During her illustrious career, musical legend Patti LuPone has played some of musical theatre’s most iconic roles both on Broadway and in the West End. Read our feature on Patti LuPone's most iconic stage roles.
Her stage career began in 1972 as one of the original members of The Acting Company, a professional touring theatre company in the US formed by John Houseman. She appeared in shows like The Cradle Will Rock, The Lower Depths, Love’s Labours Lost and Measure for Measure. LuPone made her Broadway debut the following year when she took on the role of Irina in the 1973 play The Three Sisters, and two years later she was nominated for a Tony Award for her role in the musical The Robber Bridegroom.
In 1979, she appeared in the original Broadway production of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s musical Evita, taking on the role of Eva Peron, alongside Mandy Patinkin who played Che. Directed by Harold Prince, LuPone was highly praised for her performance and went on to win her first Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical. LuPone and Patinkin both appeared in a 63-performance concert series of Evita on Broadway in 2011.
After reuniting with members of The Acting Company for a revival of The Cradle Will Rock in London, LuPone stayed in the country to appear in Cameron Mackintosh’s original production of Les Miserables at the Barbican in 1985. LuPone originated the role of Fantine and was awarded the Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical not only for her role in Les Mis, but also recognising her part in The Cradle Will Rock.
After starring in a Broadway revival of Anything Goes as Reno Sweeney, LuPone returned to London to originate the role of Norma Desmond in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Sunset Boulevard in 1993. After a short run, she was replaced by Glenn Close, who transferred with the show to Broadway.
In 2005, LuPone starred as Mrs Lovett in John Doyle’s production of Sweeney Todd, in which the show’s actors were also the orchestra: LuPone played the tuba and orchestra bells, as well as singing in the musical. Two years later, she reunited with Doyle to appear in Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, alongside Audra McDonald. The cast recording of the show went on to win two Grammy Awards.
More recently, LuPone appeared in the original Broadway production of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, the musical comedy about a group of women in Madrid for 48 hours. In March 2017, LuPone starred as Helena Rubinstein in the musical War Paint in New York.
Patti LuPone then starred as Joanne in the West End, gender-swapped production of Company. Directed by Marianne Elliott, the musical saw the central role of Bobby gender-swapped to Bobbie - the first time Sondheim has allowed such a major change to the work. For her performance, she won the Olivier for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical. LuPone then went on to reprise the role in the musical's Broadway transfer.