Patti LuPone is the reigning queen of the ladies who punch.
When she’s not scolding audiences for disruptive behaviour, the 71-year-old Broadway legend — currently starring in Ryan Murphy’s “Hollywood” on Netflix — is serving shade to other stars in her orbit.
Whether sizing up composer and oft-nemesis Andrew Lloyd Webber as “a jerk” and “a sad sack” last fall, suggesting Uma Thurman’s 2017 Broadway debut helped “lower the standard” for theatre or declaring Madonna a “movie killer” who “cannot act her way out of a paper bag,” she’s always ready to spill some tea.
The diva of dish doesn’t hold back — and we’ll drink to that.
In her latest pokes at her peers, the irrepressible LuPone humorously savaged Meryl Streep, Audra McDonald and Christine Baranski for their booze-swilling, bathrobe-wearing rendition of Stephen Sondheim’s “The Ladies Who Lunch” during the virtual 90th birthday tribute to the musical theatre legend. It’s a song near and dear to LuPone, who was performing the tune in a revival of Sondheim’s “Company” this spring until the corona-virus pandemic shut down Broadway.
In an interview with LGBTQ publication Between the Lines last week, LuPone said — with a cackle — that their rendition ruined the song for her, proclaiming that she’ll never be able to perform it again because “they trashed the number!”
“I say that with great humour, but I’m not going to be able to sing it without thinking of them doing it,” she said, with a laugh.
And when asked how she would change the movie industry for the better, she went on to diminish the flurry of popular superhero movies that have taken over Hollywood.
“I would green-light films and television shows that I thought were going to be beneficial for education and for parents, as opposed to, ‘Well, that was a big hit; let’s make 9,000 more of those Marvel comics,’ ” she said.
LuPone also would not approve of a third “Mamma Mia!” film, throwing particular venom at the singing group behind the song that spawned the movie franchise and Broadway show.
“I hate ABBA. I have always hated ABBA,” she said. “I will not go see “Mamma Mia!” because I hate ABBA. And I’ve hated ABBA since I was a kid.”
LuPone also threw shade on other targets in an appearance on “Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen” last week.
LuPone, the 2008 Tony Award winner for Best Actress in a Musical in “Gypsy,” suggested Barbra Streisand, 78, would be “too old” to star in a movie adaptation of that show, while conceding that she thinks that Streisand “maybe 50 years ago she would have been a brilliant Madame Rose.”
And when asked whether Joanna Gleason deserved to win the 1988 Tony Award for Lead Actress in a Musical for “Into the Woods’ over LuPone’s competing turn in “Anything Goes,” she dropped an emphatic “No,” then adding, “I thought I was pretty damn funny, and I had a lot to do.”
She also let the fur fly about the box office bomb “Cats,” saying she’ll “never” see the film adaptation of Webber’s musical. She said she already hated it as a stage show and even walked out of the recent London revival after the first act. Her final assessment of “Cats”: LuPone rated it a “zero” on a scale of one to 10.