[Great] News, which centers on the staff of a cable-news show, flips the usual pattern, making Fey’s network executive, Diana St. Tropez, the perpetrator. The gender switch highlights a power dynamic that’s sometimes overshadowed by a focus on sex, and underlines the ridiculousness of victim blaming: Why was he alone with his harasser? What was he wearing?
At one point, Diana excuses her actions, explaining: “I may have made a few off-color comments, but that’s just locker-room talk,” a reference to Donald Trump’s defense when the then-presidential candidate’s Access Hollywood “grab ‘em” recording was released in October 2016
I was lucky to attend Deconstructing Patti tonight and
it was a TRIP so I am writing this entire fucking research paper so all you
guys can live vicariously through me.
-First thing, because I know this is what y’all came to hear:
BI COMPANY! It sucks that Joanne won’t be a lesbian, but Patti says there is at least one gay pairing with the other
suitors. Joanne will have a much, much younger husband. Either they haven’t
finished re-writing or Patti just doesn’t have a script yet because that’s all
she knows. They start rehearsing August 6th of 2018.
Also to keep you on your seats, RAUL ESPARZA SHOWS UP,
CHRISTINE EBERSOLE SHOWS UP, HOWARD MCGILLIN, MORE
NOW FROM THE BEGINNING:
-Patti pre-recorded the “no taping, no cellphones message”
with a wonderful snarl on cellphones then says, “but disregard that entirely,
have a ball tonight” but I still didn’t see A SINGLE CELL PHONE the entire
time. No one was willing to risk that shit, even with express permission from
-She looks fucking amazing. I’ve only ever seen her in
costume on stage before. She had on a short little sparkly blue dress with long
sleeves. Her hair looked fantastic. Incredibly hard to believe she’s 68. She
starts with Some People and the vibrato is A+++
- PATTI NEEDS A HIP REPLACEMENT. So it turns out this is the
big reason she was not planning on doing musicals after War Paint. She had sort
of hinted at injuries and age, but it’s actually quite severe. She really could
not walk well tonight and it was kinda heartbreaking because she looks and acts
so youthful. She had a painful looking limp. At the same time, she refused to
change out of her very high heels. She had brought out flats just in case and
Seth encouraged her to change, but she would rather limp fabulously. Incredible.
- She picked up Company because of Marianne Elliott. She
wants to work with female directors. Late career Patti is a hardcore feminist.
-Christine comes out for “Face to Face”. She looks gorgeous.
Scott Frankel comes out to play piano very impressively.
Christine: “How much do we love Patti?” Lots of Applause.
Patti: “How much do we love Christine?” Lots of Applause.
Patti, semi-jokingly, looking at Christine, in low, sultry voice: “How much do we
love each other?” Me: dies. Fucking fan service, Patti LuPone.
Christine talks about how one of Patti’s massive Helena
necklaces fell apart during the final scene of War Paint a few days ago. At first,
it just dropped to the ground. Patti tried to stuff it in her purse but it didn’t
fit. She’s struggling with it so she leaves it on the table. It’s like a triple
strand of pearls and they are falling everywhere intermittently, like
punctuation to every line. Plunk…plunk……plunk plunk plunk. It’s a total mess and
the stage is covered in pearls. Christine gets to the line where she guesses
what’s in Helena’s lipstick, beeswax, etc…and
freshwater pearlfor shine and
the audience dies.
- PATTI’S HELENA DIARY:
When Helena is “writing” in War Paint, Patti actually writes
a diary about the audience and stuff. She’s got a huge stack of pages from the
beginning of the run. A few paraphrased excerpts:
My personal favorite: “Han… what does this say? Hangover Tuesday.
“Tina Fey in audience today, we’re saved” sarcasm hahaha
“That’s just a doodle”
“This Great Comet drama is EXCITING *Patti cringes, next one
is also about Great Comet* “Okay I’m not reading those” (omg)
Seth takes this huge stack of pages and auctions it on stage
for Equity Fights Aids.
Patti adds, “Wait, how much would you give if I read all of
them to you over drinks at the St.
Seth: “You get Patti’s stack of notes. Please put them on
Instagram. There’s many inappropriate ones she refused to read. Also, Patti
LuPone herself will read her notes to you over dinner.
