From robinbg@ntplx.netMon Apr 1 01:48:50 1996 Date: Tue, 28 Nov 1995 21:37:35 +0000 From: Robin Blau Greenwald To: Subject: HOPE: Mandy: My enchanted evening - part 2 Hi everyone! I'm still smiling! In fact, I got back from Mandy's Stamford, CT, concert at 1:00 am this morning, and despite the fact that I knew I'd have to get up at 5:15 for work, I hardly slept at all, I was so excited. Mandy was incredible! No surprise there, of course. The Philly concert and the Prime Time House benefit I saw last spring were fabulous! But I was kind of hoping that this wouldn't be exactly the same show because I wanted to see him perform some songs I hadn't seen before, as much as I loved seeing them in the spring. And I'm thrilled to say that he absolutely didn't disappoint (as if he could). The show started out the same as the spring concerts, with Mandy entering, carrying two baskets of flowers, as Paul Ford did some pre-Beat-Out rhythmic thumping on the piano. Then he sang "Beat Out Dat Rhythm on a Drum," all that much better this time because I know it so well now from "Oscar and Steve." He followed that up with "You Are Beautiful," then his little bit about worrying, "Is he just going to sit there?" I'll do the best I can on the order of these. I believe the next one was "On the Atchison, Topeka, and the Santa Fe." He went to sit down for one of his songs, I think it was "Atchison," and a bunch of people in the balcony started yelling to him. A whole bunch of people up there were yelling something, and he had no idea what they were saying. He finally told them they had to pick one person to speak because he couldn't understand when they all spoke at once. Finally, someone up there got the message across that they wanted him to move his chair farther back on the stage because they couldn't see when he was close to the edge of the stage. He said, "Oh, you want me to move back," and he moved his chair farther back. Being in the second row, I preferred him closer to the front, but I didn't say anything. A few people off to the side of the orchestra yelled that now they couldn't see, and he said, "Then you move back. I'll tell you what...if anyone up there can't see, you can come right down here." No one took him up on it, though. Throughout the concert, he made jokes about having to be behind an imaginary line, and once or twice when he did come right up to the front, he realized that he was too far forward and jumped back. He even made a joke about having some kind of force field that would sound a warning buzzer if he tried to cross the line. After he finished "Atchison," he stood up for the "Nya, nya, nya..." bit that begins "You Could Drive a Person Crazy," but he stopped when some people came in late to be seated a few rows behind me. He made a big deal out of it, saying, "Let me fill you in on what you missed. As the lights started to come up, Paul Ford was playing this [Paul started thumping again] on the piano. Then I came out carrying these two big baskets of flowers. And I got a big hand." At this point, we all started clapping again, and afterwards, he looked at the late people and said, "I got a much bigger hand than that." Everyone laughed. He continued, "Then I sang a song that was probably the greatest thing I've ever done in my life. Then I sang another song that was fantastic. Then these people told me I had to move back so they could see. Then you came in." Later on, someone else came in late, and he gave them this story: "This has been the most exciting night of my life. Barbra Streisand stopped by, Frank Sinatra came out for awhile. Sorry you missed it. I'm sorry." I was starting to wonder if it would be all the same songs he did in the spring, but then he did a song I don't think I'd heard before, "The Wrong Note Rag." I didn't know this at the time, but someone on the Sondheim list said he'd recently recorded it for a Bernstein album. Then, big, cool surprise, he did a breakneck rendition, in classic "Dress Casual" style, of "Ya Got Trouble Right Here in River City"! That's one I wasn't expecting!:) And he prefaced it by telling the audience that he wanted us to join it at certain points, that we'd probably know when it came to our part, and that we weren't supposed to sing his part. He did "A Tisket, a Tasket," "Sam, You Made the Pants Too Long," and "Cohen Owes Me $97." After singing those last two, he said something like, "The first of those two was written by Mr. Milton Berle. The second was written by Irving Berlin in 1918." He