Monday, October 20, 2008

CD: Patti LuPone At Les Mouches

***** (out of five stars)

I completely agree with our Patrick when he calls this upcoming release of Patti LuPone's early eighties late night cabaret act a "one-of-a-kind-gem". As opposed to current day where we are gifted with the elegant belter who delivers showstoppers from her throne in the pantheon of musical theater legends, this CD re-introduces us to the fearless, sassy, raw (yet still refined) fresh face who has something to prove.

Patti's energetic Les Mouches gig reminds me of Bette Midler's 1970 break-out "Divine Miss M" act at the Continental Baths (not that I was there but we've all seen the scratchy footage on VH1). Happily, Patti's performance was more carefully preserved and has been digitally restored for a November 11th realease.

The eclectic song-list ranging from standards ("Come Rain Or Come Shine") to jazz ("Street Of Dreams") to, of course, musical theater (yes, she sings "Don't Cry For Me Argentina"- the second time that night having performed it a few hours earlier on the Broadway stage), is peppered with playful, saucy banter that kinda makes you feel like you've travelled back in time and are there in the room with her.

My favorites include the melodious and belty "Meadowlark" from The Baker's Wife, a smooth and jazzy version of Petula Clark's "Downtown" and Springsteen/Smyth's "Because The Night" that sounds near perfect in this expressive and dramatic rendition.

I've always had a gay crush on Patti LuPone. It started with Evita and has only been stoked over the years by her many Broadway, TV and concert performances. Seeing her as Momma Rose in Gypsy earlier this year pushed me over the top though and I've been drooling for new Patti stuff ever since. Well this is it. You guys gotta get this CD!


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