Patti LuPone: Madonna ‘couldn’t act her way out of a paper bag’

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I’m not one of those people constantly YAS-QUEEN-ing various divas. I think I’ve only YAS-QUEEN’d Rihanna and Beyonce a handful of times in my life. But I’m about to shake out one of the biggest YAS QUEENs ever for Ms. Patti LuPone. Please, bitches. Patti LuPone is the original queen. She’s amazing. She’s had a stellar career on stage, film and television and she’s at the point where she has no more f–ks to give. So, Patti LuPone appeared on Watch What Happens Live last night and Andy Cohen asked her about Madonna. The backstory here is that LuPone originated the Broadway role of Eva Peron in Evita, which is seriously one of my favorite original-cast musical-recordings of all time. Madonna played Evita in the film and the weakness of Madge’s voice in that movie still haunts me. It still haunts Patti too.

Patti LuPone did not hold back when it came to sharing her opinions about Madonna. During Wednesday’s episode of Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen, the American Theater Hall of Fame inductee made it known that she is not a fan of Madge’s portrayal in 1996’s Evita, the same role LuPone played in the original 1979 Broadway production.

“I thought it was a piece of s—. Madonna is a movie killer,” the two-time Grammy Award winner and two-time Tony Award winner told host Andy Cohen and the night’s guest, Christopher Meloni. “She’s dead behind the eyes. She couldn’t act her way out of a paper bag. She should not be on film or on stage. She’s a wonderful performer for what she does, but she is not an actress.”

[From People]

Bless you, Patti LuPone. Bless you for saying that out loud. Madonna is good – I guess? – at what she does full-time, which is “being a pop star.” But Madonna has always been such a sh-tty actress and she’s never been a Broadway-quality musical talent. Madonna’s voice is just too weak. Anyway, don’t even refer to this as shade. Patti just burned the sh-t out of Madonna.

Madonna as Eva Peron

Photos courtesy of WENN, film still courtesy of ‘Evita’.

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50 Responses to “Patti LuPone: Madonna ‘couldn’t act her way out of a paper bag’”

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  1. True but not very polite. Patti’s an icon so I won’t lose sleep over this but I won’t throw up praise hands either. Meh.

    • pf says:

      Patti always been blunt. I remember reading somewhere that she’s known to walk off stage and take away people’s lit up phones because of their distraction to her and the audience. Ha!

    • soph says:

      did you watch the clip and hear the only thing madonna ever said to her? i wouldn’t want to be polite to her after that either

    • Tanguerita says:

      and why should she be polite? This lady has no fucks to give and I salute her for it.

    • Lookit says:

      She looks like and age progressed Lena Dunham. Patti was robbed of that part just like Bebe Neuworth and Ann Reinking should have been cast in Chicago.

    • Just m personal belef, nothing against Patti. I think people should be polite until they have reason to switch gears. I just think life is more gracious when you are kind. Even when you’re being honest there’s a way to do it. Like I said, no biggie.

  2. Aims says:

    She speaks the truth . Can’t be mad at anyone who is honest .

  3. bellebottomblues says:

    bada bing lol

  4. minx says:

    She’s right, of course, but the film is 20 years old. So…

    • pf says:

      She originated the role on Broadway. Even if it was 20 years ago, she was asked about the film adaptation so I don’t see why that’s a problem. Who cares when it was released. Madonna can’t sing period.

    • tmot says:

      I saw the touring production, with Patti (and Mandy Patinkin). It was AMAZING. I’ve never seen the movie but I played the hell out of the original cast album. Never had a desire to see Madonna’s version. I don’t know why they didn’t cast Patti. (OK, I do know why, but it was a dumb move.)

  5. naomipaige says:

    It might not be politically correct to say, but she isn’t lying! I agree with her 100%

  6. Aiobhan Targaryen says:

    1) It seems that anyone named Patti has an innate ability to publicly read someone for filth. See Patti LaBelle,

    2). Everything she said was right about Madonna. Madonna is a sh-tty actress and singer, but she does know how to put on a show at her concerts. That is mainly because the show centers around her and she is always willing to do anything to keep the spotlight on her.

    3) I love Christopher Meloni. I miss him on Law and Order: SVU so much.

  7. Skins says:

    Tru dat

  8. Jenns says:

    I love Patti talking sh*t.

    But I also loved the movie Evita. That was the only movie Madonna was good in besides A League of Their Own.

    • doofus says:

      though it’s kind of a silly movie, I thought she was good in Desperately Seeking Susan.

      and Aiden Quinn in that movie? HUBBA HUBBA.

      • Lightpurple says:

        Aiden was so beautiful in that and Handmaid’s Tale

      • Meredith says:

        I LOVE Desperately Seeking Susan and A League of Their Own, but I feel like Madonna was only good in the former because she was basically playing herself and in the latter because it was a supporting role in an ensemble cast.

  9. Kristen820 says:

    I will give Madge credit for the fact that she got a vocal coach for the first time. She knew she was in over her head, and took steps to improve.

  10. Neo says:

    Madonna was good in A League of their Own, when she wasn’t the star.

  11. bonobchick says:

    I like Madonna … but Patti ain’t wrong about Madonna’s lack of acting talent.

  12. crazydaisy says:

    Harshness! Talk about breaking the axe from grinding. Must woefully agree, though. Madonna is an awesome stage entertainer, a great music video actress, and she was terrific in Desperately Seeking Susan (essentially playing herself). But otherwise, as an actress, wooden.

