Patti LuPone - A Life in Notes

Patti LuPone Cabaret Festival 2024Adelaide Cabaret Festival. Festival Theatre. 19 Jun 2024


Cabaret Festival 2024 headliner Patti LuPone had every tool in her arsenal ready to bring a Festival Theatre full house whooping and thundering to its feet.


She had given a performance of sheer impeccability. Sheer professional prowess.

She is the goods. She knows it and she shows it.

“They didn’t think I’d last on Broadway! Hah!”  sings the Broadway legend. 


Three Tonys later, as a stunning septuagenarian, she can reflect and jest about bygone years and the physical woes of age while flourishing her maturity with cool panache.

Everything about her 100-minute performance is five-star from the set of the shining black Steinway Grand with its simple glass vase of crimson roses to the perfection of sound and subtle lighting changes.  Not to mention her accompanists: her musical director Joseph Thalken on piano and the sublimely talented Brad Phillips sitting amid his five stringed instruments in a forest of instrument stands. Thalken’s arrangements deliver ethereal moments when the world is just guitar music together with that soaring mezzo voice of LuPone’s. Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina lingers in the mind.


LuPone does not waste a lot of time chatting. She has a slick script written by Jeffrey Richman in a concert conceived and directed by Scott Wittman. It is her Life in Notes and it is adorned by the musical “touchstones” which punctuated the years: from summertimes at the age of nine in Northport, NY, to Julliard classes and years in NYC and hippie 60s when her apartment looked like “a Bombay bordello” through to the melancholy of the aching AIDs 80s … A tear falls. There’s the covid lockdown in NY with her husband and son, washing hands and vegetables and appreciating time itself. There’s aging and humour about teeth and wigs.

And, of course, there’s Broadway and big numbers. There’s Alfie and Ladies Who Lunch, I Dreamed a Dream, My House, Forever Young, Lilac Time, I’m Ready to Go Again; familiar songs and less common songs, powered forth by that voice of such durably rich range.


As for the frocks. Well, for the first half she wears a tailored black suit with glittering lapels over a black fashion bra and chic flared slacks. After interval she wows in a silver lame sheath with a shimmering translucent silver floor-length cape flowing like a dream from the shoulders.  


Thanks for your memories, Patti LuPone. Adelaide adored them - and you.


LuPone is continuing to tour with this snazzy show and methinks we’ll hear audiences cheer from wherever she may go.


Samela Harris


When: 19 Jun

Where: Festival Theatre

Bookings: Closed