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Patti LuPone: A Memoir Hardcover – Deckle Edge, September 14, 2010

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Archetype; aFirst Edition First Printing edition (September 14, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307460738
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307460738
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #675,929 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

Carol Burnett Reviews Patti LuPone: A Memoir

Carol Burnett is an American actress, comedienne, singer, dancer, and writer. Read her review of Patti LuPone: A Memoir:

Patti's story had me from the moment I turned to page one of the prologue until the absolutely triumphant final chapter. The passion with which she writes about the theatre and her love of it found me, at various times, crying and laughing. I thoroughly enjoyed her backstage tales that were both victorious and horror-filled. The lady pulls no punches in describing her most humiliating moments, such as the backstabbing that unfortunately happens all too often in this business. She recreates her failures and even includes quotes from her worst reviews. She writes about her loves and losses without a tone of self-pity. The chapter about her struggles with bringing Evita to life gave me goose bumps. It was definitely not an easy journey. She persevered and that role made her a bona fide Broadway star. The chapter about the backstage goings on during the production of Sunset Boulevard are even more harrowing. The fact that she could take such slings and still remain standing is proof that this is a woman of great strength and grit...and talent. God gave her the gifts of being able to brilliantly bring characters to life onstage. She’s a wonderful actress...and, oh yes, she can sing like nobody’s business. This is a heartfelt memoir that exposes Patti’s innermost feelings, fervor, temper, and humor. There’s no "censorship." She tells it like it is, warts and all. And by the time I finished reading the last chapter, I found myself giving Patti a standing ovation in the privacy of my very own living room.

From Publishers Weekly

Broadway legend LuPone, a five-time Tony nominee and two-time Tony winner, raises the curtain on her life and career in this engaging memoir. Detailing both her travails and her triumphs, she takes the reader on a guided tour recalling some memorable moments in musical theater. She began in her teens when she and her twin brothers performed on Long Island as the LuPone Trio. On a 1968 scholarship at John Houseman's Juilliard Drama Division, she was "overwhelmed with fear," but then toured with Houseman's Acting Company from 1972 to 1976. After her 1973 Broadway debut in Three Sisters came a parade of awards and acclaimed performances (Evita, Sunset Boulevard, Sweeney Todd, Gypsy), solo concerts, films (Driving Miss Daisy), TV (Oz, 30 Rock), recordings, and her one-woman show, Patti LuPone on Broadway . LuPone is the ultimate backstage gossip, and she never pulls her punches: During the ill-fated Baker's Wife, she despised actor Chaim Topol ("an asshole") and had little enthusiasm for his replacement, Paul Sorvino ( ÿ'like having Howdy Doody at Auschwitz"). With razor-sharp memories and hundreds of colorful anecdotes, LuPone knows how to capture an audience. She makes an easy transition from stage to page, writing with wit, flamboyant energy, and a theatrical flair.
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Customer Reviews

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The journey of this amazing talent has been chronicled in a most interesting, humorous and informative memoir.
Particularly striking are Ms. LuPone's descriptions of how even enormously talented performers are basically working job to job.
After Evita you'd think she never would of had trouble finding work again, but if you thought that then READ THIS BOOK.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Janet Rowell on September 25, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The extravagantly talented Patti Lupone shows that she is as sparkling a memoirist (with Digby Diehl as collaborator) as she is an actress. If you love theater, acting, or Patti Lupone herself, you need to buy this book - and get it ON AUDIO. Lupone doesn't simply read the memoir, she PERFORMS it, and as in her best stage, TV and movie performances, she will move you to tears and laughter. She shares the good, the bad and the ugly from a career that started when she performed as a child with her brothers, and spans some of the high points of the Broadway and London stages. She also settles a few scores (Andrew Lloyd Webber, ahem) and provides insights into the art and craft of theater. A fascinating memoir from an American treasure, and a great audiobook experience.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Kochanski on October 7, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I listened to the audio book, read by Patti, which I think is the best way to go. She's a little distanced and seems to be concentrating on enunciation (always an effort for "Flannel Mouth"), but when she gets into a good story, she utterly lets go and it's like listening to her live.

