By Trent Scherer
The set was simple. A piano and base player on the side, and a number of ghost lights (a single light left onstage at night). It was a night full of show tunes which included a good many from South Pacific in the first act, and from Carousel in the second. Lupone and Patinkin played off each other so well. The choreography was done by Ann Reinking who used to often collaborate with Bob Fosse.
I can’t truly give this performance justice. If you’re a fan of either or both of them, it’ll be a highly enjoyable evening. My friend Larry agreed. Though it is just the two of them dressed in simple black, they are nevertheless captivating together. There’s also a great dance sequence with office chairs on wheels.
Patti Lupone finished off the first set with Don’t Cry for me Argentina: she starred as Eva Peron in the 1979 Broadway version brought over from England. She also originated such classic roles as Fantine in Les Miserables, and Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard.
On stage, Mandy Patinkin is known for his roles as Che Guevara in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Evita (where Lupone played Eva Peron), and George in Sunday in the Park with George. On film, he’s often remembered as Inigo Montoya from The Princess Bride, and on TV, from Chicago Hope and Dead Like Me.
When it comes to the end of the night, if you are an appreciative audience and give a standing ovation, Lupone and Patinkin may come back for another 2-3 songs. On opening night, they received a second ovation, to which Lupone asked that the mic be turned off and both her and Patinkin sang a song, each a cappella and with no electronic assistance. It was a beautiful moment filled with absolute silence and a single voice: a truly spectacular moment.
At the Royal Alex there is basically no lobby, so at intermission you might want to stand at your seat to stretch instead of heading towards the lobby, unless you need the washroom. The show is 2 hours including intermission.
–An Evening with Patty Lupone and Mandy Patinkin runs until February 14th at the Royal Alexandra Theatre (260 King St West)
-Performances run Wednesday-Saturday at 8pm, with a Sunday matinee at 3pm.
-Tickets range from $28-$125.
– Tickets are available at Mirvish.com or call 416.872.1212.
(Photo of Patti Lupone & Mandy Patinkin by Brigitte LaCombe)