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Patti LuPone: A Memoir

3.96  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,020 Ratings  ·  178 Reviews
“I have been incredibly fortunate over the course of my career to have been associated with some extraordinary dramatic and musical productions, and also some rather spectacular disasters. Looking back, I can find gifts and life lessons in every one.”

The legendary Patti LuPone is one of the theatre’s most beloved leading ladies. Now she lays it all bare, sharing the intim
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Hardcover, 336 pages
Published September 14th 2010 by Crown Archetype (first published January 1st 2010)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,812)
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Neil Schleifer
Dec 26, 2010 Neil Schleifer rated it it was ok
LuPone offers a dishy backstage memoir that echoes her onstage persona perfectly. As with most memoirs, she conveniently remembers things that make her look good, and others look like villains. In short, it's as much fiction as it is non-fiction.

Among those she trashes her Bill Smitrovitch, her co-star on LIFE GOES ON, running the gamut of simple distaste (she says they had no chemistry) to outright vulgarity (she calls him a douchebag). She never DOES tell us what he said or did to elicit such
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Ashley *Hufflepuff Kitten*
I feel the need to preface this by saying that I've never been an enormous Patti LuPone fan. I'm not familiar with Evita beyond "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" and I'm not familiar with Gypsy at all. However, I do love her on the cast recordings from Anything Goes and Sweeney Todd, and it was such a treat to see her in American Horror Story: Coven. And somehow, being the Les Miserables freak that I am, I was unaware that she originated Fantine in the West End. WHAT EVEN.

I'm also familiar with her r
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V. Briceland
Oct 06, 2011 V. Briceland rated it really liked it
It's tough for anyone not actively sharing a stage with the diminutive star to determine whether Patti LuPone is as difficult to work with as her reputation would have it. Too often, 'difficult' is a label applied not only to entitled divas of both genders, but also to artists who dare to protest when wrongly abused by directors or producers and their sometimes shady money-making tactics.

After reading LuPone's memoir, however, it's tough to want to side with anyone other than the woman who orig
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Anne
Jan 15, 2011 Anne rated it liked it
Patti LuPone, one of the theatre's leading ladies, writes an insightful retrospective of her career, with details about the life of a working actor, from inspired costars and demanding directors to her perspective on how she developed and honed her award-winning performances.

I have been a fan of Patti Lupone for years. Evita is one of my all-time favorite cast albums and I loved her work in Sunset Boulevard, Sweeney Todd, and Gypsy. I knew she had a reputation for being difficult, but I always f
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Theo Chen
Dec 20, 2015 Theo Chen rated it it was amazing
Patti LuPwned.
Collin Kelley
Sep 12, 2010 Collin Kelley rated it really liked it
Patti LuPone was the original Evita on Broadway, originated the role of Fantine in Les Misérables and redefined the iconic stage mother, Rose, in Gypsy. In other words, she’s musical theatre royalty.

I love theatre, but I’m not a huge fan of musicals – unless LuPone is involved. With apologies to Madonna, Elaine Paige and anyone else who has played Eva Peron, they simply pale in comparison to LuPone. Listen to her on the original London cast recording of Sunset Boulevard and Glenn Close also fall
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Bev
For a musical theater devotee like me, this book provides some fascinating insights about life behind the curtain and the arduous, often painful process of getting a major Broadway production off the ground, but it ultimately left a bad taste in my mouth. Ms. LuPone is certainly a huge talent who has worked hard to achieve the heights of her stardom, but she spends way too much time here trashing the people she does not like or who have wronged her, and she presents herself as a victim with good ...more
Cole
Oct 17, 2010 Cole rated it liked it
Only die-hard theater nerds will probably be interested in this memoir. I think I am eligible because I distinctly remember performing numbers from LuPone's Irving Berlin album "Heatwave" in the back room of our house when I was 12.

The ghost-written celebrity memoir is a special animal, not often read for its groundbreaking narrative arc or use of lilting prose. The writing style here is especially grating--apart from some of LuPone's signature sarcasm, the language here is rather boring and uni
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David Jay
Dec 26, 2011 David Jay rated it liked it
Where is the line between "diva" and "entitled bey-otch?" I am fascinated by the idea that just because someone has a talent that they are beyond the limits of acceptable adult behavior. So when Lupone finds out that she is not going with "Sunset Boulevard" to Broadway, that they have decided to go with the huge (at the time) movie star Glenn Close, who has gotten raves for the role in LA, instead of Lupone, who has gotten mixed reviews in London, she thinks it is appropriate to trash her dressi ...more
Amanda
Dec 21, 2010 Amanda rated it really liked it
I think that I will always be a musical theatre junkie. Though I have left that magical world for the vast ignominies of pursuing a career in teaching(hey, i'm just being realistic, any teacher knows that 80% of your time will be spent wondering what you are doing), I could never leave the theatre behind. Patti LuPone is my all-time favorite leading lady next to Julie Andrews. This was cemented once I heard her in the John Doyle revival of "Sweeney Todd." And of course, there's Gypsy and Anythin ...more
Kelly
Aug 08, 2012 Kelly rated it it was amazing
Criticism has come out about this memoir exploiting "diva-like" behavior. I didn't read it that way at all. In no way is Patti LuPone a "diva". She is someone with a backbone who will stand up against someone treating her unfairly...most specifically in this memoir, Broadway king Andrew Lloyd Webber.

