Patti LuPone

Coulda, woulda, shoulda

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Patti LuPone is pretty much a total badass.

Which is kind of a strange thing to say about a highly respected, Juilliard-educated, Tony-winning Broadway denizen, but facts is facts, and the fact is, LuPone fits the description of one who is a badass.

You can see it in the kind of stage roles she tackles—she was Broadway’s first Evita, a role that won her her first Tony. She played Fantine in Les Miserables, Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard, Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd (and scored a Tony nod), Mama Rose in Gypsy (for which she won her second Tony), and Lucia in Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (Tony nomination for that one too). And that impressive rundown barely scratches the surface of a theater career that has spanned more than four decades.

You can also see her badassery in the way she refuses to limit herself to one discipline, one artistic medium. Put her onstage, and she’ll act her guts out—and she’ll sing whatever you’ve got, no matter how much skill or stamina is required. She’s also made frequent appearances on the big screen, mostly in smaller character parts, but she has a way of making the most of such parts, whether she’s playing supporting roles in State and Main, Driving Miss Daisy, or Witness.

LuPone has also been a familiar face on the small screen, most notably (at least if you’re me) as Libby Thatcher, the fierce and tender mother on TV drama Life Goes On. Some of LuPone’s best television work has been in the form of recurring walk-on roles in various series. I always know when she shows up as defense attorney Ruth Miller on Law and Order (it’s always on in syndication somewhere), it’s going to be an especially entertaining episode, and the same goes for her turns on 30 Rock, American Horror Story, and Penny Dreadful. And then there was that time she was nominated for an Emmy for her work in an episode of Frasier involving juggling and a potentially vengeful mother.

If you do not find yourself duly impressed by LuPone yet, I’d like to take this opportunity to point out that she once won a Grammy for an opera album—and opera isn’t even LuPone’s main thing, although it is an incredibly difficult discipline many people devote their entire lives to.

But she’s not just a badass in her professional achievements—LuPone has proven to be a woman you do not want to cross under other circumstances as well. Take, for instance, the time during a 2009 performance of Gypsy when LuPone stopped the show in the middle of “Rose’s Turn” and demanded a flash-happy cell-phone photographer be removed from the audience. That should’ve served as a warning to all audiences henceforth and forever, but in 2015, when confronted by a persistent texter in an intimate theater during the second act of Shows for Days, LuPone snatched the phone from the offender’s hand. In doing so, she lived out the dreams of every person who never wants to see another cell phone pulled out during a performance, or the grainy, poor-quality photos and video that are the inevitable result of all that profound distraction.

LuPone, a longtime and outspoken opponent of cell phones and cameras in theatrical locales, was unapologetic during the dustup that followed, saying, “We work hard onstage to create a world that is being totally destroyed by a few, rude, self-absorbed and inconsiderate audience members who are controlled by their phones. They cannot put them down. When a phone goes off or when a LED screen can be seen in the dark it ruins the experience for everyone else—the majority of the audience at that performance and the actors on stage.”

All hail our new queen, Patti LuPone.

Consider yourselves warned when LuPone hits town for a Sat., April 23 show at the Mount Baker Theatre called “Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda…played that part.” Leave it to LuPone to focus a concert, not on the many, many successes of her long career, but instead on the stuff she didn’t do, but wanted to—the music, the iconic parts, the classic pieces from material as varied as Hair, Peter Pan, Funny Girl, Westside Story, and others. Along with singing out her Broadway bucket list, LuPone will also smatter in some of the songs that have made her a beloved staple on the Great White Way, and will not doubt put her dramatic skills to use in the telling of stories and regaling of recollections. It’ll be a night so unforgettable, you won’t even need a poorly composed cell phone photo to remember it by.

ICU Roof #2
More Music...
Unseasonal Sounds
Say no to Christmas creep

Christmas creep is real.

This year, I saw my first Christmas display the day after Halloween. I walked into a store in downtown Bellingham expecting to see marked-down candy and costumes and instead walked smack into Kris Kringle, his associates and some of their accoutrements. I’m…

more »
Jazz Walk
Of musical meanderings

Bellingham is a town of walkers.

I’m not talking about the flesh-chewing zombies of The Walking Dead—Bellingham might have its issues, but it’s a far cry from being a post-apocalyptic hellscape.

I’m referring to actual walking, an activity that is boring on its own, but, when…

more »
Cornering the market

You can’t walk half a block in Bellingham these days without running into a brewery or a music venue. Places to grab a pint or see a band—or both—are nothing if not plentiful and we are nothing if not proud of that. To be frank, we can be a little smug about our embarrassment of…

more »
Home for the Holidays

5:00pm|Ferndale Events Center

The 39 Steps

7:00pm|Sehome High School Little Theatre

Little Women

7:00pm|Ferndale High School

Peter and the Star Catcher

7:00pm|Squalicum High School

Romeo, You Idiot!

