Contact Form

    News Details

    Mandy Patinkin has had enough darkness. He’s ready for fun at Costa Mesa show.
    • October 26, 2023

    As actor and singer Mandy Patinkin was reviewing setlists for his 2019 concert tour, he realized something. As much as he loved the songs he’d sung then, that selection wasn’t what he wanted to sing now.

    “It was a bit darker because the times were a bit dark then,” Patinkin says. “It was a set that I really loved, but nonetheless it was dark. And then we went to sleep for three years for the pandemic.”

    So Patinkin and pianist Adam Ben David went back to the drawing board.

    “I said, ‘I don’t want to do what we did before,’” he says. “I really want to welcome us all back to the living. I want it to be fun for me and fun for the audience. So let’s put the other one in a drawer and let’s go over the 14 or 15 hours of material I have in my repertoire, and some new stuff as well.”

    Patinkin and Ben David come to the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall on Thursday, Nov. 2 on the Being Alive tour, which takes its name from the Stephen Sondheim song in the musical “Company.”

    Actor and singer Mandy Patinkin comes to the Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall to perform a concert on his current Being Alive Tour. (Photo by Joan Marcus)

    Actor and singer Mandy Patinkin comes to the Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall to perform a concert on his current Being Alive Tour. (Photo by Joan Marcus)

    Mandy Patinkin as Inigo Montoya, Wallace Shawn as Vizzini, and Andre the Giant as Fezzik in “The Princess Bride,” which will be performed with the live accompaniment of the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl on Saturday, July 31. (Courtesy of Princess Bride Ltd. All rights reserved)

    Mandy Patinkin, left, and Kathryn Grody arrive at the 70th Primetime Emmy Awards on Monday, Sept. 17, 2018, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

    This image released by Showtime shows Mandy Patinkin in a scene from “Homeland.” Patinkin was nominated for an Emmy Award for outstanding supporting actor in a drama series on Thursday, July 13, 2017. The Emmy Awards ceremony, airing Sept. 17 on CBS, will be hosted by Stephen Colbert. ( JoJo Whilden/Showtime via AP) ORG XMIT: NYET851

    In the category of TELEVISION: Mandy Patinkin arrives at the People’s Choice Awards at the Microsoft Theater on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)



    Patinkin is best known for his work on screen in films such as “Yentl” and “The Princess Bride” and television series such as “Chicago Hope,” for which he won an Emmy, and “Homeland,” for which he was nominated four times.

    But his work on stage, especially in Broadway musicals, is even more acclaimed, earning a Tony Award for the original Broadway production of “Evita,” and two more nominations for “Sunday in the Park with George” and “The Wild Party.”

    All of that, Patinkin says, is simple storytelling.

    “What I do is tell stories,” he says on a call from his home in upstate New York. “I’m not the genius who wrote these wonderful songs, these gifted men and women from Sondheim to Queen to Randy Newman and, you know, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Irving Berlin, Tom Waits. The list goes on.

    “They’re storytellers, and that’s what attracts me,” Patinkin says. “I’m very lyric-driven. I’m a story guy. I’m the mailman, I just deliver the mail.

    “And it’s great comfort to me to be with company, so that I’m not alone listening to these stories.”

    The medium is the mess

    Patinkin knows you can go online and see which songs he’s been singing in concert this year. And he kindly asks you not to.

    “I don’t like to say it because I do change my mind sometimes,” he says. “I change it literally during the concert on occasion. I don’t want people coming a long way, thinking, ‘Oh, I want to hear him sing that,’ you know. It says he was gonna sing X, Y and Z, and then you get there and he didn’t sing that.”

    So just trust him, and enjoy whatever music he and Ben David end up performing, he asks.

    “Nothing’s planned,” Patinkin says. “From the time I begin a song to the time the song ends, that part is rehearsed and we know that. But I don’t have, like, a set patter.

    “You know, it’s a complete mess,” he says, laughing. “Other than when a song begins to when the song’s over. Then the mess takes over, then another song begins.”

    So come, enjoy the music, and the time spent together in the theater, he says.

    “We’re a gregarious species and we need to be together, not alone,” Patinkin says. “We’re not supposed to be sitting on the couch alone. You know, you can do that every now and then, but you do it all the time, you’re in the toilet.”