Patti: “Not dinner.” (She’s
not buying you dinner LOLOLOL)
SOMEBODY PAID $7,000
- Seth: “Patti has a lot of feelings about the President”
-Patti tells a story about working as a waitress at a skeevy
bar with some skeevy guys in college, one of whom somehow got them down into
the foundations of Juilliard and stuck a gun into the small of her back, sort
of jokingly to scare her. She hears herself telling this story, “Wow, I am the
picture of class”
-Howard McGillin, Billy to Patti’s Reno in the 1987 Anything
Goes joins Patti on stage, they sing “You’re The Top” together. Seth asks Patti
how she came up with the sexy Reno characterization.
Patti: “It’s inherent in the lyrics. Like Blow, Gabriel Blow”
Patti: Oh, that’s not what I mean. Oh! I mean the lines “Good
by day, good by night in that song”
Oh my god, not BLOW
Gabriel. Oh, no.
Seth: What’s sexy about good by day, good by night?
Patti: You know!
Seth: I don’t!
Patti: She’s good by day and …good….by night, oh, YOU KNOW
WHAT I MEAN!
-Patti’s drinking a huge glass of Prosecco:
She sips happily for awhile. “Oh, I feel sick from the wine”.
Getting a little clumsy.
10 minutes later: “Never mind, I feel good now. It’s like
when you have a drug and you’re like ugh this is awful, give me another!”
30 minutes later, she’s polished off most of her wine, the
third encore is “With One Look”, she gets one bar in, stops abruptly: “Oh, I
have to burp, I’m sorry”. Audience dies. She’s so embarrassed. So cute hahahaha
-Patti on her Glenn Close rehabilitation:
I didn’t want to sing Sunset, because I didn’t want people
to think there are sour grapes. It’s Glenn’s role in New York. Mine in London. So
I wasn’t gonna sing it in New York *pauses, thinking*… so I’ll sing the London
- Starts choking up when talking about the ephemeral beauty
of theatre (good vocab word, Patti) and how it exists mostly in memory
-Patti talked about how she loves imperfect voices with soul
a hundred times more than a perfect instrument with no feeling. Perfect voices
are nothing without soul, but also people who sing with soul must be imperfect.
Interesting. That’s why she doesn’t like to listen to a lot of today’s Broadway
singers. She listens to Joni Mitchell.
-She made the final call back for the Sweet Charity national
tour at 17, but didn’t get the part. She never booked any professional rolls
before Juilliard. Patti: “Do they still even do cattle calls?” Seth: “Yes, people
still audition, Patti. Omg.”
- The Magaldi guy from the Deconstructing Patti London
concert YouTube video, flew out to NY to serve as random Magaldi guy again when
Seth called him. A couple of us asked for his autograph and he absolutely
flipped a shit he was so excited “THIS NEVER HAPPENS IN LONDON”
-Che was sung by Raul Esparza for several songs. “Well this
is a fucking dream come true” he said about singing with Patti. There was also
an original Evita cast member who sang the word HAIR in
He joins them on stage to sing the word HAIR in “Rainbow
High” He is my new hero. She struggles a bit with Rainbow High “Well, there’s
one for my next voice lesson”
-Frances Ruffelle, the original Eponine on the West End and
Broadway, came out to sing with Patti. She didn’t sing very well, but Patti was
very emotional to hear her sing again
-When Patti was in the chorus for the barricade scenes in Les
Mis she had to pick a “job”. She really did not want to be in the chorus so she
just picked what the guy next to her was doing which was smelting She wasn’t
even really sure what a smelter does so she goes out there and pantomimes
smelting some hot metal over a bale of hay. The director is like “Patti, you’re
an idiot”. The next night, she goes out there and smelts over the hay again,
pretends the hay caught on fire, and spends the scene silently putting out her
-She doesn’t really like the current production of Hello,
Dolly! because she does not like how it’s a recreation of Carol Channing’s
productions without any new discovery for the actors allowed by the director
-Patti: “You used to be able to get to the theatre. Now Times
Square is all focused on a Hershey bar!” Seth: “A Hershey bar? A single bar?”
-Sings “Trouble” from The Music Man 10x better than in the
YouTube video. FANTASTIC.
-Seth talked a lot about how a lot of her habits would be
considered unprofessional, like how she always looks out at the audience before
Patti: That’s not unprofessional!
Seth: It is. You peering out with your Evita wig on!
