Broadway legend Patti LuPone visited Pittsburgh this week, performing her one-woman show "COULDA, WOULDA, SHOULDA", accompanied by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Fans of LuPone were treated to a biographical exploration of music - both LuPone classics and things LuPone wished she had performed - as LuPone explained, "the songs that I coulda sung, I woulda sung if someone had cast me, I shoulda sung because I would have been better in the part."
From the moment that LuPone steps onstage, one cannot help be struck by the sheer power of her voice, but also by the power of her personality. As she leads the audience in witty conversation and songs reflective of her musical roots, LuPone exudes a well-earned confidence, skillfully holding the audience firmly in her grasp and never letting go.
Early on in the show, as the musical journey progresses from LuPone's powerful delivery of "I'm in Love With a Wonderful Guy" (South Pacific), and a very-Streisand like rendition of "Don't Rain on My Parade" (Funny Girl), LuPone changes like a chameleon with an incredibly beautiful, throaty rendition of "Easy to be Hard" (Hair).
One cannot help but marvel in awe at LuPone's musical skills; whether gloriously belting "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" (Evita) or softly emoting during "Meadowlark" (Baker's Wife), her interpretations are utterly exquisite and often surprising, and her enunciation is meticulous. Shifting seamlessly from one genre to another, LuPone takes on an almost country-like twang in "Sleepy Man", a touching duet with keyboardist Joseph Thalken, and it seems that she even picked up traces of Earth Kitt-sounding tones as the evening progressed.
LuPone frequently acknowledged the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, who accompanied her for the evening. She aptly reminded the audience, "I hope you know how lucky you are!", and rightly so. The PSO backed LuPone flawlessly, and also performed orchestral selections of a number of LuPone's most well known Broadway musicals during the first half of the concert.
As the evening wound down, LuPone, wielding a martini glass and a tipsy attitude, treated the audience to Sondheim's "Ladies Who Lunch" (Company). Returning to the stage one last time after resounding ovations, LuPone concluded the evening on a sentimental note, with a touching, intimate a cappella version of "100 Years From Today."