“Patti LuPone: A Life in Notes” – Scottsdale Center for the Arts

Theater Review – April 17, 2024

“PATTI LUPONE: A LIFE IN NOTES” DAZZLES AT THE SCOTTSDALE CENTER

“Patti LuPone: A Life in Notes”
Scottsdale Center for the Arts, Virginia G. Piper Theater
Scottsdale AZ

By Chris Curcio
Theater Critic

Broadway diva and the reigning queen/icon of the Great White Way, Patti LuPone, dazzled a near-capacity crowd at the Scottsdale Center Tuesday re-creating her recent Carnegie Hall appearance in “A Life in Notes.”  It was a night to remember!  She winningly demonstrated throughout her generous 25 song act that her exquisite voice remains a treasure and her marvelous diction is impeccable.  Her stylish, well staged presentation, attributed to Scott Wittman, included some easy chatter that allowed her to bring her superb stage command to glowing life.

Her first act musical selections allowed her to explain what it was like to grow up on Long Island along with several pop tunes that LuPone’s Broadway fans were able to relish.  Included was a swinging new arrangement of “The King and I’s” “We Kiss in a Shadow” and a stirring rendition of “Some People” from her hit Broadway “Gypsy” revival. Other highlights included a tellingly honest “A Song for You,” a touching “Alfie,” and a rousing “The Man That Got Away.”

A word about LuPone’s stunning appearance.  In the first half, she wore a handsome black pantsuit that glittered with diamonds. After the intermission, she chose a shimmery floor length gown with a flowing cape she enjoyed swirling about. Her ensembles were created by Broadway designer Catherine Zuber.

The second act began with a beat-defying “On Broadway” and included “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” from her 1979 “Evita” triumph, “I Dreamed a Dream” from “Les Misérables,” a boozy “Ladies Who Lunch” from her London and Broadway “Company” revival that brought her both an Olivier and Tony Award, a swinging “Anything Goes” perfectly paired with Cole Porter’s “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye,” plus the Rodgers and Hart bauble “I Didn’t Know What Time it Was.”  Her encore was John Lennon and Paul McCartney’s “In My Life” coupled with a reprise of the first act closer “Those Were the Days.”

Her backup band included Joseph Thalken’s remarkable piano accompaniment and rich arrangements plus Brad Phillips who played several stringed instruments adding rich orchestrations to LuPone’s songs.  The duo even contributed bits of harmonic singing with LuPone in a couple of numbers.

It was a triumphant evening that allowed local musical theater lovers to see a true Broadway star at the height of her career.  If only we could have seen Patti LuPone in a musical, something I treasure having seen her “Evita,” “Anything Goes,” “Sweeney Todd,” “Gypsy” (in the performance she rightly stopped to order a flash photographer out of the theater), and “Company” in London.

“Patti LuPone: A Life in Notes” played a single performance.  Next season, the Scottsdale Center has announced that Kelli O’Hara will appear.  We may never see musical theater artists like LuPone or O’Hara in a show but having them here in solo performances is the next best thing.  For tickets to future Scottsdale Center for the Arts performances, call 480-499-8587 or go online at www.scottsdalearts.org.

Grade: A

2 Responses to ““Patti LuPone: A Life in Notes” – Scottsdale Center for the Arts”

  1. Brian McCann said:

    Apr 18, 24 at 12:52

    Chris:

    My daughters and I sat next to you at the event. Your review captures succinctly our experience at the concert as well. This was my third time seeing Patti in Concert — and she does not disappoint!! I first saw her when I was 18 in her final months in EVITA on Broadway, and have seen her in many Broadway shows, the last being COMPANY.

    One gentle clarification: Patti grew up on Long Island rather than Brooklyn. I believe her hometown is Northport. Long Island can be a mystery to non-East Coast people.

    I look forward to your future reviews of happenings in Phoenix.

    Thank you for your writing!
    Brian McCann

  2. Chris Curcio said:

    Apr 19, 24 at 15:11

    Brian:

    Thank you for your generous comments about my Patti LuPone review. As you will note on the website, I changed the wrong information I had about where Patti grew up. Unfortunately, I do not have a website editor so mistakes unfortunately occur. Thoughtful readers, like you, help me catch the errors and let me correct them. Like you, every musical I have seen Patti perform is a treasure in my 6,000 plus live theater experiences. Again, Brian, thanks for your comments and I welcome a new reader. Please alert me if you see any errors in future reviews.

    Chris