This is very much a stage memoir. It's told show-to-show. You get the high points of her personal life (marriage, having a child), but 95% of it is about theatrical experiences and the people specifically involved. She's very honest. At times you feel like she might have glossed over some dirt (vague allusions to her being a "dirty girl" and such), but when she lets loose she doesn't spare tact. One of my favorite lines is to Andrew Lloyd Webber: "Go sh@t in your hat!" Topol, Paul Sorvino, Bill Smitrovich (her "husband" on Life Goes On) and others get some no-holds-barred choice words from Patti. Delightful dish!

On the other hand, she's kind of a whiner. If you put yourself in the place of an actor, and really think about it, a contract is really all you have to stand by. The industry is HEAVILY regulated by the unions, etc, and it's vital to honor contracts and hold with labor laws to a tee otherwise the whole experience just falls apart. However, even from her own mouth, she makes herself sound petulant and entitled...and spends a LOT of time discussing contract breaches. You just have to remember that this is her life, her profession. She really comes off as a diva, but when you think about it she kind of has to. I just hope other readers think it through and aren't put off by her.

Factual note...she complains that Barbra Streisand recorded "Don't Cry For Me Argentina" before her, and that it was released "for all to hear" before the Evita album.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mimi on December 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love Patti. Love her! I looked forward to reading this memoir, fully understanding "memoir" means remembered, i.e., it was going to be carefully told and not completely factual, perhaps ... but there's more left out than put in! I'm completely willing to forgive Patti's foibles, but she won't admit to them. So it was an interesting read, because I'm already a fan; but overall it was also a let-down, because I know things about her, as a fan will, that she glossed over or skipped entirely and it made me wonder what I *didn't* know that she also skipped. Much too short for such a fabulous, intrigue-packed life. A used copy will suffice, or borrow or lend your copy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Thornton Geary on October 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What a wonderful read!!! Patti wrote this bio the same way she performs on stage...she gave her all
& I think those of us fortunate enough to have seen her dazzle us with her performance knew she held nothing
back & we were a party to something very very special. In her very honest book she left nothing out & the reader
is privy to life behind the curtain. Its not all applause & awards & the difficult times make for a very
interesting & very quick read.

Throughout the book I felt she was talking to me-not at me, as many bios seem to do-but telling me a
very interesting story that included not only the high points of a star's life, but that there were also many
low points over the years. She does a very good job in writing about the bumps in her career & how they took
their toll on her...both personally & professionally. When I finished the book, one of my thoughts was that
she was able to overcome thse setbacks & difficulties & somehow she never quit & she managed to become a stronger &
maybe a better person for it. In these difficult times it is something we all can do if we try.

I have been fortunate enough to have seen Patti perform in a many different venues & roles & walked away from
them all amazed at her enormous talent & almost unlimited energy. In Evita one of the songs has the 2 words
"star quality". From that moment on that defined, to me, Patti LuPone. She has a star quality that can't be learned
or practiced. Its just there & very few performers have it. Her book has that same star quality & it is such an
interesting & quick read that you hate for it to end.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By James Hiller VINE VOICE on October 9, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Patti LuPone has a tough act to follow. After appearing as the quintessential Evita, the tarnished Norma Desmond, the bitterly wonderful Mrs. Lovett, and the take-no-prisoner Mama Rose,it's a wonder that LuPone could even manage to come close to one of those iconic characters. Not only does she do it, she does it in spades, in her ultimately fascinating tell-all memoir.

I've been a fan of Ms. LuPone for many years now, entranced by the power of her voice, especially in the aforementioned roles. She dominates the stage with her presence and her pipes, and leaves no stone unturned, nor no note unhit, in any given performance. After reading her recounting of her life, author can be added to the mix. LuPone's book is a fun romp through her life, never dwelling too long on specific events (save her Evita and Norma Desmond stints). Even her bout with breast cancer is discussed and mentioned within the span of a few pages. LuPone is one to tell the details, but never dwell in them.

Because of this, the book is a quick read. Interestingly, the weakest part of the story occurs early in her career, as she talks about her start in show business and the ride through Julliard and several companies before landing some major roles. However, as soon as Peron comes into her life, the book strengthens, and then begins to hit home runs during her ill-fated Sunset Boulevard times. When she wraps up the book with her stories of the revival of Gypsy, my heart ached for two reasons One, I wanted more from writing from her, and second, I wanted to see her performance in Gypsy (I have to settle on You Tube snippets).

One thing I so appreciated was Lupone's honesty, both directed at herself as well as colleagues.
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