Mandy Patinkin | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Mandy Patinkin


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When Mandy Patinkin unveiled his new one-man show on Broadway September 10, he closed the evening with what a New York Times critic called a "heavy-handed" medley of Rodgers and Hammerstein's blistering "You've Got to Be Carefully Taught" ("You've got to be taught before it's too hate all the people your relatives hate") and Stephen Sondheim's aching, lyrical "Children Will Listen" ("Careful the things you say, children will listen"). Subsequent events proved Patinkin's choice to be agonizingly timely. "I consider myself the mailman for these genius songwriters who often had troubled lives but wrote their wishes in these great songs," says Patinkin. "Those wishes now have echoes that are unbelievably profound." Bringing the show to his native Chicago for a weeklong run--accompanied only by his superb pianist, Paul Ford, and the occasional sock-puppet scene partner--Patinkin will perform tunes from his charming new CD Kidults as well as other material, including the Rodgers and Hammerstein/Sondheim medley and other Sondheim selections. Patinkin's concerts are theatrical events as much as musical ones. Like John Gielgud in his solo readings of Shakespeare, Patinkin uses his distinctive voice, with its silvery falsetto and barrelhouse bass, to evoke multiple characters in probing, mercurial reinterpretations of familiar material. No mainstream star is more brilliantly audacious in his rethinking of repertoire and his juxtaposition of intense drama and manic comedy. "Even being silly has its own profound reverberations at this time," he says. "I'm not trying to be fancy. I just don't do well unless I'm doing what I believe in." Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph, 312-902-1400. Opens Monday, October 29, 8 PM. Through November 4: Tuesday-Wednesday, 7:30 PM; Friday-Saturday, 8 PM; Sunday, 3 PM. $22-$50.

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