re: Close was electric in LA
Posted by: JereNYC (JereNYC@aol.com) 10:44 am EDT 08/27/19
In reply to: re: Close was electric in LA - EvFoDr 10:25 am EDT 08/27/19

What sometimes gets overlooked in this LuPone v. Close conversation is that Close was playing a different version of the show than LuPone ever got to do. The show was revised for LA and those revisions did not go into the London production until Buckley took over from LuPone. So I've always wondered if LuPone was handicapped from the start by having to play an inferior version of the piece. Or, to invert that thought, was Close's performance always going to be superior because she was starting with a better version of the material?

I have friends who saw the show in London and loved Patti for exactly the reason you state...that the role really works with a big voice. But I'd also heard that LuPone's best performances as Norma were at the tail end of her run, in the immediate aftermath of finding out that she'd been replaced for New York. So maybe LuPone just didn't find that extra "IT" factor in the role until it was too late.

In any case, I've never understood the, apparently since buried, animosity that LuPone had for Close. Close didn't hire herself for the role. She was a actress who was offered a job and decided to take it. If she'd declined, there's still no guarantee that Andrew Lloyd Webber, et al would have brought LuPone to New York in the role if they were unhappy with her performance in some way. Although, I wonder if LuPone, given the revised material and, perhaps, some different direction from Trevor Nunn, based on his experience with Close in LA, would have been able to revise her performance in such a way that she would have gotten the acclaim that Close did.

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