I owe Anna & her parents big time for this one: I cannot stress how enjoyable Patti LuPone & Audra McDonald's concert was. Even (more?) exciting was seeing my new good friend Ted Sperling bubbly conduct Ravinia's wonderful 50-some person orchestra. Sitting for two hours with a smile plastered on my face, a tap in my toe, and several tears in my eyes was no easy feat, but I somehow found the gumption to solider on (we're at war, people..it's the least I could do).
Performance highlights included Ms. McDonald's renditions of Sondheim's "Glamorous Life" from the stinker-of-a-film "adaptation" of A Little Night Music (being a famous mother on the road = saddies), Michael John LaChiusa's one-of-a-kind gift "When Lola Sings," & Loesser's tricky, wordy, & energetic "Talking About Him." Ms. LuPone floored me with Styne's "Don't Rain on My Parade" and personally reinvented Sondheim's already near-perfect "The Ladies Who Lunch."
Filling our evening with unscheduled glee were the two Theatre Gays sitting two front in front of us. The need to powerfully mouth-along to "Meadowlark" couldn't be suppressed, so The Gays emoted their little hearts out, much to the delight & annoyance of Anna, myself, and Mr. & Mrs. Theatregoers, who happened to catch the in-house show too. The Gays weren't alone later when Patti took on Joanne from Company. Mr. & Mrs. Theatregoers felt inspired to silently inform the people sitting around them that they, too, knew all the words to "The Ladies Who Lunch." A fact unnoticed by The Gays, who were busy jauntily emoting their own renditions. It was a lip-sync-a-thon, but Patti had the mic (like a Bizarroworld drag show, only with less depression & more straight people).
An evening with LuPone & McDonald, two comical women in their own right, wouldn't be complete without a few line-liners. Ms. McDonald had to ask Sperling & the orchestra to stop playing after the first verse of "Talking About Him" so she could burp. Ms. LuPone introduced her first number as "My high school audition song!" and promised to "Try to work this one," in reference to Evita's "Buenos Aires," one of her standard quintessentials. And thanks to sight lines, Anna & I had the joy of watching Mama Patti waiting in the wings during Audra's sets. Not just waiting, but listening, enjoying, and encouraging along. A lurk, if you will, but a loving lurk.
"Pack Up Your Sins & Go To the Devil" -Berlin
"Gorgeous" -Harnick & Bock
"Will He Like Me?" -Harnick & Bock
"Glamorous Life" -Sondheim
"There Won't Be Trumpets" -Sondheim
"Don't Rain on My Parade" -Styne & Merrill
"Peel Me a Grape" -Frishberg
"So In Love" -Poter
"What You Don't Know About Women" -Porter & Zippel
"When Lola Sings" -LaChiusa
"Happiness is a Thing Called Joe" -Arlen
"Not a Day Goes By" -Sondheim
"Talking About Him" -Loesser
"Buenos Aires" -Webber
"Losing My Mind" -Sondheim
"The Ladies Who Lunch" -Sondheim
Flaherty & Ahrens' new The Glamorous Ones
"Ohio" -Bernstein, Comden, & Green
"Wrong Note Rag" -Bernstein, Comden, & Green
"Happy Days Are Here Again (Ager & Yellen) / Get Happy (Koehler & Arlen)"
"Happy Days Are Here Again (Ager &amp;amp;amp;amp; Yellen) / Get Happy (Koehler & Arlen)"
Finally, we asked Ted why the ladies sang the same song twice for their encores. "Didn't you have any other songs ready?" Anna asked. "Oh yes we did, but when we got backstage Patti said, 'Nothing is going to top that!,' so they sang it again." Only those two could sing the same song twice (switching parts, mind you) and still have the evening end with smiles, taps, and several tears.