Mandy Patinkin Returns to Nashville's Tennessee Performing Arts Center for DIARIES Concert January 29
Whether he is best known to audiences from his work in film (Ragtime, Yentl, The Princess Bride), on television (Chicago Hope, Criminal Minds, Homeland) or on Broadway (Evita, Sunday in the Park With George, The Secret Garden, The Wild Party), Mandy Patinkin has embodied countless unforgettable characters, created memorable moments in performance that continue to resonate with his fans and established himself as a star whose light continues to shine brightly and vividly.
It should come as no surprise then that Patinkin prefers the relative intimacy of the concert stage over all the other ways in which he was become a favorite of audiences all over the world. And as he prepares to return to Nashville for a performance at Tennessee Performing Arts Center's Andrew Jackson Hall on Wednesday, January 29, he's likely just as excited as the people eagerly anticipating his performance.
"I'm most at home on the concert stage," Patinkin says during a phone conversation mid-tour, on a day he is scheduled to speak to numerous reporters from around the country. "It's the place I feel most at home."
During his career, Patinkin has performed on concert stages all over the world and when asked about any particularly memorable times, he pauses to consider the question.
"It would have to be a concert we did in Texas some years ago," he recalls. "During the first moments, while there was a huge storm happening outside, all the lights went out in the theater."
Stopping to collect his thoughts and discussing the options with his accompanist and the stage manager - and waiting perhaps to see if any of the audience would leave, Patinkin and company decided to go ahead with the concert, singing without the aid of amplification and, perhaps more importantly given the circumstances, no stage lighting.
"The stage manager happened to have several 'Little Bitty Reading Lights' - you know, the kind you would clip to a book to allow you to read it in bed - which he clipped to a music stand and with only that for illumination, the concert went on."
As Patinkin remembers, no one left the theater during the performance, choosing instead to remain in their seats to listen to his heartfelt singing - an experience that no doubt confirmed his place among theatrical legends of any century.
That particular instance sparked a memory of my own: the last time Patinkin performed at TPAC's Andrew Jackson Hall, in 1997, he began to introduce a song by Adam Guettel with the explanation that Guettel "is a young composer, the grandson of Richard Rodgers and the son of Mary Rodgers" and I suddenly felt my heart begin to race as he told his audience he would be singing "How Glory Goes" from Guettel's musical Floyd Collins - an exquisite, if not often produced, work about a young Kentucky man trapped in a cave in the 1920s.
When the first notes were played and Patinkin added his beautiful voice to the song, tears began to well up in my eyes and to fall down my cheeks. It remains one of the most moving moments I have experienced in the theater.
Patinkin, "Broadway's master song man," will bring his newest theater concert to Music City - Mandy Patinkin in Concert: DIARIES - which represents his latest collaboration with pianist Adam Ben-David, in his most electrifying role: concert performer.
"Mandy Patinkin is in the business of showstopping," according to The New Yorker and that's exactly what he does in DIARIES, which is described as a marriage of many of Patinkin's favorite Broadway and classic American tunes, along with selections from his most recent recordings from Nonesuch Records. Concert-goers to Wednesday night's performance will hear works from such diverse composers as Randy Newman and Stephen Sondheim, Harry Chapin and Rufus Wainwright.