Patti, Sans Tuba

Many chanteuses can rip the heart out of a famous show tune. But only a few can act. And even fewer can play the tuba. That Patti LuPone can do all three sets the Long Island-born stage and screen performer apart from other interpreters of the likes of Gershwin, Porter, and Sondheim. San Francisco audiences will sadly be denied the opportunity of experiencing LuPone's horn-blowing antics firsthand when the Broadway revival of Sweeney Todd arrives at A.C.T. later this year (LuPone, who played the tuba-honking Mrs. Lovett in New York, is not part of the musical's touring cast). But no matter. For LuPone fans get to see the performer unencumbered by a large brass instrument and surrounding cast when she brings her solo production, The Lady With the Torch, to the San Francisco Symphony tonight. LuPone's love song-centric program balances lusty renditions of favorite ballads like "Frankie and Johnny" and "Something Cool" with soulful mood-makers such as "A Cottage for Sale" and "The Other Woman." When LuPone debuted her torch-bearing show at Carnegie Hall in March 2005, her reaction was simply "what a show, what a hall, what a band." Most performers don't like to blow their own horns, but LuPone somehow gets away with it.

 
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