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The Villages
Thursday, February 22, 2024

Tony-winning Patti LuPone to christen The Sharon tonight

Patti LuPone
Patti LuPone

“Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda…” is part confessional, part reminisce, part biography and all Patti LuPone.
On Thursday, LuPone will help christen the Sharon L. Morse Entertainment Center in Spanish Springs Town Square with her concert performance. The grand-opening gala is sold out. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. Before the show, champagne, and hors d’oeuvres will be served along with pre-show entertainment from Hector’s Sextet.
LuPone hits the stage at 8 p.m. There will be post-show  entertainment by Ludwig & Stiegler, a DJ/trumpet duo. LuPone, however, is the main attraction for an historic night in The Villages’ entertainment history.
“Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda…Played that Part” tells the tale of a kid from Northport, Long Island who grew up to be what fellow Long Islander Billy Joel calls an “uptown girl.”
Now 66, LuPone has been a Broadway star for nearly four decades. “Coulda…” touches on her iconic roles as Eva Peron in “Evita” and Mama Rose in “Gypsy.” It also manages to weave in elements of LuPone’s life and career on stage.
Some call LuPone the modern-day version of such bygone Broadway giants as Mary Martin and Ethel Merman. “I could have been Peter Pan. I could’ve been Mary Martin,” she once told an audience. “But no, you all made me Ethel Merman.”
Here is a list of the songs LuPone has performed during past performances of “Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda…”
Never Never Land: Baby boomers like LuPone will remember this number from the old Mary Martin televised version of “Peter Pan” back in the 1950s.  It still plays in current stage versions of “Peter Pan” but LuPone — who loved Martin’s TV performance — puts her own stamp on the song.
An English Teacher:  LuPone was 13 when she appeared with a group of Long Island kids known as the Patio Players. She was in that group’s production of “Bye-Bye Birdie” and sang “An English Teacher,” from the musical.
I’m In Love With a Wonderful Guy:  While at Northport High School, LuPone landed the role of Nellie Forbush in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “South Pacific.” She gives the standard, “I’m In Love With A Wonderful Guy,” a LuPone twist.
Don’t Rain On My Parade:  The song is a Barbra Streisand classic from “Funny Girl,” butLuPone was a young performer who used it during an audition for “Sweet Charity.” LuPonedidn’t get the role but they loved her audition.

Easy to Be Hard: LuPone came of age during the wild and wooly 1960s and “Hair” was a hit show on Broadway. The rock musical captured the fun, pain and glory of those hippie times and “Easy to Be Hard,” is a definitive ballad from the show.
You Musn’t Be Discouraged:  LuPone auditioned for The Juilliard School of Drama with this little known song. It was from an early 1960s Broadway play with Carol Burnett. LuPone made it into the school.
A Boy Like That/I Have A Love:  LuPone is life-long fan of Broadway musicals and this is from one of her favorites, “West Side Story.”
Meadowlark:  The musical “A Baker’s Wife,” struggled at the box office but LuPone pulled “Meadowlark,” one of her signature songs, out of the musical.
Everything’s Coming Up Roses:  LuPone won a Tony for her role as Mama Rose in the 2007 version of “Gypsy.”

Don’t Cry For Me Argentina: The song that helped transform LuPone’s career from the 1979 production of “Evita.” She won a Tony and became a full-fledged Broadway star.  LuPone would later battle with Andrew Lloyd Webber, who, with Tim Rice, wrote “Evita.” LuPone was starring in another Webber musical, “Sunset Boulevard,” when he dropped her from the cast during the mid-1990s.
LuPone bounced back and today is more popular than ever.
“She’s a fabulous singer and terrific character performer,” said Sandie Hawthorne who has directed and starred in many stage productions in The Villages. “Patti is a professional from the word go and will take control of that audience and give them a heck of a show.”
That’s what Villagers will be expecting opening night at The Sharon.

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