Theater News

Sandi Patty Tells Her Stories

The award-winning singer discusses her new CD, Broadway Stories, and doing Hello, Dolly! in concert.

Sandi Patty
Sandi Patty

Sandi Patty has been one of the Christian music world’s most popular artists for the past 30 years, but the award-winning singer has been a fan of Broadway musicals for even longer. Now, that passion is coming to the forefront. From January 13-15, she’ll be singing the title role in a concert version of Jerry Herman’s Hello, Dolly! with the Indianapolis Symphony, and she recently released her first CD of theater music, Broadway Stories. TheaterMania spoke with Patty about these projects, her favorite singers, and her dream of coming to the Great White Way.

THEATERMANIA: Tell me about these Hello, Dolly concerts.
SANDI PATTI: My dream would be to play Dolly Gallagher Levi in Hello, Dolly! on Broadway, so I’m so thrilled to do these concerts. We are not doing the entire Broadway score, but a combination of the music from Broadway and from the movie version. I believe we’re including the song Horace Vandergelder had on Broadway, because my co-star Gary Beach just has to do it. I am so excited to work with him for the first time.

TM: One of the selections on the Broadway Stories CD is “Love Is Only Love,” which was written for Barbra Streisand for the film of Hello, Dolly!. How did you choose the songs on the CD?
SP: I suppose the songs that I gravitated towards were the ones that I had become familiar with throughout my life. For example, The Sound of Music medley is there because I saw the movie as a child, I played Maria in college, and I thought you really can’t do a Broadway record without something from The Sound of Music. Over the last probably 16 years, I’ve done a lot of concerts with symphonies, so a great deal of the music was songs from them and which we already had arrangements for.

TM: Can you choose one song on the CD that means more than any other to you?
SP: I suppose the one song that is deeply personal for me is “Send in the Clowns,” because when I heard that for the first time — probably twentyish years ago — I remember thinking “I don’t ever want to be like that in my own personal career. I want to choose family and I want to choose children and I don’t want to get to the end of my life and say “I wish I would have done it differently.”

TM: How did your “A Doll Sings The Guys” medley come about?
SP: I have two younger brothers, and my parents would always get us the cast recordings of all these musicals. So when I was a kid, we would do our own little pantomimed Broadway musicals in our living room, and we’d charge my parents 25 cents to come see it. And at the time, it seemed to me that all the great roles went to men. And that’s how I learned to sing “We Got Trouble” and “If I Were a Rich Man.” So it just seemed appropriate to put these songs on the CD. It was a lot of fun.

TM: Were you conscious of picking songs that might appeal to — or at least not offend — your Christian music base?
SP: I don’t think I was as conscious of my inspirational fan base as much as I tried to pick songs that were a reflection of me. And no matter what, I always want to try to make a record that if my kids were still young they could listen to.

TM: Did you consider putting anything on the CD from Godspell or Jesus Christ Superstar?
SP: I’m not that familiar with Godspell, but I love Jesus Christ Superstar. Theologically, I think it’s quite fabulous. I know that a lot of people in the Christian community have an issue with how it ends, but I think it’s amazing to see Jesus’ life as a real person.

TM: Did you get to see any Broadway musicals when you were a kid?
SP: No, but I took a trip to New York with my college drama class and we saw five musicals and five plays and it was just amazing. And it wasn’t just about what was happening on stage, but just being in the theaters. It was an incredible experience.

TM: Did you ever consider acting as a career instead of singing?
SP: At one point, after high school, I thought about going to UCLA and studying drama but music just seemed to be the doors that were opening for me back then.

TM: What singers inspired you when you were younger? And who do you admire today?
As a kid, I really listened a lot to Barbra Streisand, Karen Carpenter, and Julie Andrews. As for today, I adore both Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth. I think Lea Michele has a really incredible instrument. I love Mandisa, who was on American Idol, and I think that Natalie Grant, who’s also a Christian artist, is really an amazing singer!

TM: So, do you think you want to take a turn at acting on Broadway? And if not in Hello, Dolly, what show would you want to do?
SP: I don’t want to be presumptuous and think I can step into this world of Broadway, but I would do it in a heartbeat if someone asked. I’d love to play Madame Morrible, because I am a huge Wicked fan. It’s the story behind the story that really fascinates me about that sow. The other part that I would love to do is Carlotta in Phantom of the Opera. I think she’s fabulous.

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Hello Dolly

Closed: January 14, 2012