LuPone does not gloss over anything, beginning with Juilliard and her romance with fellow student, Kevin Kline. From Evita to Sunset Boulevard, to Sweeney Todd to Gypsy, LuPone has seen it all and sp
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Goose
Mar 23, 2013 Goose rated it liked it
I'm not a huge Patti Lupone fan. I don't own any recordings in which she participated. However, I have always enjoyed her in television, movies, and when I've caught her on talk shows. Having taken many an acting class it was nice to read a book about what it is like to be a working actor. I had thought that once you had a huge hit on Broadway, you were set for life. Lupone shows that to not be true in her memoir and I really enjoyed her stories of her early career at Julliard and how hard she w ...more
Briana Alzola
Jun 12, 2015 Briana Alzola rated it really liked it
As a die-hard theatre fan, I always like getting a backstage look (literally) at what's happening when a big musical is just beginning. LuPone originated some roles and reinvented others. The book was far from perfect but it entertained me just the same
Ally
Apr 30, 2013 Ally rated it really liked it
While I am obviously a huge Broadway fan, I can't say I'm a huge Patti devotee. I mean, I think she's been amazing in some things, but I don't kneel at her altar. However, a few months ago I heard her tell a few snippets of stories on Alec Baldwin's podcast, and I knew I had to finally read this memoir (I'd picked it up a couple of years ago as a free or $0.99 Kindle sale). I'm very glad I did - what a delicious and delightful read. She does not hold back (at one point she was talking about a so ...more
Richard
May 08, 2011 Richard rated it it was amazing
Wow. I thought she was a bitch before I read this. Now I KNOW she is. LuPone gripes, complains, whines, and bitches through approx. 350 pages. And if you like gossipy back stage stuff, IT'S FANTASTIC. I don't like HER, but man did I enjoy reading this. It actually makes me feel rather sad for her-she has almost nothing positive to say about the vast majority of her career. Such a priviliged and talented person, and it seems to have brought her nothing but anger and resentment. But, whatever, it ...more
Forrest
Jan 27, 2016 Forrest rated it liked it
It takes Patti LuPone all of three pages in her memoir before she starts complimenting herself. She states that for decades (decades!) people of all kinds had been telling her she simply had to play the character of Mama Rose in "Gypsy." That she was perfect for it, born for it. When I read this to my boyfriend, he responded "Yeah, I have no doubt people told her that, because just like Mama Rose, Patti LuPone is a monster who doesn't see herself as a monster." Truer words have never been spoken ...more
Rick
Sep 09, 2011 Rick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
I have to admit, I had trouble starting this - Patti Lupone is not my favourite performer but I was given the audiobook as a gift and felt obliged to try it out.

And you know what? She's grown on me. Certainly, having her perform the book (let's face it, she's not just reading the memoir)in your ear, takes a little getting used to but I'll miss her warm, take-no-prisoners style.


Just don't make me go and see her in Company.
Amy
Sep 16, 2010 Amy rated it it was amazing
Moral of the story: Don't piss Patti LuPone off because she will not hesitate to call you a douchebag in her book.

I love her.
Darren
Sep 07, 2014 Darren rated it really liked it
I read this four years ago when it first came out. When I recently came across the unabridged audiobook version, I decided to spend time with it again, most especially because LuPone herself is the narrator. This is a first-rate theater memoir, full of backstage detail (not just gossip), delivering true insight into the theatrical process. It is kind of amusing that so many of her stories are fraught with drama, and I suspect that has a lot to do with LuPone's intense personality. But her nightm ...more
Lindsey Stefan
May 11, 2012 Lindsey Stefan rated it liked it
Patti LuPone is known in the theater world as one of the great leading ladies. Her unique voice and excellent acting have brought characters to life such as Evita, Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd, Fantine in Les Miserables, and that infamous stage mother, Mama Rose. She is also known for being at the center of some juicy theatre drama, such as the time she yelled at an audience member to turn off their phone during Gypsy or the rumor that she was banned by Arthur Laurents himself from appearing in h ...more
JudgyK
Mar 01, 2012 JudgyK rated it really liked it
Hilarious, honest, interesting, and full of LuPone's trademark brashy sass. If you like theatre, music, drama, or just funny awesome stories about celebrities, this memoir is for you. Patti is highly opinionated, and has no problem sharing those opinions. I want to be her. I want to live her life. Even the rough parts, like when she and her traveling band of theater friends all caught crabs thanks to sharing all their costumes. And the part where Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber totally dicked her over. ...more
David
Sep 27, 2010 David rated it really liked it
This memoir felt very much like a contemporary Divine Comedy with LuPone as Virgil, guiding the reader through the Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso sections of her life in the professional theatre. It isn't remotely as well-written as Dante's magnum opus (I doubt his first draft was this fast and loose), but it's a fascinating journey all the same. And she gets full credit for transparency and (sometimes brutal) honesty. How refreshing.

