Multi-award-winning stage and screen performer Alec Baldwin brilliantly interviews Broadway icon Patti LuPone in a wide-ranging conversation as a part of his characteristically sophisticated HERE'S THE THING program on WNYC.
From discussing the verb "LuPoning" to her impersonating Marilyn Monroe as little girl - "I was pretty astute when I was young," LuPone recalls - all the way to her legendary work in EVITA, LES MISERABLES, SUNSET BOULEVARD, GYPSY and more to her affection for rock n roll, LuPone opens up about her family, her career, her childhood, the present and the future.
Of note, in discussing her training with John Houseman as part of her Juilliard education in the then-newly formed drama division, LuPone candidly recalls, "I auditioned and I got in. And, what happened over the course of four years at the Juilliard School is that I fell out of love with musicals and fell in love with classical theatre. I was actually trained as a classical actress."
She concludes, "If you look at my history, I've done more plays than musicals."
Later on in the near-hourlong conversation - in which she also discusses bouts of depression and triumphing over breast cancer - LuPone describes the full-circle experience she felt when rehearsing in the original production of LES MISERABLES at the Barbican Theatre, in what would become her Olivier Award-winning role - that of downtrodden and destitude Fantine.
LuPone recalls, "When I was at the Barbican rehearsing... it felt so much to me like being in the halls of Juilliard. It was a maze; the rehearsal rooms - it just felt like Julliard."
She continues, "Trevor [Nunn, the director] actually said to me, 'If anybody belongs in this production or with the Royal Shakespeare Company, it's you, Patti.'"
LuPone states, "I had come full-circle - I had come full-circle in training."
In looking back upon her controversial decision to not transfer with the production to Broadway, even following her Olivier Award for Best Actress In A Musical: "I went, 'I can't do this in New York.' It was an instinct."
She says, "I realized when I came off that stage I was in a perfect theatrical environment, in a perfect play, with a perfect cast."
LuPone adds, "I've never known whether I made the right decision or not."
In speaking of her non-theatre work she recounts, "It's interesting - I'm a hard sell, Alec. I have been cut at the studio level at auditions out in California... I'm a hard sell in movies. I'm a hard sell in TV. You know, I'm always a hard sell."
In speaking of today and tomorrows to come, she hints at a future role - one which the grand dame has been asked to audition for, no less.
"I could tell you a story right now, but I can't - I have been asked to audition for a musical and it's 25 years since I auditioned for a musical. I mean, when does it stop?"
Now, that's LuPoning!
Listen to the entire HERE'S THE THING broadcast here.
Also, check out my extensive InDepth InterView: Patti LuPone from earlier this month in promotion of her sublime new CD, FAR AWAY PLACES, which is available here.