LuPone, Patti (1949—)

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LuPone, Patti (1949—)

One of the finest singing actresses of the late twentieth century, Patti LuPone has carved a place in cultural iconography as one of the finest late twentieth century exponents of a great American art form, the Broadway musical. Her voice, at once full and strong, lyrical and smooth, also has a distinctive, instantly recognizable steely quality that thrills audiences. Her remarkable vocal technique, combined with her parallel strength as a dramatic actress, has immeasurably enhanced her interpretation of the heavyweight roles that her talents have brought her way. Juilliard-trained, Lupone rose to Broadway stardom as Evita (1979), winning Tony and Drama Desk awards for her riveting portrayal of Eva Peron. Other highlights of her career include creating the role of Fantine in Les Miserables for the Royal Shakespeare Company in London—the city to which she returned to create Norma Desmond in Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical version of Sunset Boulevard. And it was in London, too, in 1997, that she played the dramatic role of Maria Callas in Terence McNally's play Master Class. Her star quality at home was confirmed with the Lincoln Center revival of Anything Goes (1987), and the revival of Pal Joey (1995), while her versatility has brought her work in film and on television, notably as Libby Thatcher in ABC's Life Goes On (1989-93).

—William A. Everett

Further Reading:

Gans, Andrew. "My Heart Belongs to Patti." Playbill. Vol. 14, No. 1,October 31, 1995, 50-53.