THE LEADING MEN: Mandy Patinkin, Back on Broadway With Patti LuPone

By Mervyn Rothstein
21 Nov 2011

Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin
photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

If the opportunity presented itself, would you want to take on another original Broadway musical?
MP: I'd take it on in a heartbeat. Put my phone number in the article.

What I'm working on right now is an original piece I'm creating with Paul Ford and [performance artist and playwright] Taylor Mac, a song cycle called The Last Two People on Earth. I call it The Mac and Mandy Show. And I'm working on another original piece of my own called Let Go that I'm going to give birth to in February. I have a week's engagement in Florida [at the Aventura Arts & Cultural Center] where I'm going to put in on the boards and start working out the kinks, although I've really been working on it a long time. It's sort of a musical photograph of a generic family — both of any generic family and the family of our country at the same time. It's a song cycle of 110 minutes. But in terms of a book musical, a new show, I'd love it. And please encourage people to get in touch with me.

If it were a revival, is there a show and role you'd be interested in doing?
MP: I wanted to do Zorba. [Producer] Barry Weissler had been talking to me about Zorba. And I have some very exciting ideas that I shared with him and I don't know whether my ideas scared him off or not, but I would love to try a workshop production, or some version of it, because it's a piece that I love, and I'm hoping that someone will have the courage to find the economic apparatus to give me a shot at seeing what my ideas look like.

Patinkin in The Tempest.
photo by Joan Marcus

A couple of years ago you played Prospero in The Tempest at Classic Stage Company. Two decades before that, you were Leontes in The Winter's Tale at the Public Theater. Before that you were Hotspur in Henry IV and Fortinbras in Hamlet. Would you like there to be more Shakespeare in your future? Any particular role?
MP: I'd love to do more Shakespeare. As many — I want to do King Lear, I want to Much Ado About Nothing. I want to do every Shakespeare play I can get my hands on. It's just a matter of scheduling and time.

You've mentioned in the past that Joseph Papp, your mentor, once told you that "you will always need to do both the music and the classics." Any classics other than Shakespeare?
MP: I've been talking with Gordon Edelstein [artistic director of the Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, Connecticut]. He wants me to do a production of Death of a Salesman. I looked at it when I was shooting "Homeland" and I read it a few times and I love it very much. And I'm going to try to start that process, over a period of time. Start with some readings, maybe do a production of it somewhere.

You're turning 59 soon. Are there any personal or professional goals unattained? Is there anything else, in TV or films, or the stage, you'd like to do that you haven't done?
MP: Everything. Everything that I don't know about, everything that I can't articulate. I've had a glorious life. I've had more than I ever dreamed of. But I didn't know that that would happen, and I have no idea what the future holds. I have no idea what's around the corner. And it really makes me excited, and makes me long to wake up every morning, to see what the day will bring.

Merv Rothstein's work is often seen in the pages of Playbill magazine and He pens the monthly A Life in the Theatre feature.

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