Cyndi Lauper performs at the Levitt Pavilion. / Photo by Thane Grauel
Cyndi Lauper performs at the Levitt Pavilion. / Photos by Thane Grauel

By Thane Grauel

WESTPORT — The ’80s were alive and well Friday night at the Levitt Pavilion.

Cyndi Lauper, who rose to fame in 1983 with her solo album “She’s So Unusual,” performed with her band at the Levitt Pavilion for the venue’s annual fundraising gala, culminating a season of nearly 70 free performances.

Lauper’s career did not go the way of many others that emerged in the era, and the early years of MTV.

It has now spanned more than four decades.

Along the way she’s won Grammy, Tony and Emmy awards, written a New York Times bestselling memoir, and composed the music and lyrics for the highly successful Broadway play “Kinky Boots.”

She’s been a supporter of progressive social causes, and an influential artist for female recording artists.

And she’s sold more than 50 million albums.

Cyndi Lauper performs at the Levitt Pavilion. / Photo by Thane Grauel

Friday, she played to a large, enthusiastic crowd at the downtown Westport venue, behind the library and along the Saugatuck River.

“Thanks for coming out and supporting this theater here,” Lauper told the crowd. “Ya know maybe, just to show you I’m not a wanka,” she said to laughs and launched into “She Bop,” one her first hits, bringing the crowd to its feet.

A large crowd for the Cyndi Lauper concert at the Levitt Pavilion. / Photo by Thane Grauel

Between songs, Lauper talked about her life and career, and teased the crowd from a town she called fancy.

“Ya know lady, you don’t have to get up and dance,” Lauper told a woman in the front in her unapologetically Queens accent. “I’ll do it.”

Cyndi Lauper performs at the Levitt Pavilion. / Photo by Thane Grauel

Lauper’s performance was preceded by a cocktail party for gala goers at the downtown restaurants Don Memo and Walrus Alley, and followed by gatherings in the same venues.

Learn more about Cyndi Lauper here.

Click here for more information about the Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts.

Thane Grauel, executive editor, grew up in Westport and has been a journalist in Fairfield County and beyond more than three decades. Reach him at editor@westportjournal.com. Learn more about us here.