Wednesday, April 2, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Updated 6 hours ago
Mandy Patinkin is a performer with many facets.
Fans of musical theater know him for his roles in Broadway shows that include “Evita,” “The Secret Garden” and “Sunday in the Park with George.”
If you’re more of a TV watcher, you’re likely to recognize him from his roles in television series such as “Chicago Hope” and “Criminal Minds.”
Right now, he’s looking forward to beginning work on the fourth season of Showtime’s “Homeland” in May. He’s also awaiting word on a restart date for filming of the movie “American Pastoral,” which shut down production after shooting scenes in Pittsburgh last fall.
In the interval, he’s enjoying his additional career as an occasional concert artist. Since 1989, he has toured the world in one of nine shows in his repertoire.
“I love doing everything I do,” he says. “But, if you told me I had to choose and pick one, there’s no question it would be live concerts.”
Patinkin brings variety and intelligence to his musical performances, said Alex Witchel in her 2013 profile of him in The New York Times: “… His wild range from baritone to falsetto, his eagerness to wring each lyric dry, the slightly unhinged quality he can take on when the music overcomes him — and make no mistake, these are integral to his power as a performer.”
Asked how often he goes on the road for concert dates, Patinkin says: “Any day that I’m free and can find a booking anywhere on the planet.”
For some concert shows, Patinkin shares the stage with another performer, such as opera baritone Nathan Gunn or Broadway songstress Patti LuPone.
Others he does solo, backed up by a single pianist or a symphony orchestra.
During the first half of the program, the symphony will perform music from Broadway scores and film soundtracks: Leonard Bernstein’s Overture to “West Side Story,” excerpts from Frederick Loewe’s score for “My Fair Lady” and a medley of tunes from Klaus Badelt’s score for the film “Pirates of the Caribbean.”
After intermission, Patinkin will join the symphony musicians for a concert composed of a little storytelling and a playlist of popular music created by songwriters that range in period and style from Irving Berlin to Freddie Mercury.
Patinkin chooses the songs himself but invites input from the host organization before sending them a list of selections he plans to perform.
“I’m performing with the symphony, so they are front and center … so the (selections) will lend themselves to orchestra performances,” he says.
Among those that may be included in his performance with the Pittsburgh Symphony are “Tateh’s Theme” from the musical “Ragtime,” Kermit the Frog’s lament “It’s Not Easy Bein’ Green,” “Soliloquy” from “Carnival,” “Ya Got Trouble” from “The Music Man,” and “On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe” from the movie “The Harvey Girls.”
But, he cautions, the actual list changes from one performance to another.
Lately, he has been working on “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which Freddie Mercury wrote for the rock band Queen, so that might be included.
And, it’s almost guaranteed that one or two of Stephen Sondheim’s songs will be in the mix, such as “Sunday” from “Sunday in the Park with George” or “Anyone Can Whistle” from the musical of the same name.
“I love Sondheim. I’m often amazed that he’s a friend of mine,” Patinkin says. “He’s the Shakespeare of our day.”
Patinkin can make one promise about his concert, though — he will not be a no-show.
“We never have missed a performance in 27 years of doing this,” he says. He always flies in the day before and never takes the last flight of the day.
“Sometimes (the airlines) bail because the airport closes. Then we get in a car and drive for six to seven hours,” he says.
Alice T. Carter is the theater critic for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7808 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Family: Married to Kathryn Grody; two adult sons, Isaac and Gideon
Education: University of Kansas, Juilliard School of Drama
“American Pastoral,” uncompleted, filmed in Pittsburgh in 2012
“Everyone’s Hero,” 2006
Honors and awards
Tony award: 1980, “Evita,” best featured actor in a musical
Tony nominations: 2000, “The Wild Party,” best actor in a musical; 1984, “Sunday in the Park with George,” best actor in a musical
Emmy award: 1995, outstanding leading actor in a drama series for “Chicago Hope”
Emmy nominations: 2013, outstanding supporting actor in a drama series for “Homeland”; 1999, outstanding guest actor in a drama series for “Chicago Hope”; 1996, outstanding guest actor in a comedy series for “The Larry Saunders Show”
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