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Patti LuPone comes home to Tilles Center

Tony winner and Long Island native Patti LuPone

Tony winner and Long Island native Patti LuPone brings her "Gypsy in my Soul" concert to Tilles Center in Brookville on Dec. 11, 2010. Photo Credit: Handout

Patti LuPone takes a night off from Broadway's "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown" for a homecoming. The Tony-winning actress from Northport takes center stage at Tilles Center Saturday, belting out greatest-hit show tunes from her storied career.

The concert, "Patti LuPone: The Gypsy in My Soul," suggests not only the more recent of her two best actress Tonys ("Gypsy" 2008, "Evita" 1979), but also the passion behind a show-biz life that began at age 4, when she was a dance-class darling at Ocean Avenue Elementary, where her dad, Orlando, was principal. Here are five of our favorite tidbits about the hometown girl made good:


1. IT REALLY IS A HOMECOMING

Tilles Center, or more precisely the C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University, was the incubator for LuPone's stage ambition. As a kid, she'd hang out at the theater next door to the library where her mom, Angela, worked.


2. A FAMILY ACT

One of her brothers, Robert, caught the bug, too. The original Zach in "A Chorus Line" is co-artistic director of Off-Broadway's MCC Theatre. Robert's twin, William, who still lives in Northport, followed in his parents' footsteps as a teacher and a librarian.

The siblings formed the singing LuPone Trio when Patti was 4 and her brothers were 7.


3. FROM STRIPPER TO STAGE MOM

In 1966, Patti, then 16, played Louise in "Gypsy" for Patio Players, a local troupe performing at the old Northport High School. Louise is the taken-for-granted daughter who becomes burlesque star Gypsy Rose Lee. "I was singing 'Let Me Entertain You,' and stripping in front of people who were going to be my teachers," LuPone recalled. Forty-three years later, the hit revival of "Gypsy" closed rather than replace LuPone as Mama Rose when she left the show.


4. DON'T CRY FOR ME, DAVID MAMET

When Harold Prince cast her in her Broadway breakthrough, "Evita," LuPone almost turned it down. She had another offer - a part in a play by her friend David Mamet. Worse, she disliked Andrew Lloyd Webber's score. "All I could think was that this guy . . . hated women," she writes in "Patti LuPone: A Memoir."


5. SIR ANDREW REDUX

Maybe it was karma. Maybe Sir Andrew knew what LuPone thought of his music. Whatever. After originating the Norma Desmond role in London for "Sunset Boulevard," she was replaced by Glenn Close when the show transferred to Broadway in 1994. LuPone has added another Tony since. Lloyd Webber hasn't.


WHAT: "Patti LuPone: The Gypsy in My Soul" concert

WHEN | WHERE: 8 p.m. Saturday, Tilles Center, C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University, Brookville

INFO: $52-$102, tillescenter.org, 516-299-3100

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