After almost five decades on the Broadway stage, Patti LuPone has won her third Tony Award for her featured performance in director Marianne Elliott’s revival of Stephen Sondheim’s “Company.” She takes on the role of Joanne, originated and made famous by Elaine Stritch, whose rousing number “The Ladies Who Lunch” is one of the most famous in the American theatrical canon.
LuPone has performed the number on numerous occasions in the past decade. At Sondheim’s 80th birthday concert, she belted out the song while sharing a stage with Stritch herself, and she later played Joanne in a New York Philharmonic concert production of “Company” starring Neil Patrick Harris as Bobby; this production has reinvented the show with a female Bobbie at its center, played by Katrina Lenk. After swearing off performing in another musical after “War Paint” in 2017 due to how physically taxing they are, Elliott persuaded her to take on “Company” in the UK in 2018; she won the Olivier Award for her performance abroad before taking it stateside.
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The newly-minted champ began her Broadway career in 1973 and earned her first Tony nomination in 1976 for “The Robber Bridegroom.” On her second bid, she took home the Actress in a Musical prize for her iconic performance in “Evita.” Two more nominations would follow in subsequent years — “Anything Goes” in 1988 and “Sweeney Todd” in 2006 — before she won her second Tony for her searing portrayal of Rose in “Gypsy.” Before her win tonight, she also earned nominations for two more original musicals: “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” in 2011 and “War Paint” in 2016. “Company” marks her eighth nomination at the Tonys.
“Company” has already taken home the award for Scenic Design (Bunny Christie) tonight. It also competes for Featured Actor (Matt Doyle), Best Director (Marianne Elliott), and according to our odds is the frontrunner for Best Revival of a Musical.
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