Broadway star Patti LuPone performs with Kean students

Patti LuPone, center in a brown dress, stands with Kean University students. Credit: Patti Banks

Patti LuPone, fifth from right in the front row, stands with Kean University students. Credit: Patti Banks

By Joshua Rosario | Published Oct. 15, 2016

Broadway star Patti LuPone performed with a group of Kean students for the opening night of Kean Stage in Enlow Hall on Sept. 17.

LuPone is a two-time Tony award winner, two-time Grammy winner and has starred in Broadway shows, including “Gypsy” and “Evita.”

She performed the second act of her show with a Kean choir. The students who performed with her received a masterclass from her earlier that day.

Dim lighting set the stage and the lights in the audience went dark. The five-foot-two-inch Broadway legend hit the stage with her pianist, Joseph Thalken.

LuPone went into the first song of the night with “Don’t Monkey with Broadway.” The second act started with the Kean choir on stage. The students sang five songs with her, and LuPone told the crowd they should be proud of the students.

Among the mature audience was 13-year-old, aspiring theater performer, Lee Rosenthal. She showed up an hour before the performance began to bring LuPone a bouquet of flowers.

“I was around five years old. I saw Gypsy and was blown away….She was my first Broadway inspiration,” said Rosenthal.

The Tower spoke with LuPone via email before her performance. Here’s what she had to say:

The Tower: How do you prep for a performance? Do you have a pre-performance ritual?
LuPone: “I sleep as late as I can, workout, vocalize and then I arrive at the theatre 2 hours before curtain to mentally prepare. My pre-performance ritual is just focusing on the event.”

The Tower: What is the one song that you have never stopped loving to perform? Why?
LuPone: “I change songs frequently but the audience always wants to hear “Don’t Cry for me Argentina” and so I love to perform it for them.”

The Tower: How do you choose the songs you perform?
LuPone: “I start with the lyrics. If it’s a good story and I’m emotionally attracted to it, I’ll want to sing it, providing the melody is good.”

The Tower: With such an amazing career in theater, TV and movies, is there anything that you still aspire to do?
LuPone: “I’m lucky to have been given all these opportunities. But I joke that I want a hit situation comedy, then I can die.”

The Tower: What advice do you have for Kean’s aspiring performers who would love to have a career like yours?
LuPone: “It is a brutal business. One needs patience and discipline, and to be able to accept the sacrifices that the business will demand.”

The Tower: What inspired you to work with the Kean students at this performance? What has the experience been like?
LuPone: “I love singing in a choir. It’s all about that huge sound. And students, still desirous and somewhat pure, are a blast to sing with.”

The Tower: Is there any opportunity that you have regretted not taking advantage of?
LuPone: “Lots, but the thing that always surprises me are the roles that do come my way. It took a long time to trust that the right role will come at the right time.”

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