Broadway Star Returns Home To Standing Ovation

By Janee Law

 Patti LuPone returned to her hometown early this week to perform “Don’t Monkey with Broadway,” which featured the Northport High School Choir.

Patti LuPone returned to her hometown early this week to perform “Don’t Monkey with Broadway,” which featured the Northport High School Choir.

A packed house at the John W. Engeman Theater Tuesday night gave Northport-native Patti LuPone a standing ovation following her second “Don’t Monkey with Broadway” performance in two nights.

The two-time Tony Award winner and two-time Grammy Award winner put on an elegant, energetic and witty performance, telling the story of her journey to Broadway. She also sang numerous Broadway melodies, and some of her own tunes, with the help of pianist Joseph Thalken, who is also an award-winning composer.

The Northport High School Choir joined LuPone on the stage during the second half of the performance to sing alongside her.

Jack Maline, a senior in the choir, said the experience was exciting.

“It’s not just like you’re singing with her, you’re acting with her, she’s interacting with you, and she’s interacting with the audience,” Maline said. “You really just put on a show for everybody.”

Another senior in the choir, Jake Greene, said there’s never a dull moment when performing with LuPone.

Both Maline and Greene recalled the song “Sleepy Man,” during which the choir harmonized with LuPone.

It was just “fantastic, and it’s a very emotional song,” Maline said. “It was great.”

The choir also performed alongside LuPone during her first performance, which was Monday night, and last year when LuPone performed on Long Island last year. Maline and Greene both said that through those experiences, LuPone has taught them how to act and react in performances, and to always be themselves.

Linda Skidmore, of Northport, was in the audience Tuesday night and said that LuPone’s performances never disappoint.

“She still has that strong voice and she puts comedy into everything,” Skidmore said. “We laughed so much tonight.”

Another audience member Karen Breen, of Northport, said LuPone’s performance was everything she expected.

“We have seen her on Broadway, which was exciting and it’s a thrill to have her back in Northport,” Breen said. “We’ve longed for this night.”

The performance raised $30,000 through ticket sales, according to Kevin O’Neill, managing director of the John W. Engeman Theater. Proceeds will benefit the Northport High School’s Performing Arts Department, O’Neill added.

Izzet Mergen, Northport-East Northport School District’s director of fine and performing arts, said the district is planning how the funds will be used. Some ideas have been tossed around, he said, including the potential purchase of instruments for students in need; wireless microphones for the district’s wigs musical theater productions; and tuition for the summer program, which includes a band camp, chorus clinic and an orchestra clinic.