• Katie Reul

LuPone isn’t retiring; Broadway has ‘dumbed down the audience’


Jeff Spicer/Getty Images/TNS). Patti LuPone accepts the Best Actress In A Supporting Role In A Musical award for “Company” on stage during The Olivier Awards 2019 with Mastercard at the Royal Albert Hall on April 7, 2019, in London.

Three-time Tony winner Patti LuPone isn’t leaving Broadway. Despite her recent move to give up her Actor’s Equity card, which fans took as a sign of her impending retirement, she says she’s just taking a break.


“I just gave up my equity card, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t perform on-stage,” LuPone told Variety at Netflix’s “The School for Good and Evil” premiere. “It’s 50 years that I’ve been a member of Actors Equity, and I think I need a break from the stage.”


LuPone clarified that provisions in her former membership allow her to still make guest appearances on stage in the meantime, but without being a part of the labor union, she won’t be taking any major roles on Broadway any time soon.


LuPone knew she needed a break after “Company” wrapped its theatrical run in July. But another part of the reason for her resignation from Actor’s Equity, Lupone said, was that she felt Broadway had underwent drastic changes since she began her storied career in 1973 that have led to the theater industry becoming commercialized and filled with fewer original stories.


“Broadway has also changed considerably. I think we’ve spent—not we, but whoever’s in charge of, whatever—has actively dumbed down the audience. And so the attention span of the majority of the audience, I think, is much less than it was in the past, and I don’t think plays are going to have long lives on Broadway—I feel as though it’s turning into Disneyland, a circus and Las Vegas,” LuPone said.


“There’s still very intelligent audiences that support the theater, but the ticket price is outrageous. There’s so many obstacles that prevent theater from being the tool it should be in society, which is an education,” she said.


Recently, LuPone posted on Twitter and first announced her hiatus from the stage after she was dragged into recent Broadway controversy. When “Hadestown” star Lillias White called out an audience member from the stage last Wednesday for using a recording device, only to find out it was a captioning device for those with impaired hearing, comparisons were quickly drawn on social media to LuPone’s explicit takedown of theatergoers not putting their masks above their noses.


“Quite a week on Broadway, seeing my name being bandied about,” LuPone wrote. “Gave up my Equity card; no longer part of that circus. Figure it out.”


(C) 2022 Variety Media, LLC, a subsidiary of Penske Business Media; Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC