Concert preview: Soloist Mandy Patinkin creates dramatic monologues from song repertoire

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 29 2012 12:00 p.m. MDT

“That’s what Shakespeare was all about and also Stephen Sondheim. Sondheim for me is the Shakespeare our time; he’s simply the most gifted person in the musical-theater genre. Shakespeare and Sondheim turn the dark into light,” he believes. “I think that’s what many great artists’ journey is. Their sensitivity to the human condition is heightened because they feel the pain of human nature, and they try to not alleviate that pain or ignore it; but they recognize it and simply see if they can turn those darker moments into lighter moments, to help us look at these situations as blessings and not as curses.”

The contribution Ford, Patinkin's accompanist and collaborator, makes to the concerts is “monumental," Patinkin said. "He is like the Library of Congress when it comes to this genre of music. We’ve developed our own style. We put several songs together to tell a story or take audiences on a journey that we feel these couplets of songs or several songs together relate.”

Patinkin met his stage partner during the run of “Sunday in the Park with George” on Broadway. At the few concerts Patinkin has staged without Ford, “I feel like I don’t have Ginger to dance with Fred.”

With “Dress Casual,” Patinkin’s other concerts are “Celebrating Sondheim” and “Mamaloshen,” an evening of Yiddish songs. The shows he would also like to bring to Utah are the concerts when he shares the stage with his “Evita” co-star, Patti LuPone, and opera star Nathan Gunn, who was guest artist at last year’s Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas concert.

An early visit to the state was for taping an episode of “Touched by an Angel.”

“I just fell in love with Moab where we filmed it,” he says. “I’ve been back there several times because of that experience. It’s become one of my favorite places to visit.”

If you happen upon Patinkin while in Moab, you’ll find him dressed similarly to his in-concert attire of slacks and a loose-fitting T-shirt, but swapping hiking boots for gym shoes.

If you go

What: “Mandy Patinkin: Dress Casual, with Paul Ford on Piano”

Where: BYU de Jong Concert Hall

When: Friday, Aug. 31, at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, Sept. 1, at 2 p.m.

How much: $55-$25, with discounts available to students, alumni and senior citizens

Tickets: 801-422-4322 or byuarts.com

You may have seen Mandy Patinkin in…

Mandy Patinkin is a well-known film, TV and Broadway actor. And in each medium, the characters he created spoke what have become iconic lines of dialog:

In “The Princess Bride”: “Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”

In “Criminal Minds”: “I don’t care if you carry a gun or not. The deadliest weapon we have is a thorough and accurate profile.”

In “Sunday in the Park with George”: “White: a blank page or canvas. His favorite — so many possibilities.”

His other credits include:

On the big screen: Detective Samuel “George” Francisco in “Alien Nation,” Alfred de Musset in “Impromptu,” Tateh in “Ragtime,” Huxley in “The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland”

On the small screen: Saul Berenson in “Homeland,” Rube Sofer in “Dead Like Me,” Quasimodo in “The Hunchback,” Hippocrates in “Hercules: Zero to Hero”

On the Broadway stage: Archibald Craven in “The Secret Garden,” Prospero in “The Tempest,” Burrs in “The Wild Party,” Player King/King Fortinbras in “Hamlet”

On CD: “Leonard Bernstein’s New York,” “Experiment,” “Oscar & Steve,” “Kidults,” “Mandy Patinkin Sings Sondheim”

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