motioned backstage for one of them to come out, I can't remember which. Then he said he wanted to do something more recent, and he started up with "Honeybun." He did his usual bit of calling up people to lead "blond and curly," "hurly burly," and "pips," and the "hurly burly" woman got so overwhelmed, she said she needed her husband up there with her. Naturally, Mandy invited her husband up, and the guy proceeded to prepare for his task by taking off his jacket, rolling up his sleeves, unbuttoning his collar, loosening his tie, and untucking his shirt. As Mandy went to put the guy's jacket behind the piano, he commented, "For a minute there, I was afraid you were hearing your pants." Surprisingly, he didn't do "Frankfurter Sandwiches" or some of the others I was expecting, and didn't do all the "Oscar and Steve" ones he'd done before, notably "There Won't Be Trumpets," and my favorite, "Bali H'ai." He did do: "Jitterbug Waltz"--which now that I think about it, may have followed "The Wrong Note Rag"; "Me and My Shadow"; the "Casey" medley; "Good Thing Going" and "Taxi"; "Loving You" and "If I Loved You," which he prefaced by saying, "The first of these next two songs is by Steve," to big applause, then, "The second is by Oscar," to more applause; "When I Grow Too Old to Dream" and "Remember," which he prefaced with, "This time it's Oscar, Steve."; "An Ordinary Couple" and "When the Children Are Asleep"; and I think he did "Always," which I hadn't seen him do before. I don't think he did "I Wish I Could Forget You," though I was expecting it, but I may be wrong. He ended the main part of the show by summoning up all of his rage for "You've Got to Be Carefully Taught," then sitting down for an intimate "Children Will Listen," with the lights eventually fading to a spotlight just on him, then ending with a blackout. He came back for a standing ovation and got Paul Ford out of his seat for a bow. Then he looked at a small piece of paper he'd taken out of his pocket several times during the show. It evidently listed all the possible songs he might be singing, and he went to point to something for Paul to see, when someone in the audience yelled out, "My boy Bill!" Mandy asked disbelievingly, "Really? My boy Bill?" This was met by cheers and applause. Mandy said, "Well, we haven't practiced this in more than a year, but I'm willing to give it a try." More applause. And so he did "Soliloquy," and it was fabulous and flawless! I might add, at this point, that not once, throughout the entire night, did he forget the words to a single song! Here I was, ready to jump out of my seat at his slightest hesitation to shout out lyrics, and he didn't miss a single one. Which leads me to wonder, was the forgetting of lyrics thing--which I saw in both Philly and Norfalk, CT, and which I know others saw at other concerts--part of the act in the spring, a part he decided to ditch for this series of shows, or was/is it something he honestly struggles with some nights and not others? It seems he never forgot the same lyrics twice, and what makes me wonder even more is that at the Norfalk, CT, concert--which was a benefit that his wife and kids attended and participated in--he was sitting at the edge of the stage, intimate and serious, beginning his final encore, "Experiment," when he forgot the words (and after biting my tongue for a reasonable amount of time waiting for him to remember on his own, I jubilantly came to his aid;). I could see forgetting lyrics somewhere in the middle of the show as part of the act, but that final number is the most intimate part of the show, and doesn't strike me as something he would purposely disturb by forgetting the words. Anyway, enough ruminating, though I'm interested in what others think of this. He finished "Soliloquy" to another standing ovation, then went into "Oh, What a Circus." He was met with another standing ovation and really seemed overwhelmed. He said, "Okay, just two more." He consulted his list again and pointed to a song for Paul, then said, "Or this one...Oh, okay, I'll do both, and then..." he indicated the final song to Paul. So, he ended up doing both "Not a Day Goes By" and "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." He finished up with his fifth and final encore, "Experiment," with the same dimming of the lights and fading to an eventual blackout. As the audience filed out of the theatre, my friend Marianne and I met up again with BetsiI(from aol) and her daughter Jennie, having had dinner