7:30pm|Heiner Theater


7:30pm|Mount Baker High School

Craft Bazaar

9:00am|American Legion Post #43

Holiday Festival of the Arts

10:00am|Meridian Street

Hot Cider & Cool Art

10:00am|Morgan Block Studios

Used Book Sale

10:00am|Everson Library

Red Barn Handpicked Holiday Market

12:00pm|Northwest Washington Fairgrounds

Holiday Gifts from the Kitchen

3:00pm|Lynden Library, Ferndale Library

It's Where the Sidewalk Ends

6:00pm|Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth

New Music, New Dance

7:30pm|Performing Arts Center Concert Hall

The Big Short One-Act Festival

7:30pm|McIntyre Hall

Bellingham Repertory Dance's Emerge

7:30pm|Firehouse Performing Arts Center

Backyard Brawl

8:00pm|Upfront Theatre

VFW Breakfast

8:00am|VFW Hall

Pancake Breakfast

8:00am|Ferndale Senior Center

Pancake Feed

8:00am|VFW Post 1585

Holiday Bazaar

9:00am|Hillcrest Chapel

Christmas in the Woods

9:00am|Garden Spot Nursery

NSEA Work Party

9:00am|Acme Elementary School

Turkey Trot

9:00am|Squalicum Creek Park

Climate Reality

10:00am|Bellingham Public Library

South Fork Winterfest

10:00am|Van Zandt Community Hall

Fall Gardening

10:00am|Lynden Library

Cheese Fest

10:00am|Everybody's Store

Bellingham Farmers Market

10:00am|Depot Market Square

Rexville Grange Holiday Art Show

10:00am|Rexville Grange

Holiday Farmers Market

10:00am|Port of Anacortes Transit Shed Event Center

Lynden Book Club

10:30am|Everson Library

Salmon Sighting

12:00pm|Haynie Creek

Conquering Writer's Block

2:00pm|South Whatcom Library

Fishboy Holiday Show

2:00pm|FishBoy Gallery

NaNoWriMo and Indie Publishing

3:00pm|Everson Library

Skagit Wine & Beer Festival


Homeless Summit and Cold Weather Giveaway

3:00pm|Maritime Heritage Park

i.e. artists talk

3:30pm|i.e. gallery

Small Works Opening

4:00pm|Matzke Fine Art Gallery and Sculpture Park

Smith & Vallee Artist Talk

4:00pm| Smith & Vallee Gallery

WA 129 Poetry Reading

6:00pm|Maple Hall

Giving from the Heart

7:00pm|Depot Art Center

A Light in the Darkness

7:00pm|Church of the Assumption

Welcome Home Celebration

7:00pm|Village Books

Ruach Consort

7:00pm|St. Paul's Episcopal Church

Contra Dance

7:00pm|Eagles Hall

Michael Kaeshammer

7:30pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Legends of the Blues V

7:30pm|Byrnes Performing Arts Center

Bellingham Farmer’s Market
Peter and the Star Catcher

7:00pm|Squalicum High School


7:30pm|Mount Baker High School

Holiday Festival of the Arts

10:00am|Meridian Street

Bellingham Repertory Dance's Emerge

7:30pm|Firehouse Performing Arts Center

Rexville Grange Holiday Art Show

10:00am|Rexville Grange

Cheese Fest

10:00am|Everybody's Store

Holiday Farmers Market

10:00am|Port of Anacortes Transit Shed Event Center

Rabbit Ride

8:00am|Fairhaven Bicycle

Community Breakfast

8:00am|American Legion Post #43

Rabbit Ride

8:30am|Fairhaven Bicycle

Getting in on the act


Sound of Music Singalong

1:00pm|Lincoln Theatre

A Musical Thanksgiving

2:00pm|McIntyre Hall

Harmony from Discord with Whatcom Symphony Orchestra

3:00pm|Mount Baker Theatre

The 25th Hour

4:00pm|Village Books

Southside Community Meal

5:00pm|Our Saviour's Lutheran Church

Way North Comedy Showcase

7:00pm|Farmstrong Brewing Co.

Rutie Dornfeld, John Miller

7:00pm|YWCA Ballroom

Bellingham Farmer’s Market Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1
Holiday Festival of the Arts

10:00am|Meridian Street

Wander + Camber Beer Dinner

6:30pm|Camber Cafe

Rocks & Gems

7:00pm|Bloedel Donovan Community Building


9:30pm|Green Frog

see our complete calendar »

Trove Village Books Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 Kaeshammer Bellingham Farmer’s Market