Patti LuPone Live
Summer, 1977. Los Angeles. A birthday party – I forget whose. What I remember is I spent the whole evening doubled over laughing with this girl, laughing so hard, with such abandon, that the other guests were staring at us even before she fell in the cake. This was no mere good time; this was magic, the laughter I shared with this girl. And when I left that party I knew – the way you know very few things in your life – that I had just met my best friend.
I didn’t know she could sing.
January, 1993. Los Angeles. The marquee in front of the Westwood Playhouse proclaims: “PATTI LuPONE IN CONCERT.” In the box office window, another sign: “SOLD OUT.” That sign remains there for every performance. People line up outside anyway, in the rain, hoping for a cancellation. This wasn’t intended to be an event – it’s a relatively small theatre, there hasn’t been a lot of publicity – but the buzz is that something extraordinary is happening in there. Suddenly it’s the hottest ticket in town.
By now, everybody knows she can sing.
I think back to a year ago, when she first told me she wanted to put together an act – she missed singing after four seasons on Life Goes On, she had lots of time when she wasn’t shooting, she needed to do something – and could I suggest anyone out here she might like to work with? Not off-hand. But shortly after that I took her to a house-warming where she met Scott Wittman. Fate. They began spending afternoons together, going through material, choosing songs, what about this one, have you ever heard that one … then John McDaniel was brought on as musical director and they started rehearsing … still no thought at all to what they’d do with it when they finished. Maybe play a few nights in a club before she left L.A. Maybe not. Nervous. They’d need to add some dialogue; that’s where I came in. Wrote her some pretty funny stuff. Which I watched her turn into some very funny stuff. But basically she’d be standing on a legit stage, performing this collection of songs they’d picked just because Patti loved singing them … would people think that was enough for an evening?
You should have been there.
Magic. Like the laughter we shared at that birthday party 16 years before, only this time thousands of people fell in love with her. Not with Evita, or Fantine, or Reno Sweeney, though they got them too. But what they really got – what moved them and made them laugh and brought them to their feet in standing ovations – was the girl who fell in the cake. The real person. My best friend. They got what I get. Patti LuPone. Live.
– Jeffrey Richman
Patti LuPone – Vocal
John McDaniel – Piano, Conductor
Brian Miller – Drums
Joel DiBartolo – Bass
Peter Woodford – Guitar
Mike Vaccaro – Woodwinds
Wally Snow – Percussion
Jackie O’Neill – Synthesizer
Jim McMahon – Recording Engineer
Guy Charbonneau – Recording Engineer
Steve Vining – Mixing Engineer
Mark Mason – Mixing Engineer
Matt Hathaway – Engineer
Carl Pritzkat – Assistant Producer