    Incidentally, I saw her live on Broadway in Speed the Plow (1988) during the height of my Madonna fandom. It was thrilling to be in the same room but even then I had to admit, her acting itself was extreme meh. I also waited in the cold outside the stage door for at least an hour after the show (shout out to my very patient Mom and younger sis for indulging me), but when Madonna finally came out, she did not talk to the fans, sign autographs or even really smile at us. Just straight into the limo. Turning point for me, especially as followed by unsavory Justify My Love video and stupid, self-indulgent X book. She was the shizz in the early to mid 80’s though, a real groundbreaker, sexually fierce and fun and original.

  13. Lightpurple says:

    Patti has been burning Madonna in her one woman show for years. If she tours with her one woman show again, go see her. Her voice is phenomenal, she’s hilarious, and her stories are fantastic – especially the one about John Houseman telling her that SHE couldn’t act her way out of a paper bag.

    Love Meloni. Oz Forever

  14. DragonWise says:

    Did she lie, though? Patti is a legend who earned it the hard way, and the stamina Broadway/stage performers have to have is unbelievable! She gave Madonna her due, she is a good performer, but her career was always about being famous more than anything else, and she is only a mediocre singer, absolutely terrible actress, and very problematic, thirsty person. I like a few of her songs and have some admiration for her marketing sense and ability to stay relevent for so long. Patti will always have my heart for Life Goes On. ❤❤❤

  15. Relli says:

    Two snaps and circle……….DAYUM.

    Personally I loved the movie but i have never seen the Broadway play. I think one of the reason that it is cited as not a horrible Madonna movie was because she didn’t speak very much. a lot of the dialogue was acted out sort of like in a music video format so she wasn’t able to “madonna” all over the movie. For some reason when acting she comes across like she acting in a high school play, overly dramatic and robotic. also its no secret that the keys had to be changed because she simply does not have the range of Patty or any other trained musical actress.

  16. Carol says:

    Patti got it right. I just saw Body of Evidence and her performance was laughable. I like Madonna but she absolutely stinks as an actress

  17. KBeth says:

    I’m not a Madonna fan but I actually thought she did okay in Evita, not fabulous but I don’t think she was embarrassingly awful either.

    Christopher Meloni… him, he is number 2 on my list : )

  18. HK9 says:

    I find it refreshing when someone speaks the truth in public. There’s so little of that these days.

  19. LinaLamont says:

    Patti LuPone and Audra McDonald (and Kristin Chenoweth) are Broadway Gods.

  20. QueenB says:

    Madonna was the best at being a pop star, that was her talent. But she does not understand the new era of social media and the different news cycle. She has decades of work though so she will always be relevant. I wonder how she is going to be remembered because as Patti rightly says its not her artistic talent.

  21. Kristy says:

    I’m not a Madonna fan by any stretch, but I really dig Desperately Seeking Susan, although that could be more of a nod to Rosanna Arquette. That’s pretty much the nicest thing I have to say about Madonna.

  22. Lucy says:

    Eva is a very important icon for my family and I. I’ve only seen a couple musical numbers from the movie (I’m pretty young, please don’t judge) and while I thought they were ok, I know neither of my parents really cared about it.

  23. TOK says:

    I just fell into a YouTube hole for a bit, watching blurry old clips of Patti kaaa-illing it as Evita. You want to see what “having something behind the eyes” looks like, watch the her 1980 Grammy show performance “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina.”

  24. lisa says:


    if you haven’t read her book, run dont walk

  25. Digital Unicorn (aka Betti) says:

    Harsh but true.

    Have you guys seen David Beckhams ‘acting’ clip from the upcoming King Arthur? The Fail has the clip:

    He should stick to his day job as being a retired footballer who complains of not getting a knighthood.

    • Zuzus Girl says:

      His voice is very weak. Kind of shocked me!

      Madonna- terrible singer, horrible actress, mediocre human being, excellent at pr.

  26. teacakes says:

    She didn’t lie, tho.

  27. Bread and Circuses says:

    She ain’t wrong. The movie Who’s That Girl was supposed to be a fluffy romantic romp, i.e. not something you need a powerhouse actress for, and Madonna still killed it dead. She is a great performer in a campy, larger-than-life concert setting, but she cannot turn in a believable performance of a human being on film.

  28. Long time lurker says:

    I enjoyed Andy Cohen’s face freezing in smile-rictus.
    Yay Patti!

  29. Ozogirl says:

    I loved Madonna in A League of Their Own, but it was also a role that was very similar to her personality so it was believable and easy for her to play. She had great chemistry with Rosie and she looked the best she’s ever looked!

  30. Marianne says:

    Even if its true…..that movie is over 20 years old. Who the F cares anymore? Get over it.

    • Wilder says:

      Oh come on, she was asked what she thought about it, she didn’t bring it up herself. I didn’t hear any bitterness in her voice — truthfully, she was “too old” to play Eva Peron in the 1996 version anyway. She was just stating facts. Madonna is an amazing pop performer but she can’t act. The music of Evita was written for a woman with a powerhouse voice, like Patti. BUT — Patti has publicly stated that she HATED singing that music, because it was too high and she felt like she was constantly screaming.

      If you’ve never heard Patti as the original Fantine in the London production of Les Miserables, watch it on YouTube. She was mind-blowing.