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Our Favorite Patti LuPone Quotes

LuPone celebrates her birthday today, and we look back on some of our best interviews with the Broadway legend.

Two-time Tony winner Patti LuPone turns 71 today. As we all await her return to Broadway (and Broadway's return) in Company, as well as her next basement tour, we decided to look through our past interviews with the legend and pick out some of our favorite quotes.

Patti LuPone
(© David Gordon)

On the problem of cell phones in the theater:

"It's a much bigger problem than just cell phones going off in the theater. It's a state of mind. There's an entitlement, a self-absorption. There's no consideration, no respect, for the person you're looking at."


On the challenges of doing theater in the 21st century:

"Technical rehearsals, now, seem to be longer and more arduous, more brutal, because everything is automated. I say two things: 'I miss indifferent stagehands pushing scenery on and off the stage,' and, 'Whatever happened to four weeks in New Haven?' It's endless. It's all about the automation now, the moving parts."


On enunciating:

"That has been a consistent problem for me. When I get emotional, I don't enunciate. Emotions take over the performance."


On her favorite kind of music to listen to:

"The first thing I turn on is classical music. My favorite composers are the ones that tell the story. I love Wagner. I love Mahler. Prokofiev. The programmatic music. I listen more to classic rock because I don't like the contemporary music very much. My favorite band was The Band, and nobody compares in my mind with The Band."


On the new crop of Broadway talent, circa 2017:

"I cannot believe the amount of talent onstage. The talent is extraordinary. I don't know where it comes from. The girl that's nominated from Great Comet [Denée Benton], and the young, blond boy [Lucas Steele]? Holy shit. They're unbelievable. So, so talented. I hope that they always have really, really great material to showcase it, and, especially, to grow. And that they understand what they need to do to grow."`


On the challenges of performing Stephen Sondheim's music and lyrics:

"They are a challenge to sing accurately, both musically and lyrically. They're a wonderful challenge because there's a great reward at the end if you sing it accurately. But I can't say that I've achieved it! [laughs] He wants his notes hit as written, and it's hard to hit a note as written. I'll get to the note if I swing up or down to it. He's gotten on me swooping. [laughs] When we did Company in London and Steve came over to see it, he said I wasn't singing the melody. So Joel Fram, the musical director, and I, went back to the score and he plunked it out for me note by note, and I endeavor to sing it exactly as Steve wrote. We still do that to this day."


On doing Evita again:

"I'd love to do one night with Mandy [Patinkin] in Evita. It's been denied us twice by the famous asshole. They wanted to do it at the Hollywood Bowl; Seth [Rudetsky] wanted to do it for the Actors Fund. It's been denied us. One night of Evita. That would be fun."


On awards:

"I think the whole awards thing is stressful. Sometimes it's easier not to get nominated than to get nominated and lose. But you do want that recognition any way you slice it; even if you know if you're doing your best, you want your peers to recognize your work."


On giving advice to people hoping to have a long, prosperous career in theater:

"Study. Know what you are doing. Don't be like that idiot Donald Trump. Know the history and ply your craft. You want longevity? Know your craft."


On Twitter (before she decided to join):

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