"Did I just pee on myself?" or: the night I met Patti LuPone

Note: No pictures yet. It's been a month and I still have my SD card in my friend's camera. she didn't pose for pics, but I did get some bad snapshots of her signing patrons playbills right next to me. Will post as soon as I can.

So after reading my uber fancy review for Gypsy, I felt a little snooty. So here I am posting some personal thoughts and experiences about my Gypsy night in NYC, Thursday August 14, 2008:

Yes, I got to meet her. Leaving the St. James was a pain in the ass. I blame it on the two (old) ladies that were in front of me trying to walk down the stairs without falling and dying. I was in a rush people!!! Don't you know there is a diva waiting for me to personally swoon over at the stage door?! And if I don't get there before the big crowd, she'll probably never get a chance to meet her disciple. GET THE HELL OUTTA MY WAY!!

So after promptly trampling over the two hags (I mean that with all due respect and sincerity), I headed straight to the stage door located next to the main entry. There was already a small crowd forming but still room enough for me to fit my big Texas-sized attitude right to the front of the barricade. There was some clawing, some biting, and yes, even some farting (I'm not proud of it, but damn it, don't get in the way of a fanboy and his diva!) It was all very reminiscent of the battle at the barricades a la Les Miserables (minus the expenisve production values and overbearing hand of Makintosh). Me, the handsome and courageous Enjrolas, charging my way through the dogs of the night. Truly inspiring. So after my brief foray into dementia ("Joseph's Turn"), I gathered myself together enough to settle into a calm and cool theater patron. Had Patti seen me at my worse, no doubt she would have called security - you ever seen one of those dogs with rabies, foaming at the mouth? Yeah, that was me. And after my debacle over at the [title of show] stage door on Monday night (yeah, I'll fill you in on that soon enough... stay tuned), I knew I had to present myself in a gentlemanly manner.

I held my playbill and Sharpie marker firmly in my grasp, awaiting for Patti to bust through those doors and present herself in all her divalicious glory. Ha! All you fans with no pens and markers - what, you think Patti has time to stop at the store and by herself a marker to sign your playbills? Puh-leez. I thought ahead and came prepared. I brought MY OWN Sharpie! The rest of y'all would be stuck with non-autographed programs and broken dreams. Bummer for you.

Waving my proud Sharpie around like a sceptor, I, Joseph Gomez, was now king of the stage door. And damn excited.

When Ms. LuPone did come out (my first reaction - I don't remember. I'm guessing I fainted, blacked out from shock, and rewoke in a matter of 5 seconds), the crowd, now flowing into the road and across the street at the Majestic Theater, cheered and hurrahed in elation. Here she was... Patti LuPone. Gracing us mere mortals with her presence. And what a humble presence she was! My first (conscious) thought was, "Wow... she's so tiny." Indeed, Ms. LuPone measures up to my shoulders - in heels. Her stage persona is gi-nor-mous and she seems to tower over the rest of the ensemble. Yet when she walked out of the stage door, she seemed incredibly modest in stature. Low and behold she was modest in personality too.

She started signing playbills on the right side of the barricades (where I was). She HAD HER OWN SHARPIE.

So after getting over my self-indulgent thoughts, I humbled myself and asked if she could sign my playbill... that she had already taken out of my hands.

Say something! Say something!!

My heart was racing, my mind was reeling... there she was - Patti LuPone - a few inches from me and I couldn't muster up anything to say.

"Congratulations!! You should be very proud."

That was it. Those were my first words I ever said to Patti.

"Aw, well thank you," she replied with that signature Patti side-smile.

ME: "I came all the way from Texas to see you. Thank you. Just thank you."

PL: "Wow all the way from Texas. What part?"

OMG - is Patti Lupone striking up a tiny conversation with me??

ME: "Uh, umm - San Antonio and Austin area. South central TX. Small town of New Braunfels."

PL: "Oh, I love Austin. It's lovely down there. I have yet to be in San Antonio, but I've heard wonderful things."

ME: "Oh yeah! It really is great down there. Very different from here. Thank you Ms. LuPone. And again congratulations on a fantastic show!"

PL: "Thank you sweety."

And then she continued down the barricades to sign EVERYONE'S playbill. And I left. A very happy Texas tourist.


Esther said...

Oh my gosh, what a great story. This post makes my day! I'm so happy the two of you had such a great conversation. King of the stage door indeed!

I was lucky enough to get Ms. LuPone's autograph last summer, after seeing Gypsy at City Center. I even snagged a second one for a friend. Yes, she signed two programs for me. But there were so many people, I don't think she even realized they were from the same person!

Sadly, I didn't get a chance to talk to her, the crowd was so big. If I had, in addition to gushing over Gypsy, I would have told her how much I loved her in the tv series "Life Goes On."

And I was surprised, too, how tiny she is in person.


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