Patti LuPone calls Andrew Lloyd Webber an ‘alcoholic’


Ah. Patti LuPone. We love (or hate!) her for her voice, her acting, and her trademark candor. And now: LuPone leaves no stone unturned in her tell-all memoir, set to hit shelves September 14, 2010.

You can get a taste of what the book will contain in a half-hour interview at BookExpo America 2010. She’s as vibrant and funny as ever, hinting that she may be back on Broadway soon (but can’t talk about it as it’s still in negotiation stages, I’m assuming). She gripes about the dependence on microphones in the theatre to carry a performance. She challenges the interviewer when he attempts to make a point about how some great actors seem unable to carry his or her performance past the footlights. “Why do you call them great actors?,” she responds.

And then the audience Q&A starts. She gives clear advice to a young playwright looking for guidance. “[Your play] can be about anything as long as you are passionate about it. And the audience will be passionate. You want something that is going to grab and move. You find your passion, you write it down, and I guarantee you will have an audience.”

I also love what she has to say in response to the question: “Will you be on Glee?” She laughs and says, “I don’t know, we’ll see…I love that show because it’s important to those kids.” And the audience member says, “It’s made a big difference.” To which she replies, “I don’t know. It’ll make a big difference when they put music back in schools.”

The crowd applauds, and I did, at my desk, too.

And then a woman asks LuPone to expand on her famously painful experience with Sunset Boulevard, a musical for which composer Andrew Lloyd Webber broke her contract stating she was to open the role on Broadway (after having premiered the role in London for a year) in favor of the more commercially safe Glenn Close.

“There are two chapters in the book on that,” she says. “It’s a sad and shocking two chapters . . . It was one man’s self-destruction, and everybody in his way, and I think it continues to this day. [He’s] an unhappy man, and an alcoholic.”

Wow. I hope she has good lawyers.

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