Patti: Yeah, well with Evita, I would get caught! People
would wave to me so I’d just wave back!
Well, I want to see
the guy who hates my guts, who will be the hardest to convince. I want to play
to him. At this show, I looked out and saw everyone fanning themselves. So I
went back and said TURN UP THE AC THE PEOPLE ARE HOT OUT THERE. You gotta take
care of your audience.
-Patti on Lack of Common Sense (paraphrased): “I’ve never
had any savvy-dressing for auditions, re-booking canceled flights. I thought I
was supposed to stand behind the taped line in the A Chorus Line theatre at my
Evita audition, so I took a big step in front of it. It was just the line in A
Chorus Line. My brother was in A Fucking Chorus Line. I’d seen it. Several times.
Still didn’t make that connection. Yet, I heard about auditions and things. Not
sure where I found out about that stuff at all! That’s how you know it’s meant
to be. I just found out about these casting calls even though I was clueless.
-Patti and Seth fight over ALW:
Seth: He’s great [in Evita].
Patti: *Makes disgusted face*
Seth: No this really is great.
Patti: It’s not.
Seth: Turn her mike off.
-She ends with the Ladies Who Lunch. You can tell she’s
working on her character for the revival. It’s very different from her Lonny
Price version, seems much darker and more subdued. I’m excited to see what she
-I’ve heard her live before but it’s still such a shock to
me. Her voice is nothing short of incredible. Her high tones are less
crystalline in her older age, but her low tones are so much richer. I thought
her voice sounded a little raspy, like she was losing it, but it didn’t keep
her from hitting any of those belts (except Rainbow High, which was kinda mean
of Seth lol) I’m going to War Paint closing night in December. She didn’t come
out the stage door tonight so I have my fingers crossed for December.
Hope you guys feel like you were there with me! I know a lot
of you wish you could be there so I wanted to be thorough. Let me know if you
have any questions!
On stereotypes: I think the reason people have been quick to throw the stereotype criticism on us is because there will always be people who are laughing at the wrong thing. Some people are like, “Oh, stereotypical accent!” An accent is an accent. If there were jokes written about the accent, then that would certainly be harmful. But there aren’t jokes written about it. It’s not even talked about. It’s just a fact of life: immigrants have accents. Making the choice to have that is a way of not watering down the character and making it politically correct. It’s choosing authenticity over safety, and I think that’s bold. The people who are going to laugh at the alleged stereotypes are the same people who are going to laugh at their Chinese waiter in the restaurant next door for very coarse, uneducated reasons.
On accents: I don’t think her foreignness is ever the butt of the joke. She’s aware of her difference, yet she doesn’t think that’s any reason for her to not have a voice. It doesn’t elicit shame in her. She doesn’t become a shrinking violet. And instead of that being something that Asians should be embarrassed of, I think that’s something that we should be proud of — the types of characters who know they don’t speak perfect English, who know they have different customs, who don’t think that that’s any reason for them to not have a voice.
On Asian representation: We shouldn’t be a voice for all Asians. We are such a varied group that there’s no one show that can be like, “This is what Asian America looks like!” But we’re given that burden because we’re so rarely represented. If you see Tina Fey on television, you’re not like, “All white women are like Tina Fey.” Yet people are like, “Oh, Jessica Huang’s not like mymother, but this show is supposed to be about Asians, so shouldn’t she be like my mother?” I understand the burden, because the history of our representation on TV is very sparse. But we’d be doing a disservice to the people who are worried about that by watering it down instead of trying to be specific. Specificity is what makes good storytelling, and good storytelling is what makes money, and making money is then what encourages new producers to invest in different stories about Asians.
We shouldn’t be a voice for all Asians. We are such a varied group that there’s no one show that can be like, “This is what Asian America looks like!” But we’re given that burden because we’re so rarely represented. If you see Tina Fey on television, you’re not like, “All white women are like Tina Fey.” Yet people are like, “Oh, Jessica Huang’s not like my mother, but this show is supposed to be about Asians, so shouldn’t she be like my mother?” I understand the burden, because the history of our representation on TV is very sparse. But we’d be doing a disservice to the people who are worried about that by watering it down instead of trying to be specific. Specificity is what makes good storytelling, and good storytelling is what makes money, and making money is then what encourages new producers to invest in different stories about Asians.