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Interview:
Mandy Patinkin at the Fisher Theatre, 5 Things to Know
 

By Gary Graff
ggraff@medianewsgroup.com, @GraffonMusic on Twitte

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It's perhaps easier to list what Mandy Patinkin has NOT done as an entertainer than what he has.



The 67-year-old Chicago native has kept a packed schedule on stage and screen, with roles in "Chicago Hope," "Evita," "Yentl," "Sunday in the Park with George" and Showtime's "Homeland," which begins its final season on Sunday, Feb. 8. And, of course, he was the unforgettable "prepare to die" swordsman Inigo Montoya in "The Princess Bride."



Patinkin is a recording artist as well, with a discography that includes his personal "Diary" trilogy as well as last year's "Children and Art," another collection of original songs that includes collaboration with Rufus Wainwright on the opening "Going to a Town." That's also brought Patinkin back to the concert stage, embracing the role of singer-songwriter, and perhaps a bit of a raconteur, amidst his other accomplishments...



• Patinkin caught his theater bug as a teenager, attending Camp Surah in Buchanan, Mich., in 1967. "It was a profound experience. I hated Hebrew school, but it was my life after public school every day and all my friends were going to this Hebrew-speaking camp. My parents were shocked when I said I wanted to go there. I figured I'd find a way to get around this business of having to go to school half a day and camp the rest. I found they were going to do a production, in Hebrew, of 'Fiddler on the Roof' -- 'OK, maybe I can get into that.' So I got to play Tevye in 'Fiddler on the Roof' when I was 14 years old and I said, 'OK, I'm going to do that' and it all went well."



• Patinkin's "Diary" series ended a 16-year break from recording, while his TV schedule led to a hiatus from concerts for awhile. "When the 'Homeland' schedule got increasingly more heavy and intense and I felt I needed to done thing, not two, so I let go of music. At the end of 2017 I was really missing the music terribly, so my dear friend Bob Hurwitz, a record producer, introduced me to Thomas Bartlett and we began working together. From Christmas Eve of 2017 going into '18 he sent me 300 songs in various forms and right after that we went into the studio and started working and it just went from there. And then I decided I wanted to go back and out do concerts so we booked a tour and that's what I've been doing since October."



• Bringing "Homeland" to an end after eight seasons, Patinkin says, has been "very powerful, overwhelming, indescribable, emotional at times. I'll talk about it to someone and I start weeping. As much as I needed to move on and get on to other things, it was every part of my life, every cell of my body. I left nothing on the field. It's been so meaningful and given me so much on many different levels. And it's been so costly, too, living in a fictional world that mirrors the world we're living in. It's one of those things you can't label or definite. It's almost like love, or a religious experience."



• How often is Patinkin approached by someone reciting, or asking him to recite, his character's famous lines? from "The Princess Bride?" "Every day," he says. But he also doesn't mind. "It's a wonderful gift of what we get to do; The actual time spent on that was one year of work, but it has this ongoing life, and I couldn't be happier that I got to be in something that was akin to 'The Wizard of Oz' of my time. Even you asking me the question, there’s a huge part of me that goes, 'Here it comes again,' but I can't believe I'm one of these guys that got to be in one of these things."



• Though a confessed workaholic, Patinkin's plan for the near future is "to take a break. After I finish these concerts I'm keeping my calendar 100 percent free. I want to be lost, and I'm really curious about what may come across my doorstep, not in terms of what's familiar -- meaning television, films, plays paling concerts, the world I've lived in my whole life. I've had a wonderful life, and now I'm curious about all the things I didn't choose to does that might come way as a surprise. I might be wrong, but I feel we're not open to those possibilities if the wheels are always churning out the next choice. So I'm trying to create a space for me to explore the unknown of whatever I may be doing for the rest of my life."



Mandy Patinkin, accompanied by pianist Adam Ben-David, performs at 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 6 at the Fisher Theatre, 3011 W. Grand Blvd. $55 and up. 313-872-1000 or broadwayindetroit.com.

Web Site: www.broadwayindetroit.com

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