Leading ladies come to central Pennsylvania
Football players who are especially adept at both offense and defense are dubbed “double threats.” The pinnacle of their success is winning the Super Bowl.
For leading ladies in music theater, those who are comfortable not only in singing and dancing on Broadway stages, but also vocalizing in concert halls around the country are called “double treats.” The height of their success is measured by winning a Tony Award.
Sutton Foster and Patti LuPone are a couple of “double treats,” who between Broadway gigs are heading to area music halls for highly anticipated concerts.
One of Broadway’s brightest young stars will perform a Valentine’s weekend concert at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 15 at Penn State’s Eisenhower Auditorium, 101 Eisenhower Road, University Park.
Foster’s breakout role was playing Millie Dillmont in “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” which earned her first Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actress in A Musical in 2002.
She was awarded a second Tony in 2011, playing Reno Sweeney in the revival of “Anything Goes.”
She originated roles in other Broadway musicals: The Drowsy Chaperone,” “Little Women,” “Young Frankenstein” and “Shrek the Musical,” for which she received another Tony nomination.
After the release of her debut album “Wish” in 2009, Foster started promoting the album with concert performances. Her second album, “An Evening with Sutton Foster: Live at the Cafe Carlyle” featured songs ranging from jazz to pop to cabaret to Broadway.
After her Penn State concert, Sutton heads back to New York where she is in rehearsal for the musical “Violet.” Based upon the novel “The Ugliest Pilgrim,” “Violet” tells the tale of a disfigured North Carolina farm girl, who embarks on a bus trip all the way to Tulsa, Okla., hoping to be healed by a televangelist. What she finds from her fellow bus passengers is faith, hope and a new sense of real healing. “Violet” begins previews on March 28 and opens on April 20.
Her Penn State concert will feature popular song and showtunes from her CDs, plus selections from the 10 Broadway shows in which she has starred.
For tickets, call 814-863-0255 or 1-800-ARTS-TIX (278-7849).
There are leading ladies who haven’t been on a Broadway stage in years: Bernadette Peters (“Follies” closed almost two years ago), Kristin Chenoweth (“Promises, Promises” closed three years ago). And there are others who will star in new musicals opening in March: Idina Menzel in “If/Then,” Marin Mazzie in Woody Allen’s “Bullets Over Broadway” and Kelli O’Hara in “The Bridges of Madison County.”
And then there is Patti LuPone, the biggest and brightest star. Just ask her!
Gracing the Broadway stages for more than 30 years, the great temperamental LuPone won her first Tony award in 1979 playing Eva Peron in the original production of “Evita.” Playing opposite her as the revolutionary Che was Mandy Patinkin. He is teaming up with LuPone in a series of concerts “An Evening With Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin” – notice who gets top billing – with three performances at the Scranton Cultural Center, 420 N. Washington Ave., Scranton, from May 9 to 11.
Over the years, the highly charged LuPone has publicly battled with fellow actors and producers, including Andrew Lloyd Webber when he bypassed her, recasting Norma Desmond when “Sunset Boulevard” moved from London’s West End to Broadway.
In 2006, she played Mrs. Lovett to Michael Cerveris’ bloody “Sweeney Todd” in an uniquely structured production.
LuPone won another Tony Award as “Best Performance by an Actress in a Musical” playing Mama Rose in the 2008 revival of “Gypsy.” She also garnered a Tony nomination for her last Broadway show “A Woman On the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” in 2011.
And when not on stage or touring in concerts, LuPone moved to TV, cast as a witch of sorts in this season’s FX’s thriller “An American Horror Story: Coven.”
Her outsize, forceful personality always shines through whether LuPone is on television, the Broadway stage, or in concert halls with the current tour concluding in Scranton in May.
For more information, contact the Scranton Cultural Center box office at 866-820-4553 or 855-350-7164.