21 questions

Patti LuPone Can’t Find Quaaludes Anymore

Photo: Ethan Hill

Name: Patti LuPone
Age: 63
Neighborhood: Theater district
Occupation: Actor-singer, with a new live album,  Far Away Places. On Monday, February 4, you can catch her at the 92Y Tribeca with musician, composer, and lyricist David Yazbeck, and from February 12 through 16, she’ll be performing at 54 Below nightclub.  


Who’s your favorite New Yorker, living or dead, real or fictional?
Lady Liberty.

What’s the best meal you’ve eaten in New York? 
It’s not solely about the food. A beautiful memory is an evening at the Tasting Room in the East Village looking at a full moon with a light snow falling through French lace curtains, eating and drinking with castmates and friends. Sadly, the restaurant is closed. Then, of course, there’s Degustation before and after a performance at the Public Theatre. How about a Yankee frank or a pretzel from a street vendor? You can’t go wrong.

In one sentence, what do you actually do all day in your job?
I entertain audiences that come to the theatre.

What was your first job in New York?  
A salesgirl at Civic and Company on East 86th Street selling women’s Van Heusen shirts.

What’s the last thing you saw on Broadway?
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

Do you give money to panhandlers?

What’s your drink?

How often do you prepare your own meals?
I cook for myself all the time, but my favorite meals to indulge in are Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. I’ve been using a Creole menu for Thanksgiving since 1970, when I was a student at Juilliard and doing poorly in the leading lady role of a Restoration comedy. I went to the Green Room in my costume and elaborate wig and threw myself on the sofa (breaking a cardinal rule of acting — don’t crush that farthingale, not to mention that restoration wig). I turned my head, saw a TV Guide, and started thumbing through it, finding three Thanksgiving menus: New England, Indian, and Creole. Reading these delectable recipes distracted me from the massive problem of my stinking in this part and made me feel instantly better (never mind Thanksgiving was months away). I chose the Creole menu that afternoon and have celebrated the “Flaming Turkey” ever since. Before I set the bird on fire, I dedicate it to actors all over the world.

What’s your favorite medication?
I can’t find Quaaludes anymore.

What’s hanging above your sofa? 
My husband. No, seriously, an opening-night gift from David Mamet.

How much is too much to spend on a haircut?

When’s bedtime?
After a performance, around 2:30, 3 a.m.

Which do you prefer, the old Times Square or the new Times Square?
The OLD Times Square. Times Square once represented the literary and theatrical worlds, a higher and nobler state of mind. It’s become a fourth-rate cheap shopping mall, with people fascinated by their image in the Jumbotron. I won’t even bring up the difficulty of getting to a theatre or the traffic snarls Hizzoner has created.

What do you think of Donald Trump?
I think he should shut up and go get a $400 haircut.

What do you hate most about living in New York?
Donald Trump.

Who is your mortal enemy?
The “Disneyfication” of Times Square and the Corporatization of Broadway .

When’s the last time you drove a car?
I drive all the time.

How has the Wall Street crash affected you?
I got my money out just in time, thanks to the wisdom of my Sweeney Todd and Gypsy dresser, Pat White.

Times, Post, or Daily News?
Daily News.

Where do you go to be alone?
New York City.

What makes someone a New Yorker?
Anyone who moves here to live the dream … or nightmare.

Patti LuPone’s 21 Questions