Broadway Star Resents Giuliani for Ruining Times Square: 'I Can't Wait For It to Be Tawdry and Dangerous Again'
Broadway star Patti LuPone gave an interview to the DC gay mag Metro Weekly, in which she unloaded several strange bursts of liberal celebrity-speak. The most notable one was resenting Rudy Giuliani for cleaning up Times Square into an “arcade” and wishing Times Square was “tawdry and dangerous again.”
In case you thought there would be absolutely no one who missed drug dealers and prostitutes dominating Times Square (other than those people), there is Patti LuPone:
MW: Over the past 20 years or so, have you sensed a difference in the way things are approached on Broadway?
LUPONE: Yeah, I think so. First of all, I really, really, really resent – first Giuliani, and now Bloomberg – what they've done to Times Square. It's just an arcade. I can't wait for it to go tawdry and dangerous again so we can get the streets back.
It's just horrible what it has turned into. And one of the reasons it's upsetting is because there's no focus on the stage or the theater. It's people staring at themselves in the Jumbotron. I'm not sure people who go into Times Square anymore know that there are theaters on the side streets.
I think a tax should be levied on all of these major, major, major producers that however much money they make they have to take part of that money and support young playwrights and young composers. As long as there are producers that take their chances with material we'll be okay, but if the new idea is shut out, we're in big trouble. So, yes, Broadway has changed – a lot.
MW: Speaking to the actual physical makeup of Times Square, I agree with you. The last time I visited, I was mortified that there was a Toys R Us looming large in the midst of it. I went to school in New York the '70s and we used to travel uptown to Times Square all the time to play in the pinball arcades and to watch as the prostitutes mingled with the theater-goers in their furs as the shows let out. It was a dangerous area, but somehow it never felt threatening. Just interesting, unique and alive. Now it's just homogenized.
LUPONE: It's just horrible. Tourists are just stopping in the middle of the sidewalk. You want to shout, ''Sidewalk means walk!'' But the fact is that the producers are second-guessing the audience. They've come to New York to see theater. Don't think you are putting it on in a small community in Kansas. You are putting it on in New York City and Kansas has come to New York to see it. Have some courage!
There were several other strange passages:
2. “Religion is the evil!” And Make an Islamophobic Video? “Lock ‘Em Up”
MW....[discussion of theatre consumers being bored, watch too much TV] We have become consummate interrupters.
LUPONE: Are we that unconscious as a people? Are we that oblivious to the stuff around us? If that's the case, we're screwed. I mean, I can't imagine that people would behave that way in a church. Possibly they do. And possibly they behave that way in a museum. And any other place that requires respect for the people standing next to you, that requires silence.
We're living in a world that is tilted, and it's a very scary and sad and lost place. Look what happens. Those extremists who made that video. If they did have an idea of the ramifications and it was intentional, lock 'em up. I've always said there has to be a boundary to freedom because a total freedom is anarchy. And I think we're approaching anarchy. We're desensitized. We are all desensitized – well, desensitized or terrorized – and I am terrorized. I think there are people who are desensitized and who don't think about the consequences of their actions.
MW: What do you think is the cause of that?
LUPONE: Religion! [Laughs.] Religion is the evil. What else is it? I don't know. I don't know. I have no idea, except maybe it's the Internet. Maybe it's the anonymity of the Internet that allows one to express themselves and not think of consequences, or think that they'll get the result they want and not be held responsible. I really don't know because it's all so new. I don't know, I don't know, I don't know. I hope these guys are in some way punished for what has happened. And I don't know where you draw the line because yes, free speech – blah, blah, blah – but at the same time there has got to be responsibility. I know I'm contradicting myself, but I think we're in a really, really scary place and the world is tilted. I think we need a global time-out.
3. America Has 'So Much Blood on Our Hands,' Should Withdraw Our Military From the World
MW: What do you want for yourself?
LUPONE: I want to be able to continue to do what I'm doing and not worry about it. And in the overall scheme of things, I don't want to be terrorized anymore. I really do wish our country would take a step backwards and go home. I've always felt America should be an isolationist country, but it's too late for that. We're not best friends with our neighbors. How about we become best friends with Canada, Mexico and South America and call it a day? Let's trade with them and just let everybody else deal with their own issues. I really wish America would come home.
MW: That's not very likely.
LUPONE: Well, we're going to have to bear the consequences of that, then.
MW: We can't just ignore the rest of the world.
LUPONE: I don't mean to not be interested in the rest of the world, but I don't think our military power should be wielded anymore. I think we should come home and if [the rest of the world] needs our military for help, for aid, for humanitarian effort, that's where I would put my strength. We have so much blood on our hands. We have so much blood on our hands.
You know what I think? Why aren't we the humanitarians? If we are the richest, most powerful nation, why aren't we the humanitarians? I've always thought the thing that makes the most sense in my mind and the thing that everybody around the world wants is our pop culture, our science and technology. Pop culture, and our science and technology. That is our strength.