Patti LuPone carries ‘Torch’ into Cinegrill
Patti LuPone has been almost everywhere in the entertainment world, from recordings, film and television to Broadway musicals and dramas. But the one thing she hasn’t done for the last 25 years is a cabaret show. So it wasn’t surprising that there was just a whisper of hesitation in her opening numbers on Monday at Feinstein’s at the Cinegrill.
LuPone’s show, titled “The Lady With the Torch,” was her first cabaret appearance since 1979, when she moonlighted at New York’s Les Mouches while appearing in “Evita.” And it took her a few numbers to fully scope the room, to decide which of her bounteous array of vocal skills would fit best in the up-close environs of Feinstein’s.
As it turned out, they all did. Singing the old June Christy hit “Something Cool,” a Billy Barnes song that seems far removed from her style, she captured its essence and even managed to bring some contemporary credibility to its ‘50s perspective.
Another unusual choice, “I Had a Little Sorrow,” based on a poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay (with music by Christy and Stan Kenton), displayed the small, tender facets of LuPone’s voice. And a Judy Garland-associated tune, “By Myself,” fully challenged her interpretive abilities.
But she didn’t fully hit her stride until she brought both her vocal and her acting skills fully into sync, first with a sardonic rendering of “Who’s Sorry Now?” followed by a darkly atmospheric “Frankie and Johnny,” a gritty “I Wanna Be Around” and a gorgeous-toned rendering of “The Man I Love.”
LuPone elected, perhaps riskily, to omit her best-known theatrical hits from her program, conceived and directed by Scott Wittman. But it was a wise decision, allowing her (with the aid of musical director and accompanist Dick Gallagher) to create a beautifully paced, marvelously delivered torch-song exploration of the pleasures and pains of love.
Where: Feinstein’s at the Cinegrill, Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, 7000 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood
When: Today and Thursday, 8 p.m.
Price: $75 (includes show plus three-course dinner; does not include drinks, tax or gratuity). Limited number of seats available for $20 cover and two-drink minimum.
Contact: (323) 769-7269