This woman's grit and determination - to say nothing of her
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Laurisa Reyes
Sep 01, 2011 Laurisa Reyes rated it it was amazing
Patti LuPone is America's greatest living Broadway legend. Five time Tony Award nominee, twice winner (for Evita and Gypsy), Ms. LuPone takes us on her astounding and sometimes heartbreaking life's journey, including all the triumphs and potholes that she encountered along the way. From her stroke of good fortune getting a scholarship to the 1968 inaugural drama class at Julliard studying under John Houseman, to her disastrous experience in Sunset Boulevard, to her 2008 triumph in Gypsy, Ms. LuP ...more
Terry
Jul 11, 2011 Terry rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, memoir
This is what I would call a "working life" memoir, but I think that's because LuPone's life IS her work, or vice versa. Not to say it doesn't seem like she has a wonderful, loving marriage and family. But if you're looking for any details about her childhood or adolescence or even adulthood that isn't DIRECTLY related to her theater experiences, forget this book. I happened to love the book because I learned things about LuPone--having loved her all this time as a musical theater actress--I neve ...more
Pei Pei
Dec 18, 2010 Pei Pei rated it liked it
This book was sort of terribly written, but in a way I didn't mind because it made it seem authentic. The writing lacked both overall structure (it was loosely organized around major shows, but chapter breaks sometimes seemed oddly and randomly placed) and microstructure (it meandered shamelessly in parts and then lacked development at other interesting moments), but you did get the sense you were just listening to a Broadway veteran talking (rambling) about her career, and it was light reading ...more
Sveta
Sep 09, 2013 Sveta rated it it was amazing
The audiobook is read by her. The actual text is terrible but her voice! I don't know why the hell anyone would read Patti LuPone's memoir without being well acquainted with her career, she's not exactly on the Angelina Jolie level of celebrity, so all of the things conveniently left out are just as funny as the boasting and general cattiness (which is sexist but what else do you call accusing Flo Lacey of being an Eve Harrington, dismissing Joanna Gleason's Tony win on account of looking like t ...more
Anna Tatelman
Jan 23, 2013 Anna Tatelman rated it really liked it
Oh, Patti LuPone. How do I love thee? I tried to count the ways, but I cannot count that high. She truly is an amazing star, someone who certainly deserves her fame. I never realized until reading this how much she struggled, and still does struggle, as a performer. It really goes to show that, however talented you are, you must always continue to improve and refine your craft, and that there will always be those who ridicule you no matter what you do. Patti's enduring strength really comes thro ...more
Johnny
This was totally a guilty pleasure. LuPone expends a lot of energy in these pages trying to rationalize all of her rumored diva-licious behavior over the years, yet so many of her explanations actually prove the stories true. At the same time, the justifications she offers also provide insight into why actors (especially theater actors) are so imbalance; they do suffer miserably at the hands of megalomaniac producers (mostly men) who will do anything to make a few dollars. The memoir takes reade ...more
Andrew Benvenuti
Jul 27, 2011 Andrew Benvenuti rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: People who enjoy non fiction
Recommended to Andrew by: Patti Lupone
Shelves: autobiography
There are very few living stage legends left among us. One of those living legends of the stage is the inestimable Patti LuPone. Her career has been laden with high points (Evita, Gypsy) and Low Points (Sunset Blvd, The Bakers Wife). They are all chronicled in this memior with surprising depth and candor.

This feels as though Ms. LuPone is sitting in front of you, telling you stories about her illustrius career. At times it is not terribly well written, but Ms. LuPone is not a writer, she is a s
...more
Sandy
Sep 08, 2013 Sandy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-books, memoir
Early on I couldn't decide if I wanted to continue reading/listening to this book. I really like audio book memoirs read by the author because they can and do give inflections to their words I might miss in just reading. In this case, I found that to be especially true. However, for most of the book I felt like Patti Lupone was whining. I found her story about her theatre experiences brutally honest but not enjoyable. She wanted to share her love for the theatre but she didn't really share her l ...more
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