Las Vegas Sun

September 19, 2014

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MUSIC:

See a real talent. But for your own sake, ditch the cell phone.

If You Go

  • Who: Patti LuPone, “The Gypsy In My Soul”
  • When: 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
  • Where: Orleans Showroom
  • Admission: $33-$60.50; orleanscasino.com or 365-7075

Patti Lupone yells

Patti Lupone remix

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In a world where merit equaled mass popularity, Patti LuPone would be headlining at Caesars Palace along with Bette and Cher. Instead, LuPone — the Broadway star’s Broadway star — headlines Saturday and Sunday at the Orleans Showroom, where she’ll debut her new solo show, “The Gypsy in My Soul.”

LuPone, 60, is notorious for being as passionate, fearless, frank and funny as the characters she’s created on Broadway in “Evita,” “Sweeney Todd,” “Les Miserables” and “Gypsy.”

Her YouTube moment

So if you’re going to be in her audience this weekend, you had better be on your best behavior. LuPone became an Internet sensation this year when she literally stopped the show — her penultimate performance as Mama Rose in the Broadway revival of “Gypsy,” no less — and royally chewed out some jerk who was taking flash photos during her big song.

LuPone’s ferocious tirade was seen by hundreds of thousands on YouTube, and a “remix” video quickly followed.

“It’s a serious problem in New York — everywhere, really,” LuPone says, referring to audience rudeness. “Just recently it happened again. (Actress) Janet McTeer was doing a scene in ‘Mary Stuart’ — she was at the final scene where she’s going off to be beheaded, and a cell phone goes off.”

LuPone says she received support and applause from the acting community after her outburst.

“Of course, people know who I am, so it wasn’t unusual that I would do it,” she laughs. “Everybody’s angry about it, and I voiced it, because I was sick and tired of it.”

Popularity Boyle-d over

LuPone found herself the unlikely beneficiary of another recent pop cultural juggernaut: After Susan Boyle sang “I Dreamed a Dream” from “Les Miserables” on “Britain’s Got Talent,” sales of the show’s original cast album instantly shot up, putting a few royalty coins in LuPone’s pocket — she originated the role of Fantine in the show.

For her Vegas visit, LuPone is interrupting her concert tour with Mandy Patinkin, which reunited the lifelong friends for the first time since they originated the roles of Che Guevara and Eva Peron in the 1979 Broadway production of “Evita.”

LuPone played the Suncoast two years ago, just before she did “Gypsy” in New York, and sold out with a piano-and-voice show. With Scott Whitman, her director “and conceptualist, if there is such a word,” LuPone put together a new show, cherry-picking songs from her stage career. She’ll meet her 10-piece Las Vegas orchestra when she flies in today.

So what kind of trouble is LuPone planning for her next big YouTube splash?

“God forbid,” she says, laughing. “I don’t want to be on YouTube. But it’s a double-edged sword: If I’m on YouTube, and I’m introduced to a whole group of people that have never gone to the theater, then it’s great.”

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