The Wood in Hollywood (Television Thoughts: Hollywood, Netflix)

141224Okay so I am late in seeing Netflix’s ‘Hollywood.’ It seems like everyone has said their piece about the show. And I have to admit when i first started watching it, I loved it. I mean cute guys, hot sex, Patti LuPone. I mean, everything about it seemed gay gay gay. Now that I think more about it, I wonder if the show appealed to people outside the gay community. But by episode four, I was starting to tune out. It seems so strained, and so shallow. I mean, I get what it is trying to say – the what if of it all – but I just did not buy it. It wasn’t written well, and from what I read about Rock Hudson, I don’t think he would have ended up with a black man. Also, i did not like the mix of fictional and ‘real’ characters. I mean, why name Rock and not Scottie Bowers? Truly, the show left a not-so-sweet taste in my mouth, and the more I gargle with Listerine the better.

Livin’ LuPone (Music Thoughts: Don’t Monkey With Broadway, Patti LuPone)

51K64Ah+T8LI don’t think anyone would argue with you if you said Patti Lupone is one of the biggest, brightest, and most influential actors in the history of Broadway. She certainly has put in her work there, with iconic roles both in musicals and plays. So any musical recording of hers deserve undivided attention. She has just release her new live album, ‘Don’t Monkey With Broadway,’ which was recorded Live at John Engeman Theater in her hometown of Northport, Long Island.  And I listened. And I paid attention.

And I laughed, and cried. There is still no one like her – each song is a character. I cannot think of a more ‘singing actress’ than LuPone and she gives her fans everything here – her ‘Don’t Cry For Me Argentina,’ her ‘Meadowlark,’ her ‘Some People.’ We, her fans, eat it up and swallow it whole heartedly with a smile in her face. She is one of those performers who give two hundred percent of herself in every number, and you really never know what Patti you are going to get, but you know it’s going to be memorable.

But to be honest, I saw some cracks in the system. I have always thought she had pitch problems, and maybe I am a little more nit picky than usual, but they seem to be more and more evident here. Plus, let’s not kid ourselves, there are high notes there that just aren’t going to be connected.

Still – when she goes through ‘If,’ from ‘Two On The Aisle,’ you just go giddy with pleasure. And she does a trio of Sondheim and they all have the LuPone stamp on them (and she has one of the few ‘Being Alive’ I can tolerate) and really, there’s more LuPone here per square foot than anywhere else. So everything is fine in ‘Don’t Monkey WIth Broadway,’ and at times it is much much better than fine.