Patti Lupone tells Dallas Voice, “I appreciate people appreciating me.” (Photo by Douglas Friedman)

Patti LuPone talks about going solo with her life story

RICH LOPEZ | Staff writer

There are numerous Broadway divas and legends who are also gay icons: Idina Menzel, Kristin Chenoweth, Jennifer Holiday, Betty Buckley — and the list goes on.

And then there’s Patti.

Patti LuPone is in a league of her own. Perhaps it’s her no-nonsense demeanor that doesn’t stand for misbehavior in the theater. Or maybe it’s her strong opinions that often inspire gay gasps and clutched pearls.

Whatever it is, Patti LuPone’s strength of character — and in her characters —stands on its own.

The legend puts that on display on March 23 for one night only with her solo show Patti LuPone: A Life in Notes at the Eisemann Center in Richardson.

Just last year, LuPone headlined Turtle Creek Chorale’s Rhapsody Gala. In some ways, that offered a glimpse into this upcoming show as she regaled the audience with anecdotes from throughout her career. The three-time Tony winner calls A Life in Notes a personal music memoir that touches on her life through song and story.

Patti Lupone says of her one-woman shows, like her upcoming performance at The Eisemann Center, “These concerts are me.” (Photo by of Rahav Segev)

Of course, if she were singing and reading the telephone book, she’d still draw an audience.

LuPone spoke with Dallas Voice by phone about the show, her gay icon status and why Hollywood wasn’t in her sights — that is after an embarrassing admission which may have helped settle any nerves before chatting with a legend.

Dallas Voice: Hello Ms. LuPone. To be honest, I almost missed this call because I was playing a game on my phone. 
Patti LuPone: (Extended laughter)

It was pretty intense. Do you have a phone app that you spend a lot of time on? Well, yes. I don’t play games on my phone. I just troll, really.

Even better! To get right into it, you are undoubtedly a queer icon. Was there a moment or maybe even a role where you knew you were in with the gays? I grew up with gays in my life. My oldest friend is gay, and, at the time, when I was five, we didn’t say “homo” or “gay.” I just knew he was different.

All that was quite normal in my household with no discrimination. So I think that helped me.

You were already vibing on that gay wavelength. Maybe that’s the baseline of what resonates with us outside of your signature roles and songs. The whole icon status — I appreciate people appreciating me. I am grateful however I can make an impression and that people can latch onto that.

I think I resonate with the gay community because there was a similarity. I would see a prejudice against me throughout my career and sometimes even at home. I would always question why, and I don’t even know why I do it.

Did those questions come regarding your friend or in general? I have this need to understand why things occur or happen, and I’ve been in trouble all my life for doing it. As a kid, I’d get punished for it and not understand. That built a rage inside of me to challenge people. I think people would rather not discuss anything, and it’s a ritual that’s passed down.

Do you go back to your childhood in A Life in Notes? Oh yes. But you know, it’s more about the music. Rock-and-roll and I grew up together, so that was my first choice of music. There was always music in the house. There’s music in everyone’s life that triggers emotions. Those touchstones are part of the show, and, plus, listening to those stage musicals as well — I knew I’d end up on the stage.

We associate you with Broadway almost exclusively and with a cast. How then do you approach this show where not only are you solo, but also not in a character? There’s something about doing one-person shows that you’re just more in control of. There is no mask or character. These concerts are me. You have to look the audience in the eyes with confidence.

Did you not want to do the Hollywood route? We see you pop up in movies and shows, but mostly you’re on Broadway it seems. I always dreamed of Hollywood, but I was told early on my face was not Hollywood material. I wasn’t the all-American white girl. I’d love to finish my career on TV and film.

But I did just do a show for Marvel, and that was great!

Patti LuPone in the Marvel Universe. Wow. I know — I’m so glad I did that!

You’ve played Evita, JoAnne in Company, Rose in Gypsy and so many other iconic roles. Which of your characters would you be friends with? I love this question. All of them! Yeah you have to love the character, even if they are villains. They all have some purity of heart, and that’s where they discover how they are. That helps me with their goodness and liking them.

For tickets, visit