‘Patti LuPone: Matters of the Heart’ at The Music Center at Strathmore by Joel Markowitz

When you think you know someone, all of a sudden you are introduced to another side of that person you didn’t know about – and you are thrilled! That’s what happened last night when Broadway legend Patti LuPone brought her one-woman show Patti Lupone: Matters of the Heart to The Music Center at Strathmore.

Patti LuPone.

We all know that Patti LuPone can belt a song to the heavens. We know she is a great actress, and after watching her in Sweeney Todd, we know that she plays a mean tuba, but what I and many of her fans and admirers learned last night is that Patti is a terrific storyteller and interpreter of pop songs.

Using “Theme From Carnival” (“Love Makes The World Go ‘Round”) as a theme throughout the evening, Patti introduced heartfelt and emotional and personal “reflections’ of songs about ‘the various aspects of love…first love..lust..a mother’s love…love at first site…get out of here love…desperate love… because I assume that everyone here tonight has been in love…at least once!”

Surrounded by Musical Director Chris Fenwick and The Four Play String Quartet, who were ‘dressed to the max,’ and lovely roses set atop a grand piano – they played Dick Gallagher’s lush arrangements with gusto, emotion and …love. It was simpley gorgeous and classy, and the audience loved it. Created by Scott Wittman, the show allows LuPone’s sense of humor and years of experience as a performer and a mother to shine through.

Watching LuPone’s face and hands wide open, clenching her  fists, her head swaying – her entire body and glorious voice told the story of each lyric – softly and powerfully and lovingly on “Alone Again (Naturally),” “Unexpressed,” “Air That I Breathe,” “Sand and Water,” “My Father,” and “Look Mummy, No Hands.” And what she does with Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time” and Joni Mitchell’s “The Last Time I Saw Richard” was a revelation.

Patti LuPone performing ‘Matters of the Heart’ at Lincoln Center. Photo courtesy of Patti LuPone’s website.

And there she had the audience laughing with her funny performances of  “Shattered Illusions,” “I Never Do Anything Twice,” and “Better Off Dead.”

And of course, Broadway songs were belted and her renditions of “Not a Day Goes By,” from Merrily We Roll Along, “Being Alive” from Company,”I’m In Love With A Wonderful Guy” from South Pacific and “Not A Day Goes By,” from Merrily We Roll Along” were not just sung – but she ‘lived them.’ Here powerful and heart-wrenching and passionate performance of “Back to Before” from Ragtime not only displayed her vocal gifts but reminded us – her fans -why Patti LuPone is a star.  LuPone is a star. I had chills up and down my spine when these ‘intense’ renditions rocked Strathmore.

The great news is that you have a chance tonight to grab a ticket or two and see the great Patti Lupone in this wonderful evening of great song, great singing, gorgeous orchestrations and talented musicians. Drop everything and run!

Running Time: One hour and 45 minutes, including one 15-minute intermission.

Patti LuPone: Matters of the Heart plays tonight, October 6, 2012 at The Music Center at Strathmore – 5301 Tuckerman Lane, in North Bethesda, MD. For tickets, purchase them online Use a special discount for DC Metro Theater Arts’ readers here. To view their upcoming events, check out their calendar.

Patti LuPone’s website.

Patti Lupone will star in The Anarchist with Debra Winger on Broadway beginning November 13th.

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