Patti performed on the big stage at the Ordway to a nearly full house, on a stage empty except for a grand piano, played by Patti's longtime collaborator and Music Director Joseph Thalken. She began the show with the title song, Cole Porter's "Please Don't Monkey with Broadway," with a few updated lyrics for today. Then she took us loosely chronologically through her life and career, telling stories of how she eagerly consumed Broadway albums as a child and wanted to sing every song, regardless of age or gender of the performer (including songs like Sweet Charity's "Big Spender" that are not necessarily appropriate for a child to sing). She sang several songs that she's performed in shows she's done ("Meadowlark" from The Baker's Wife, "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" from Evita) as well as songs from shows she's never done but loves (a trilogy from West Side Story including "Something's Coming," "Somewhere," and, hilariously, both parts of "A Boy Like That"). And of course, it's not a Patti concert without a little Sondheim, including three songs from Company (the current tour of which closed it's Minneapolis run that very day) - "Another Hundred People," a stunning rendition of "Being Alive," and of course, the song she recently sang in the show on Broadway, a highly entertaining "The Ladies Who Lunch." She closed the show with an unexpected choice - an unplugged version of the traditional Scottish song "Parting Glass," to send her audience out with a warm glow of companionship.
Patti sings in a way that seems effortless, but comes from decades of experience. Not only is the quality of her vocals outstanding, but she's able to convey a wide range of emotion, singing with silly comedy, or deep pathos. A memorable moment was when she teared up singing "A Song for You," another unexpected choice with lyrics that obviously mean a lot to her. And it really did feel like she was singing her songs for us, in an intimate night of music with a few thousand other people.
I've been so many places in my life and timeI've sung a lot of songsI've made some bad rhymesI've acted out my life on stagesWith ten thousand people watchingBut we're alone nowAnd I'm singing this song to you