Theatre ReviewsTom Williams

An Evening with Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin

Conceived by Mandy Patinkin and Paul Fordlupone and Patinkin

Directed by Mandy Patinkin

Choreographed by Ann Reinking

Music Direction by Paul Ford

LuPone and Patinkin shine in a quirky Broadway revue

The unlikely duet of Broadway belter Patti LuPone and the artistic Mandy Patinkin–who first played Eva and Che together in the 1979 premiere of Evita are touring in a most entertaining two person concept revue featuring an eclectic assortment of Broaday show tunes arranged thematically to the classic boy-meets-girl relationship scenario.

lupone and Patinkin

LuPone and Patinkin belt, mimic, act and belt their tunes with verve, loads of personality and honesty. While Patti loves to ring out her tunes, Mandy seems to sing his songs totally in character. This results is much more than simply two singers hugging a microphone and singing. The stage is adorned by many ghost lights in homage to past Thespians.

They get into the characters from which their source medley using dialogue to set up the songs. They have unique transitions–some comical, some shocking.

From South Pacific’s “A Cockeyed Optimist” and “Some Enchanted Evening”, Patti and Mandy jump to “Getting Married Today” (from Company). These two have picked Broadway show tunes not from the “A” list of standards but from way down the list in order to enhance their relationship theme and to have a fresh variety of vaudeville, patter songs and cute tunes that demand acting and movement. “Baby It’s Cold Outside,”  “Everybody Says Don’t,” and “I Won’t Dance” offered fun opportunities for clowning.

There are tender moments, soaring ballads and emotionally wrenching moments. The medley from Merrily We Roll Along got Mandy deeply engaged especially with the powerful “Franklin Shepard, Inc” song. Patti strongly nailed “Everything’s Coming Up Roses,” ” In Buddy’s Eyes” and “If I Loved You.”

These two Broadway stars offered a wonderful lesson on how to land a song in character. No one can “sell” a song better than Mandy Patinkin, except for Patti LuPone! These two work hard and with their arranger , Paul Ford, deftly accompanying on piano offer a rare treat.  The song book is interesting and fresh, the singing fine for the most part but the energy and stagecraft by Patti and Mandy is dynamic and thrilling.


Tom Williams

At the Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph, Chicago, IL, tickets $18 – $120,, Wednesday, March 3 at 7:30 pm, Thursday, March 4 at 7;30 pm, Friday, March 5 at 8 pm, Saturday, March 6 at 8 pm, Sunday, March 7 at 3 pm, running time is 2 hours with intermission, through March 7, 2010

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