Actor-singer Mandy Patinkin absolutely wowed the opening concert of the Washington Jewish Music Festival June 9.
The two-timeTony®-winner brought all his star power and gorgeous voice, starting off with “Bring Him Home…bring him joy” — that’s exactly what he did.
Who else could outdo Al Jolson in “Rock-a-Bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody”, okay, maybe Judy Garland, or Judy herself in “Atchison, Topeka, and the Santa Fe”, or “Music Man” Robert Preston in “Trouble in River City”, or…
See and hear for yourself tonight when Patinkin repeats his high intensity “Dress Casual” show at the Strathmore Music Center in North Bethesda, MD just outside DC.
His ad libs added to the charm. He interrupted his opening song, then resumed it seamlessly a couple of times when one, then another latecomer sidled into prime seats.
“Where the hell were you?” he taunted. “I don’t want to embarrass you, but where were you, in the toilet?”
The audience had their first of many laughs, charmed and delighted by Patinkin — perhaps a bit surprised by this persona of the “Criminal Minds” former star.
He wove his humor throughout the show as effortlessly as the songs in the medleys, from ecclectic lesser-known tunes like “Doodle Doo Doo” by Les Brown and His Band of Renown; to Sondheim — Pulitzer Prize-winner for “Summer in the Park with George”, for which Patinkin won his second Tony; to others in the Great American Songbook.
During one of the most impassioned medleys, from “Carousel”, Patinkin sang, “If I loved you, words wouldn’t come in an easy way.”
Life imitates art. He flubbed many a lyric. His Emmy® was not for “Don’t Forget the Lyrics”, but for “Chicago Hope”.
“Boy, I wish somebody’d come in late right now,” he half-joked.
During one flub, his fantastic piano accompanist Paul Ford handed him the sheet music, but Patinkin said, “I can’t read this! …I’ll stay here all fri—– night.” The audience roared their approval.
Still, he excelled at many rapid-fire patter songs, especially ones he performed in perfect unison with his son, Gideon Grody-Patinkin, 25.
“My boy,” said the father, who moments earlier had sung “My Boy Bill”. He kissed Gideon’s hand and said, “It doesn’t get much better than this.” The audience agreed, giving them the first standing ovation.
As the elder Patinkin sings in Sondheim’s “Children and Art”, “Isn’t it lovely how artists can capture us.”
It is lovely how this artist captivates us.
Now, that’s entertainment!
For more entertainment, the Washington Jewish Music Festival continues with the Maccabeats; the Klezmatics; Dan Fishback “On A Queer Day, You Can See Forever”; Clare Burson, “Silver and Ash”; and others through June 26. For the festival’s full schedule, click here.
For more info and tickets: Strathmore, www.strathmore.org, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD, 301-581-5100. Washington Jewish Music Festival, www.wjmf.org, 202-777-3251. Full schedule, listening previews, and tickets, http://washingtondcjcc.org/center-for-arts/music/wjmf/2011-wjmf/buy-tickets-1.html, 202-777-3251. A festival pass is $86, with discounted price $72 for seniors and under-25-year-olds. Most events are at the Washington DC Jewish Community Center, www.washingtondcjcc.org, the festival’s organizers, 16th and Q Streets, NW, Washington, DC.