SOPHIA-LOREN_470x350Screen siren Sophia Loren (above) graces the Count Basie stage Thursday, and Broadway dynamo Patti LuPone (below) follows one night later.  

Patti LuPoneWait, $425 for a single ticket to the Count Basie Theatre? This had better be something special — like, a “once-in-a-lifetime, VIP, limited meet-and-greet” opportunity with one of the world’s most recognized and iconic leading women of film.

Turns out it really is that, as the Red Bank landmark adds to its list of beyond-legendary visitors (Cary Grant, George Carlin, Ringo Starr) with a Thursday-night appearance by Sophia Loren, the Italian-born international movie star and style pacesetter.

And it’s just the first of two events in a row to feature female performers who’ve won worldwide acclaim.

While you needn’t spend the cost of a Hoverboard 360 to breathe the same air as La Loren (regular tickets range from $49 to $119), there’s no denying that the stage of the venerable Monmouth Street venue will have its starpower/charisma factor upped considerably, when the 81-year-old superstar sits down with Hollywood reporter Bill Harris for a discussion that touches upon her early career in postwar Italy, her numerous co-stars and collaborators (Grant, Gable, Mastroianni, Brando, Chaplin, Bill Clinton) and her long marriage to the late producer Carlo Ponti. Take it here for tix to the 7:30 p.m. program.

Regrets; we all have a few. But when one of Broadway’s brightest lights looks back on a career full of Tony-winning star turns like Evita and Gypsy — and STILL says “Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda… Played That Part” — you know you’re in the presence of a titanic talent who’s able and willing to take on the most demanding roles in the musical theater playbook.

When Patti LuPone takes the Basie stage Friday night, she’ll be leading her audience on a whirlwind tour of “musicals which she could have played, should have played, did play and will play;” from Funny Girl and Bye, Bye Birdie, to West Side Story and even Peter Pan.

The star — who, curiously enough, has attracted a whole new generation of fans through her scary-good work in such cable-TV thrillers as American Horror Story and Penny Dreadful —  will be performing alongside the Count Basie Theatre Voices, a 20-member ensemble of young vocalists (whose music director and keyboardist is Joe Wajda) that’s been showing up on the Basie boards in support of acts ranging from classic-rock perennials Foreigner to the touring tribute act ABBA Mania. The Voices, under the direction of Brian LaRue, will accompany LuPone in a set of selections from Guys and Dolls, The Music Man, Anything Goes and more, with tickets ($25 – $115, plus a $175 VIP Meet and Greet option) to the 8 p.m. show available right here.