    Life and light

    Joseph Papp, the late theatrical director and producer and founder of the New York Shakespeare Festival and the Public Theater, was a father figure and close friend of Patinkin.

    Patinkin was on the road singing when Papp died in 1991. But Patinkin’s wife, the writer and actress Kathryn Grody, spent time with Papp before his death and witnessed a moment that sticks with Patinkin still.

    “Joe was laying on a couch at a friend’s house before he passed, just resting, and friends gathering,” he says. “And all of a sudden he sat up on the couch and everyone got quiet and leaned into him to see what he was going to say.

    “He looked around the room, wide-eyed, she said, and he said, ‘I see life everywhere in everything.’ And then he laid back down, and soon after that, days later, I think, he passed on.

    “That statement she shared with me, ‘I see life everywhere in everything,’ is a guidepost to my existence,” he says. “It is an action to be taken, looking for that life, fighting for that life and light, in good times and in bad.

    “It is what I set out to do when I walk in front of a camera or microphone or an audience, whether it be a television show, a movie or play or a concert,” he says. “I’m looking to find that life in my loved ones, in my community, in my world.

    “Sometimes it’s a challenge. But we’re better off when we’re doing it together.”

    In the moment

    It was thrilling to return to the concert stage in the fall of 2022, a reminder of his long-held feeling that if he could do only one of the things he does, it would be singing to live audiences.

    “It’s immediate,” Patinkin says. “It’s in the moment that reflects in the Buddhist way. The moment in all our lives right there in the theater, whether somebody came in late, something happened or a phone rings. Everything’s about that moment, what’s going on in the world, what’s going on in our lives, our hopes, our dreams, our concerns.”

    In a way, it nourishes him, fills his cup, and renews him.

    “Back when it started, it was sort of like if there’s a certain food that makes you feel energized and alive, and you haven’t had it for a long time, you go like, ‘Oh my God, why wasn’t I eating that?’” Patinkin says. “There are things that you know are good for you.”

    Just don’t forget them, he adds, offering an illustration.

    “You go ballroom dancing once with another couple you know,” Patinkin says as an example. “You have the time of your life, and then like stupid (bleepin’) humans you never do it again. I mean, we’re like the dumbest people on the planet. Why don’t you do it again? It was so much fun.

    “So literally, every now and then, I wake up and I realize, you know, this is fun,” he says. “This makes me feel alive. This makes me happy.”

    Hope and light

    Patinkin, who turns 71 in November, says at this point in his life his goals are simpler than they once might have been. No longer does he dream of iconic roles yet to be played. Things that make him feel good, like reading or singing to his 20-month-old grandson, are more important now.

    Sharing hope and light with an audience, too.

    “I want to be of service to my community, to my family, my children, my grandson, my friends, my audience,” Patinkin says. “And I have to say, ‘Well, what do they need? What can I do for them? How can I be helpful? Help me be of service in my prayers.’

    “I don’t want it to be dark right now,” he says. “We need to be welcomed back. It needs to be fun. We’ve had enough dark times. We’ve had enough of being isolated and afraid of being next to another human being.”

    This tour’s setlist – remember, no peeking – is planned to advance that cause.

    “I really did set out to have a certain kind of feeling, which was not just songs that spoke to Mandy, but songs that made Mandy feel good about being alive,” Patinkin says. “Therefore, I hoped I would make my audience feel good because we listen to them together.

    “They just go through,” he says. “I’m like a hose, you know, and hopefully the hose has some holes in it so I get a little of it, too.”

    Related Articles

    Music + Concerts |

    Last Kiss: Saying farewell to band with a look back at its biggest moments

    Music + Concerts |

    Old Dominion comes to the Crypto.Com Arena to celebrate its newest record ‘Memory Lane’

    Music + Concerts |

    Punk in the Park: Set times announced for Pennywise, Descendents, Circle Jerks, Goldfinger and more

    Music + Concerts |

    Hozier describes transforming his live show to perform songs from ‘Unreal Unearth’ album

    Music + Concerts |

    Why Catherine O’Hara says it’s ‘tricky’ to sing ‘Nightmare Before Christmas’ at Hollywood Bowl

    ​ Orange County Register