Patty LuPone to perform in Sarasota

mclear@bradenton.comMarch 23, 2014 

Broadway star Patty Lupone performs Tuesday in Sarasota. PUBLICITY PHOTO

Patti LuPone doesn't seem to want to reveal much about her upcoming show in Sarasota.

If you met someone at cocktail party, she's asked, what would you tell him about your show?

"I wouldn't tell that person about my show," she says.

Ok, then, what about someone who was considering buying a ticket?

"I wouldn't tell that person about my show either," she says.

Eventually, the Broadway superstar, speaking in a phone interview from her Connecticut home, lets go of a little information.

"It's a travelogue," she says. "It's called 'The Gypsy in My Soul.' It's me and a pianist."

She's bringing the show to the Van Wezel performing Arts Hall on Tuesday.

The show's divided into two acts. The first act consists simply of some of the songs she loves to sing. The second act, the travelogue part, traces her career through the songs that she has helped make famous and songs that have helped make her famous, plus some that influenced her along the way.

It's a malleable show, she says, and it changes from one performance to the next. It will always include songs from some of her Broadway hits -- "Evita," "Gypsy" and "Anything Goes" among them -- and recent incarnations in other cities have included "My Way," "I Want to be Around" and "The Man I Love."

LuPone was already prominent in the New York theatre world when she took the title role in "Evita" in 1979. That role made her a star, and "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" became one of her signature songs.

She's still largely considered a stage performer, and especially a musical theater performer. She's often associated with Stephen Sondhiem, thanks to starring roles in "Gypsy," Sweeney Todd" and "Company" on Broadway, and concert presentations of Sondheim musicals.

But she's done a lot of straight plays on Broadway, including a recent David Mamet play with Debra Winger, and her television and film resume is surprisingly full.

Among her most prominent TV roles was "Life Goes On," a family dra

ma that ran for four years in the '80s and '90s. The show was most noteworthy for the presence of Chris Burke, and actor with Down Syndrome who played LuPone's son.

"It was wonderful working with Chris," she said. "I really enjoyed that opportunity to watch him grow during those four years. I haven't talked to him recently. He's doing a lot of work as an advocate for Down Syndrome."

She's also probably thought of more as dramatic actor, and she's been featured in such films as "Summer of Sam" and in such TV shows as "Oz."

But anyone who thinks of her that way, she says, "doesn't know much about my career. I've done a lot of comedy -- "Frasier," "30 Rock."

Most recently, she played herself on an episode of the acclaimed HBO series "Girls."

"Oh, I loved doing that," she said. "I think that the most fun I've ever had on a set. There's one more episode coming up."

The audience for her Van Wezel show, though, will see the singer, not the actor. She's been called one of the greatest singers of contemporary American music, and she intersperses her songs with stories from her Broadway shows, which have ranged from William Shakespeare to Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Details: 8 p.m. March 25, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall is 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Tickets are $60-$90. Call 941-953-3368 or go to www.vanwezel.org.

Marty Clear, features writer/columnist, can be reached at 941-708-7919. Follow twitter.com/martinclear.

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