How best to define the differences between film and theater, and more specifically generic playgoing and that dazzling experience summed up as “Broadway?” How about simply summoning the person – and idea – that is Patti LuPone? The two-time Tony Award-winner is doing a one-night benefit for the revived and eternally revved-up Woodstock Playhouse on Saturday, May 3 at 7:30 p.m.
LuPone is the Broadway musical star of our era.She came out of the first graduating class of Juilliard’s Drama Division, alongside the equally talented Kevin Kline. She was placed into starring roles on Broadway right off the bat, and then hit it huge as Eva Perón in the Andrew Lloyd Webber hit Evita, after which she headed for the London stage when the film role was handed to Madonna. In the decades since, La LuPone has been nominated half a dozen times for major theater awards; she has played the leads in Sweeney Todd, Les Misérables, Anything Goes, Gypsy, Sunset Boulevard and Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. She has done one-woman shows, concert performances and award-winning stints at opera.
LuPone’s one of the few A-listers who can pack a house the way that Ethel Merman or Mary Martin, Julie Andrews or Angela Lansbury once could. And she does so in both New York and London, as well as everywhere she sings.
The performance coming to Woodstock features Patti LuPone with “Mayor of Broadway” Seth Rudetsky, who leads the star through tales of her career and backstage revelations, revealed recently in a best-selling memoir, question-and-answer volleys and LuPone’s own singing of a host of standards from her many hit shows.
The Woodstock Playhouse, meanwhile, has built on new producer/owners Doug Farrell and Randy Conti’s decades of success building local Broadway talent at their New York Conservatory of the Arts to create what is now one of the region’s best summer rep theaters. Productions pegged to hit the boards this summer, starting June 19, include Spamalot, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Three Musketeers and West Side Story.
Tickets for the May 3 gala include VIP options with dinner at the neighboring Cucina Restaurant and backstage time with LuPone and Seth Rudetsky.
Broadway at the Woodstock Playhouse with Patti LuPone & Seth Rudetsky, Saturday, May 3, 7:30 p.m., $150+, Woodstock Playhouse, 103 Mill Hill Road, Woodstock; (845) 679-6900, www.woodstockplayhouse.org.