Even though actress/singer Patti LuPone did not make her entrance with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra until the second half of Friday night’s program, her six rather brief songs, in tribute to Irving Berlin, dominated the concert.
Most of the evening focussed on John Mauceri and the orchestra, playing a series of suites from musicals that made the leap from stage to film: “Singin’ in the Rain,””Carousel,””State Fair,””Easter Parade” and “Annie Get Your Gun.”
For LuPone, who has been most recently identified with her continuing role on the television series “Life Goes On,” the evening offered an opportunity to return to realm of the musical–an arena where she has accumulated equally impressive credentials, most notably her Tony Award-winning performance in “Evita.”
Possessed of a bright, mellifluous voice that can belt or caress a phrase, LuPone performed an impressive set of Berlin songs. She opened with a sassy version of “Hostess With the Mostes’ on the Ball,” from “Call Me Madam.” Changing the mood, she offered a gentle rendition of “I Got Lost in His Arms” from “Annie Get Your Gun.” Upping the tempo to a jazzier level led to “I Got the Sun in the Morning” and a medley of “Let Yourself Go” and “Steppin’ Out with My Baby.”
But the most stirring number was LuPone’s brassy, energetic version of “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” which led to two encores: “Moonshine Lullaby” and a rather awkward performance of “God Bless America.”
Mauceri conducted the orchestra, which played with skill and finesse, in many arrangements reconstructed from original studio sketches; they provided a nice connection between the orchestra and its Hollywood roots.