Thursday, June 25, 2009

review - An Evening with Patti Lupone & Mandy Patinkin

An Evening with Patti Lupone and Mandy Patinkin
conceived by Mandy Patinkin and Paul Ford
directed by Mandy Patinkin
Ahmanson Theatre
through June 29 only
Mandy Patinkin and Patti Lupone, legendary stage stars that they are, have more than a few tricks up their theatrical sleeves. However, the true grit of an artist shines through when he does not use any of them, but rather says the words, sings the songs and bares his soul.
Such can be said of both of these artists, who, in their simplistically staged concert at the Ahmanson Theatre, do more with one song than most singers merely dream of. She with "In Buddy's Eyes", he with "The God-Why-Don't-You-Love-Me Blues"; she with "April in Paris", he with "April in Fairbanks"; she with "Getting Married Today", he with "Franklin Shepard Inc". The list goes on and on. Rodgers and Hammerstein and Sondheim have never sounded better, and the two even have some fun along the way. A dance here, some choreography on chairs there...and even some mime. A bare theatre stage, some lights, a few chairs as props, musicians and two brilliant singing actors relating the ins and outs of love through the great Broadway music of the past.
Of course, there's her signature "Don't Cry For Me, Argentina" and the more recent "Everything's Coming Up Roses" from her Tony-winning portrayal of Mama Rose in Gypsy thrown in for good measure- Lupone has never sounded or looked better; she simply grows finer with age. Patinkin's tenor voice, on the other hand, cannot hit all of the upper notes and his excessively quivering tremelo is now more caricatured than ever ... but, he infuses the work with everything he's got, and for that alone, I admire and respect him, self-indulgence, warts and all!
This is a great evening of theatre that all performers should see- and everyone else as well, for the pure entertainment and CLASS of it.
5 out of 5 stars


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