Born To Sing … And Dance, And Act

Patti LuPone Sweeney Todd pattilupone.net

Maybe Patti LuPone wasn't a star in her days at New York's famed Julliard school, but she went on to become one of Broadway's most famous leading ladies, lighting up the stage in shows like "Anything Goes."

LuPone joked with CBS Sunday Morning contributor Rita Braver that while she wants to be considered an actor who sings, most of her fans, "want me to sing."

"Thank God I have a voice," LuPone says.

And LuPone can really belt it out. Whether it's singing standards or warming up for her role in the Broadway revival of "Sweeney Todd," as the wife of the delightfully wicked London baker who makes meat pies out of human beings killed by the demon barber Sweeney Todd.

LuPone says she thoroughly enjoys her part as Mrs. Lovett. "She's pragmatic and she'll do anything to keep her man."

As LuPone prepared for one evening's performance, she spoke about the importance of performing all aspects of a role.

"It's really the actors craft to know how to prep…how to put on a wig…how to create a character make up," she says.

LuPone even plays the tuba in the show, just one of the many skills she picked up growing up on Long Island where she was voted "Most Musical, Most Dramatic and Class Clown in high school.

Yet Lupone says she was only 4 when she realized acting was what she wanted to do with her life. "I fell in love with the audience," LuPone admits.

But it was her time here at Julliard that really turned her into a pro.

"The teachers were trying to break down your individual psyche to create the Julliard actor," she says. But, we weren't necessarily given that information. We were getting slugged in the head, slugged in the head, slugged in the heart, slugged in the — the groin."

While choking up a little, LuPone half-jokingly says of the Julliard experience, "I still haven't recovered. You get a technique that is still blossoming to this day; a technique, an understanding, an experience."
  • Sean Alfano

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