Patti LuPone Talks About Broadway's Problems

Posted by Chris Geidner
September 9, 2011 3:30 PM |

Patti LuPone has problems. Mainly, though, they come down to Cirque du Soleil and Hair.

On Saturday, Sept. 10 LuPone will be performing her sold-out show, Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda, at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland, kicking off the multipurpose arts venue's 10th anniversary season.

Although Metro Weekly talked with LuPone about the up-side of the arts in the issue of Sept. 1, LuPone also has criticisms to level.

lupone.jpgWhat are the Tony Award-winner's biggest complaints? Ticket prices and microphones.

First, the tickets. LuPone told Metro Weekly:

You know, I'm very angry at the ticket prices in New York City, and I think it has more to do with greed than it has to do with anything else.

Cirque du Soleil – it's the big, bad brother now. Cirque du Soleil taking a five-year lease on Radio City Music Hall is going to suck Broadway dry. ... If you don't know a particular playwright or a particular play and you're facing a huge ticket price, what are you going to do? You're going to go with what you know, and more people know Cirque de – the tourists come and people know Cirque du Soleil. They really are, I think, ridiculous now. Go back to Montreal.

But, her prime problem is the sound. She said:

That's my main complaint: That the productions are just too loud. You can't have an intimate experience in the theater anymore. And that's what it's about. It's really about the unification of an audience, having a collective audience, individually, and listening. And we're not allowed to listen any more because the sound level is too loud.

And, I don't know where the voice is coming from. It's not coming from the stage any more. My eyes are looking at the stage, and my ears are searching for the sound that the mouth is producing. So, immediately I'm disenfranchised from my experience.

Hair is a perfect example. The revival was just too loud. I remember seeing it originally; it's an intimate musical. And this – I couldn't understand any of the lyrics.

On Saturday at the Clarice Smith Center, audiences -- with reasonable ticket prices and, hopefully, LuPone-approved mic levels -- will have their opportunity to see the opinionated performer at work.

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