A Queer Vietnamese-Houstonian-New Yorker Writer musing about the arts and absurdities when not screenwriting or playwrighting

Thank You, Starstruck Anxiety: Screwing Up Before Patti LuPone at the stage door of WAR PAINT


When legendary Patti LuPone was feet away from me, I was convinced that she was an optical illusion because she looked so tiny close up. With all the grand dresses and flair she had on stage when performing in War Paint, she seemed larger than life from the distance.

When Lupone, who played the bombastic make-up mongol Helena Rubinstein, emerged from the Nederlander Theater after the Sunday matinee, everyone erupted into cheers.  She went around signing autographs quickly, only pausing to kiss and embrace her co-star Christine Ebersole.

Once she received my Playbill, I asked, “Can you do a picture?”

And she said, maybe with mild sternness, “Oh, I can’t, the bodyguard stated that.” She went on to state that we could take photos of her as she moved around signing but she can’t pose with people. It turned out I missed that announcement. All I remember was the bodyguards asking all of the crowd to move to this area, before the stars came out, but didn’t hear anything about “no photos.”

But I FORGOT to shout out and praise her performance, something to compensate for my oversight.

Things I Could’ve Hollered at Patti LuPone:

  • “I can’t pick out which number I loved you the most in!”
  • “I love you on Steven Universe.”
  • “You’re forever beautiful.”
  • “I love you as Yellow Diamond!”
  • “You should do more animated voice work!”
  • “You’re perfect at playing a lovable diva woman who’s comfortable with her ambitions!”

And then she just disappeared through two cars with a bodyguard and her car left and a fan went, “Well, bye, Patti.”

So now Patti LuPone just knows me as the woman in the green jacket and blue dress who didn’t listen to bodyguard directions.

And enjoy this bonus footage of the great Christine Ebersole, who portrayed Elizabeth Arden opposite to LuPone’s Rubinstein. I did much better with vocally praising her.

Will share thoughts of my experience at the Sunday August 20, 2017 showing of War Paint.

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The signature of two titans. @warpaintmusical

A post shared by Carol Cao (@maximininalist) on



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