If there’s one thing Patti LuPone does not tolerate, it’s disrespect. Cross her, and you’ll be quick to find yourself on the receiving end of a rage not known since Medea sought revenge upon Jason. Just ask the person who wouldn’t put their mask on correctly during a talkback for Company.
“If you don’t want to follow the rule, get the fuck out!” That’s the kind of thing you can only pull off if you originated the roles of Fantine and Eva Perón. Sutton Foster would (or could) never.
This was not the first time, and probably not the last, that LuPone has righteously gotten pissed in public. Join me in a trip down memory lane as we go through some of her greatest hits.
“WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE???”
In 2009, LuPone was starring as Momma Rose in Gypsy, a role she was born to play. As she headed into the climax of “Rose’s Turn,” she spotted someone in the audience taking pictures which is strictly prohibited by Broadway theaters. “Stop taking pictures right now,” she bellowed. “You heard the announcement, who do you think you are?” The person was removed from the theater and presumably ushered to the bathroom so they could clean themselves up after peeing their pants in fear.
That Time She Confiscated Someone’s Phone Mid-Show
In 2015, LuPone was performing in Shows for Days. The set involved audience members sitting onstage, and one woman thought it would be perfectly chill to text throughout the show while being approximately 10 feet away from two-time Tony Award winner Patti LuPone. Big mistake. Big. Huge. LuPone walked right up to her in character, snatched her phone, and walked away. “I should be a sleight of hand artist,” the diva told the New York Times. Like most things, she would probably be good at it.
“Madonna Is a Movie Killer”
This is not rage so much as annoyance, but it is too funny to not include. When asked by Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Live her thoughts on Madonna as Eva Perón, LuPone, as the kids say, went off. “I saw, I believe it was ‘Buenos Aires,’ and I thought it was a piece of shit,” she said. “Madonna is a movie killer. She’s dead behind the eyes, she cannot act her way out of a paper bag, she should not be in film or on stage. She’s a wonderful performer for what she does, but she is not an actress.” That’s that on that.
“Happy Birthday, Now Shut Up”
You go to a solo Patti LuPone show at 54 Below and you’re talking? Not allowed! LuPone took matters into her own hands in 2015 when an audience member would not stop chatting while she was trying to perform. “What is it, honey? Are you drunk? Are you menopausal,” she asked, I imagine with perfect comedic timing. Turns out it was her birthday, and LuPone led the audience in singing “Happy Birthday” to the chatterbox, capping it off by saying, “Now shut up.”
“I Hate the Motherfucker”
Red carpet terrorist Mark Malkin took it upon himself to ask various Tony nominees why then-president Donald Trump should go see their show. “I hope he doesn’t because I won’t perform if he does,” LuPone responded. When asked why, she followed up with, “because I hate the moterfucker, how’s that?” Note the perfect enunciation on “motherfucker.” That’s how you know she’s a professional.
Honorable Mention: All of “Rose’s Turn”
You wanna talk yelling? This is yelling, in the best way possible. Now put your phone down and go donate to Patti’s favorite pet cause — the career of Randy Rainbow.