Sad news: American actor Robert LuPone has passed away. He was nominated for a Tony Award for his performance as Dr. Soprano in the original production of “A Chorus Line.” Additionally, he spent 40 years as the artistic director of the renowned MCC Theatre on Broadway. For three years, Broadway diva Patti LuPone’s brother, Robert LuPone, battled pancreatic cancer before he passed away at age 76.
In a statement, the MCC Theatre company expressed their sadness over the passing of their “inspiring colleague and dear friend.” He had no fear and lived with curiosity and humor each day. His absence will be keenly felt.
In 1966, Robert LuPone made his professional acting debut in a Westbury Music Fair production of The Pajama Game, which also included Liza Minnelli. His first Broadway show was Noel Coward’s Sweet Potato in 1968. Aside from The Rothschilds, he was also in Minnie’s Boys and The Magic Show.
He was initially cast as Al in the musical “A Chorus Line,” but when that actor dropped out, he talked director/actor Michael Bennett into letting him play Zach instead. He was nominated for a Tony Award as the best-featured actor for this performance. Betty Buckley, an American performer, sent her sympathies to the LuPone family after the tragic loss of their loved one.
The actor’s birthplace is listed as Brooklyn, New York. In 1968, he got his bachelor’s degree in dance at the prestigious Juilliard School. Bernard Telsey was one of his students when he taught acting at New York University.
Together, in 1986, they established what is now known as MCC Theatre, the Manhattan Class Company. Together with Will Cantler, they helped turn MCC Theatre into a significant force, responsible for such notable works as “Frozen,” “Hand to God,” “Reasons to be Pretty,” “School Girls,” “The Other Place,” “The Snow Geese,” and “Wit,” which won the Pulitzer Prize.
LuPone was not only an accomplished director and co-artist for MCC but also a gifted performer. True West, A View from the Bridge, and A Thousand Clowns were just a few of the Broadway productions he was a part of. He has appeared on Guiding Light, All My Children (for which he was nominated for a Daytime Emmy), and in the Chicago premiere of Sam Shepard’s The Tooth of Crime.
Dr. Bruce Cusamano, his character on The Sopranos, was jokingly called “Cooze” by Tony Soprano, a neighboring gangster. From 2005 to 2011, he oversaw the New School for Drama’s master’s drama program. Additionally, he served as president of the board of directors for ART, New York. His wife Virginia and son Orlando both lived on after his death. His sister Patti and brother William both survive him.