Drawing: Patti LuPone

Patti LuPone is musical theatre royalty on both sides of the Atlantic. Since making her professional debut 45 years ago she has played every major role and won every major West End and Broadway accolade, including the Olivier and two Tonys. She’s also collected a couple of Grammys for good measure.

Patti originated the title role of Eva Peron in the 1979 Broadway production of EVITA, picking up her first Tony. She played the part of Fantine in the original London cast of LES MISERABLES in 1985, the same year she appeared as Moll in THE CRADLE WILL ROCK, winning the Olivier for both roles. In 2008 she won her second Tony for portrayal of Rose in the Broadway revival of GYPSY.

Her latest appearance on the Great White Way is as Helena Rubinstein in WAR PAINT at the Nederlander Theatre, which garnered her seventh Tony nom. I sent her this montage sketch in March this year at the theatre and it came back dedicated and signed.

Drawing: Peter Davison in Legally Blonde and Gypsy

British actor Peter Davison came to prominence as Tristan Farnon in James Herriot’s ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL before becoming the fifth incarnation of the Doctor in DOCTOR WHO. He is coincidently the real life father in law of the tenth Doctor David Tennant.

Apart from his extensive TV work Peter has a distinguished stage career including two of his recent appearances, as Professor Callahan in LEGALLY BLONDE and Herbie in GYPSY, both at the Savoy Theatre in London. He was nominated for an Olivier Award for the latter. I dropped this sketch off at the theatre, having missed Peter a couple of times at the stage door and it eventually came back signed.

Sketch: Imelda Staunton in Gypsy

imelda gypsy

Jonathan Kent’s dazzling revival of Julie Styne and Stephen Sondheim’s Gypsy has gathered a galaxy of five star reviews, in particular for Imelda Stunton in the lead role of the legendary Momma Rose.

Transferring from Chichester Festival Theatre, the production has extended its run at London’s Savoy due to huge demand. It is considered by many to be America’s greatest musical, playing Broadway no less than five times, this is the first showing of the celebrated musical in London in over 40 years.

In what Matt Trueman in Variety calls, “a helluva performance… Staunton makes Momma Rose every bit the equal of Willy Loman, Arthur Miller’s doomed salesman, but where he hawks his wares door-to-door, she’s selling her family.”

Tom Eames in Digital Spy simply states “Staunton is ridiculously brilliant as Rose” and Michael Billington in The Guardian says it’s “one of the greatest performances I’ve ever seen in musical theatre”.

Sondheim was so impressed with Imelda’s turn as Mrs Lovett in Sweeney Todd that he insisted she starred as Momma Rose in this revival, often called Broadway’s answer to King Lear, due to Momma Rose’s single minded devotion and delusional attempts to turn her two daughters into vaudeville stars.

When people first see the diminutive Imelda off stage, they are taken aback. One lady whispered to her friend at the stat door after a performance,”how can so much power come out of that tiny person?”

I was told that Imelda was only signing programmes, so out of respect for that I left my sketch with the stage door team with a return envelope. As usual, Imelda sent it back, graphed, a five six star signer.

Drawing: Lara Pulver in Gypsy

Lara Pulver

Last autumn English actress Lara Pulver played Gypsy Rose Lee in the acclaimed Chichester Festival Theatre production of Gypsy which has now transferred to the Savoy Theatre in Londoon. Basd on the 1957 memoirs of Gypsy Rose Lee with a score by Jule Styne and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, Gypsy is considered by many to be the greatest of the Broadway musicals.

In 2008 she was nominated for a Olivier Award for her performance as Lucille Frank in Parade at London’s Donmar Warehouse. This is her first appearance on the London stage since then.

In the first act Lara plays the stage shy teenager Louise, but transforms into the famous seductive stripper as her showbiz mother from hell; the legendary Momma Rose, played by Imelda Staunton; pushes her two daughters into a series of cheesy shows in the dying days of Vaudeville.

Paul Taylor, in his five star review, said that Lara was, “stunning both as the love starved tomboy and the sleek seductress.”

Lara stopped to sign a few graphs, including my sketch, at the Savoy’s stage door on Thursday evening after the production received unanimous rave reviews at its opening the night before.