama Rose in GYPSY!

PL: I am, if that’s ok with you…

MJR: (laughing) We all can’t wait to see you in that! That has been the talk of the town since it was announced.

PL: Well, Michael…if you believe it’s possible!

MJR: Oh Patti, you’re going to be brilliant! Brilliant! How much longer are you going to be in Sweeney Todd?

PL: Well, my contract is up in July and I go into rehearsal for GYPSY, but I’m always open to stay longer.

MJR: Are you going to be doing your “Lady with the Torch” Concert while you are in Chicago, at all?

PL: There’s no booking for it yet, so put the word out!

MJR: Oh, well maybe we can do it at the Martin Theatre [Ravinia] after GYPSY.

PL: Yeah!

MJR: Let’s do it! Let’s book you in. (both laughing)

PL: Yeah, that would be great!

MJR: Super! Well, I appreciate your time and let’s get everyone into the Vivian Beaumont to see you and your fantastic musicians in concert on May 22, 2006.

PL: My pleasure, thanks Michael.

MJR: Thank you for chatting with us at Stage Door Chicago.

Tickets for The Lady With The Torch on May 22, 2006 at the Vivian Beaumont Theater range from $50 to $500 and are available by calling Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS at 212-840-0770 or online at http://www.BroadwayCares.org.

Tickets for GYPSY at the Ravinia Festival are available at http://www.ravinia.org.

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