If Patti LuPone is “the first lady of Broadway,” then she must be Queen of Ravinia. The multi-talented dynamo has been a major presence at the festival, dating back to the 1980s when she performed in plays like The Robber Bridegroom and The Cradle Will Rock with John Houseman’s Acting Company, but especially over the past decade when she’s won continual raves headlining an almost-annual major music-theater production. In her just released autobiography, Patti LuPone: A Memoir, the star chronicles her entire career and gives keen focus to the Ravinia projects, even citing Ravinia President and CEO Welz Kauffman as her theatrical muse. It was Welz who first connected Patti to Sondheim, casting her in Sweeney Todd for the New York Philharmonic’s production that was essentially reprised at Ravinia. It was the first of several Sondheim shows Patti would do at Ravinia, including Passion, A Little Night Music, Anyone Can Whistle, Sunday in the Park with George and Gypsy, which went on to a Tony-winning turn on Broadway. Patti’s also done her one-woman shows at what she’s fondly come to call “Camp Ravinia.” Read all about this extraordinary career in a breezy biography that’s big on heart (and dish!).
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