I'm not exactly a theater maven but I do enjoy the theatahhhhh, and I REALLY enjoy showtune queens and their esoteric knowledge of variations in productions of The Music Man and bootleg soundtracks to Carrie: The Musical. I also like to be present for important pop culture moments, especially if they are the slightest bit highbrow. So An Evening with Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin was right up my alley.
La LuPone and Mr. Patinkin are in town as recipients of the Seventh Annual Apple Award, an award presented by the Wayne State University College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts and the Nederlander Company. They had a public Q&A and taught a master class at WSU campus this week, and then apparently decided to bring their self-produced show along with them. I'm pretty sure the big incentive to come to Detroit involves cash as well as the prestige of winning an Apple Award, but I say who cares what got them here?
[Oh, as a great aside, apparently the posters for the Q&A at Wayne State spelled Patti LuPone's name wrong, and she went around all afternoon correcting the spelling with a Sharpie she had in her purse. Awesome.]
The show was fabulous, of course, and the more you know about showtunes the more you're going to love it. In particular Sondheim and Rodgers & Hammerstein. Which, maybe, I wasn't as up-to-speed on as I could have been. But you didn't have to know the context for every song to appreciate the way everything is woven together - in particular a powerful sequence of numbers in the second act from Carousel.
There are the showstoppers you want too, of course, and I think at this point you would weep if you didn't get some Evita or Mama Rose from LuPone (although here's a theater-going tip: if you want to avoid withering glares from a group of queens, don't be morbidly obese and open cellophane candy wrappers during a Patti LuPone performance of "Everything's Coming Up Roses." I hate to be a total dick but SERIOUSLY, there is a time and a place, and that ain't it.)
All in all a wonderful evening, seeing two theater legends at the over-the-top fabulously Valley-of-the-Dolls Fisher Theater (it's a Lincoln Center-esque 1960's glamorous time warp, if you haven't been.) Upgrade your gay credentials and go!
Of course, if you go please remember the debacle from Gypsy earlier this year and do NOT take any photographs! They did announce this about five times during the performance, and watch the video below to see why!
She kept her promise, but I still kept my distance.