Robert LuPone’s legacy continues to live on
Robert LuPone, a Broadway veteran and co-star of “The Sopranos,” who passed away from pancreatic cancer the previous day, was remembered on Sunday by the theater community in New York City and others. He was also a Tony and Emmy nominee.
Robert LuPone, Patti LuPone’s brother, was born in Brooklyn in 1946 and earned a degree in dance from the Juilliard School in 1968. The same year, he made his Broadway debut in a performance of “Sweet Potato” by Noel Coward.
On January 23, 2014, in New York City, Robert LuPone, a former director of The New School for Drama, gave a speech during a celebration to mark the opening of The New School’s University Center.
Robert LuPone’s illustrated career
The versatile actor, who was born in Brooklyn, received a Tony nomination for his performance as Zach in the Broadway production of “A Chorus Line,” played the disciple James in the 1973 motion picture adaptation of “Jesus Christ Superstar,” and appeared as Dr. Bruce “Cooze” Cusamano, Tony Soprano’s neighbor and personal doctor, in the popular HBO series.
Fans of “The Sopranos” will recall his performance as Tony’s neighbor and family doctor, Dr. Bruce Cusamano. A Daytime Emmy nomination came his way for his performances in “All My Children,” “Sex and the City,” and “Guiding Light.”
As Samantha Jones’ smarmy next-door neighbor Len Schneider in “Sex and the City,” LuPone played another iconic TV character. Additionally, he was a regular on the soap operas “Guiding Light” and “All My Children,” the latter of which earned him a nomination for a Daytime Emmy.
In a tweet on Sunday, Ted Neeley, who played Jesus in “Superstar,” remembered a “kind & kind person with a fantastic sense of humor.” “One of the best performers I’ve ever worked with. Bob always gave his utmost effort in everything he did.
Robert LuPone’s Broadway performances in “A View from the Bridge,” “True West,” and “A Thousand Clowns” as well as the Chicago premiere of Sam Shepard’s “The Tooth of Crime” demonstrate LuPone’s first love for the stage.
Along the way, he co-founded the Manhattan Class Company in 1986 with Bernie Telsey, a pupil he had instructed in acting at New York University. The company would subsequently become known as MCC Theater. Along with third co-artistic director Will Cantler, MCC fostered and produced Broadway-bound blockbusters like “Frozen,” “Reasons to be Pretty,” “Hand to God,” “School Girls; or the African Mean Girls Play,” “The Snow Geese,” “The Other Place,” and “Wit,” which received the Pulitzer Prize.
Robert LuPone was “as courteous and giving with his time to me when I was the least important person in the production as he was to the major players,” according to cultural critic, historian, and theater director Isaac Butler, who helped MCC direct “Coraline.”
Donna Murphy, a performer in musical theater, recalled “an wonderful man and artistic force” on Twitter. Bob LuPone, may you rest in peace and power. I appreciate everything you’ve provided us. My sincere condolences to you and your entire family.
In addition, Robert LuPone presided over the board of directors of A.R.T./New York from 2005 to 2011 and directed the master’s drama program at the New School for Drama.
The actor, who was born in 1946, made his professional theatrical debut in 1966 as a member of the ensemble in “The Pajama Game” at the Westbury Music Fair, which starred Liza Minnelli. He made his Broadway debut in Noel Coward’s “Sweet Potato” in 1968, and then he went on to act in “Minnie’s Boys,” “The Rothschilds,” and “The Magic Show.” He earned a bachelor’s degree in dance from The Juilliard School in the same year.
MCC released a statement in which it praised Robert LuPone as a “force, an advocate, complicated in the richest ways, brimming with a youthful exuberance, and deeply insightful as he gazed into our souls.” He established off-Broadway MCC Theater, the Brooklyn native, who was also the brother of “Evita” legend Patti LuPone, died after a three-year battle with pancreatic cancer.
According to his official bio, he was a standout oboist in high school, placing ninth in New York State, in addition to dancing and taking part in the school’s theatrical department. Finding what he wanted to do was “the challenge of my whole existence,” as LuPone famously remarked.