Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Boston area is once again in the cold and damp with periods of heavy rain and a lot of stinging wind-blown drizzle. Pardon me, is this golbal warming or global cooling? Or is it global exchange--the poles melt and the temperate zones freeze?

But it's warm up at Fritz's with all the wood stoves going. We're cooking this weekend for the Body Electric School. It's a very intimate group this time, ten men taking the program and three in the presentation crew. It's going to be very easy on the two of us--all the breakfast dishes, cups, bowls and glassware, including all serving and preparation pieces--went into the biog industrial Hobart dishwasher in just four trays. I LOVE that machine--I have great fun working it and, of course, working closely with a group of gay men is always something we look forward to.

We kicked the weekend off last night with a performance at the Portsmouth Music Hall by Patti LuPone doing her one woman show "Woulda, coulda, shoulda." It's a well-constructed retrospective of her considerable career (which reportedly continues at top speed with a planned new production of "Gypsy" in the works).

She began by detailing leading roles performed in childhood on back yard patios and in school, singing the numbers and building up to her audition at the newly formed Juilliard School division of theater (John Houseman on her classical speech: "Miss LuPone, I don't believe that's exactly what Shakespeare had in mind") where she was admitted on the basis of a cute little novelty number that she performed last night with virtuoso speed and energy.

The entire program was a joyous romp through songs she sang on stage, would love to have performed, or could have performed if only someone had been smart enough at the time to cast her. Highlights of part one were her singing both roles--Anita and Maria--in "A boy like that!" from "West Side Story" (doing a delicious send-up of Chita Rivera in the process), and "Don't cry for me, Argentina" from . . . you know.

Part two began with her singing men's songs from three musicals, declaring that as she was the only leading man on stage at the time, these belonged to her. She aced "Trouble" from "The Music Man", and then took on Billy's big monolog from "Carousel", singing it with more sustained dramatic power than some of the men who've attempted it on stage recently.

After several other songs, including two by Sondheim ("Here's to the ladies who lunch" in a bitter, rueful interpretation that was just about perfect), she did two encores to rapturous applause (the audience was filled with gay men and others who knew their Broadway cold) and then appeared before the curtain to sing a final encore a capella and without amplification, doing some of her best actual singing of the night. Throughout she was hugely communicative and highly personal. A great evening.

It sounds like an amazingly wonderful weekend. The music, the food, the very cool dishwasher!, and the fun. Oh, and the wood stove too.
I very much enjoy Ms. Patti.
She is one of my favorites.
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