On Monday morning, Patti Lupone received her eighth nomination for Tony, in recognition of her portrayal of Joan, Which Leads to a Home Breakdown? – With the devastating anthem “The Ladies Who Lunch” in Stephen Sondheim and George Forth “company.“ Marian Elliott’s sex flipped Revive the showstarring Katrina Link, and opened in December after a long pandemic delay.
How did she make the song her own? “When I trained with Marianne, I saw the highchair and went, ‘I’m not going to be able to get off that highchair and go back,'” she said of the show director. I’ll just sit here. And that’s what Marianne wanted.”
She continued, “It’s all about direction. If you have a good director, your interpretation becomes unique to you. And you don’t imitate anyone else.”
Speaking from her New York City apartment, she took the time to honor her fellow stars (“Katrina Link brings our productions together, she’s such a wonderful lead lady”) and audiences who come to “The Company” as well: “They’re incredibly respectful. They keep their masks on and no phones go off. “. Below are edited excerpts of the conversation.
Is it going? Nominated for Tony Ever get old?
It’s something we aspire to as actors. Because it is an affirmation of our work. So no, it’s not getting old. How does this person feel? I don’t know. i just woke up. it’s a wonderful feeling. I mean, it was a journey–a heartbreaking, confusing, fun one. Heartbreaking because of COVID and the lockdown and the impact it has had on all of us.
When we got back for the first rehearsal, everyone was rough. We were drugged, we were scared, we weren’t sure if we would train and perform and shut up again. [The “Company” revival was in previews when Broadway shut down in March 2020.] But this is one of the most extraordinary companies I have ever worked for, due to the fact that they are all professionals. No children on show. There is no first time in the show. These are seasoned performers. And we bonded as human beings, realizing in each other that we all felt the same way.
Who is Joanne?
She is an unhappy eastern lady. She is a woman eating lunch. I am not in that category. I’m middle class, Long Island, working parents, never enough money. One day, before I thought of Joanne, I went to him Steve’s house in Connecticut With my music director because someone wanted me to sing “The Ladies Who Lunch” and I wanted his approval, direction, and feedback. In the end, he said, “I didn’t think you’d understand the song.” But I think we are all human. And the words are very clear. So who do I think she is? I think she is a wealthy, caustic, unhappy woman, covering her imperfections with a caustic sense of humor.
Stephen Sondim He died in November, two weeks before opening. Did that show change?
It is severe. The night we found out he passed away, I said, “Who makes me better?” I don’t think there is anyone as difficult, complex, and strict as Steve. Steve made me better. Every time I’ve been in a role, it has been making me better. It’s the task manager, it’s the best. I know it sounds silly, but the more he’s no longer with us, the more I miss him.
How did it feel to know that your co-stars could walk out with Covid-19 at any moment, and that you could be outside?
We’ve had our guys with us since the first day of rehearsal. They have been very well trained. We had a moment where he really was who is first. There were more students on stage than there were principles. And keep the lights on. Keep the show going. They are an extraordinary group of talented individuals who know their work. They just don’t believe it. They deserve their own Tony Award. They really do. When I was abroad, I don’t know what happened. But I have really good covers. The thing is, do you take responsibility? And these people did.
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