with them at a nearby Italian restaurant and having planned to make it backstage as a group. We all had gifts or something special to say to Mandy, and Betsi and Jennie had made up wonderful white T-shirts with black lettering that said, "MANDY PATINKIN Internet Fan Club," which the three of us were wearing. I approached an usher and asked, "Could you please tell me where Mandy will be meeting fans after the show?" He directed us to go out exit 10 then go to the left. We did so and ended up behind 15 or so people in a narrow and very dark alley. After a few minutes, a guy came out to announce that Mandy was visiting with some people backstage, but that he would eventually see us, and that we'd be ushered in 10 to 15 at a time. Meanwhile, I'd met up with Richard and Barbara, fans that we'd sat with for dinner at the Prime Time House benefit, and also with a woman named Colleen who was new to the internet and was interested, as was Richard, in joining the Chicago Hope and Mandy Patinkin mailing lists. After about 10 minutes, they let the first 15 or so people in, and at one point while the rest of us were waiting, Paul Ford leaned out a window above us, and evidently reported to Mandy that there weren't too many more and that it was very dark in the alley. Then Mandy came to the door, peaked out, and said, "Yeah, it is dark out there." He looked down to the end of the alley and said, "Is that all? Ah, bring 'em all in." I'd say at that point there were maybe 20 to 30 people. So we all went in, and a few people got pictures and autographs. Then Jennie approached Mandy with her masterpiece, a Mandy Patinkin doll, designed by her and her mom. They'd bought a Jesse doll from the Full House collection, dressed him in black pants, a black T-shirt, and silver/gray sneakers on which Jennie had painted NB for New Balance, tucked into the waist a doll-sized piece of sheet music with "Oscar and Steve" written across the top, and painted a wedding ring on his left ring finger! It really did look quite a bit like him. Jennie pointed out all the finer details of the doll to Mandy, and he asked, "Did you make this yourself?!" She answered that she had, and he obviously liked it a lot because he asked his assistant (Gail?) to keep it to put on "the shelf," evidently a shelf for special fan gifts. Next, Betsi approached him with a T-shirt she'd made for him, along the same lines as the ones we had on, only his was black, said, "Palace Theatre, Nov. 21, 1995" on the front, and had our email addresses on the back, hers, Jennie's, and mine. She pointed out the email addresses to him, and he said, "That sure is a long address!" She explained that it was three addresses. Then she gave him a tin containing her famous Mandelbread with a label that said, "Mandel for Mandy! Happy Birthday!" and a few other things. He seemed thrilled with the idea and exclaimed, "My namesake cookie!!" Then I went up to him with a birthday card I had bought for him shortly after the concert last June. It had a woman holding a frankfurter on the front, and it said, "Birthdays are like wieners..." Then inside it said, "Well, not really--but I find that there aren't nearly enough birthday cards that say wiener. Wiener. Wiener. Wiener." It had reminded me of "Frankfurter Sandwiches." So I approached him with the card, which Marianne, Betsi, Jennie, and I had signed, and told him that it had made me think of "Frankfurter Sandwiches." He looked at it and thanked me. Then I took out the 8x10 blowup of the picture of Mandy and me that my husband had taken after the Norfalk concert, and asked him if he would sign it. As he was looking at it, I said, "Mandy, when I met you there, I had given you a song I wrote for you called 'Don't Call Geiger Crazy,' and I was wondering if you had gotten a chance to read it." Here's the part I LOVE! His face absolutely LIT UP with recognition, and he sucked in his breath excitedly and enthused, "Yes! I read that! That was great!" I nearly burst, I was so thrilled! Then he said, "We still have that, you know. It's in our book. We have this book..." I'm assuming it's some kind of a scrapbook of special fan writings and/or pictures. And my song is in it!!!:) He looked at the picture again and asked, "Who should I make this out to?" And I said, "Robin," and he wrote, "To Robin--[heart] Mandy Patinkin." I got a heart!!!!!:) Like I said, I'm still smiling! As he was signing, I said, "Mandy, when my 19-month-old daughter saw the cover to "Oscar and Steve," she pointed and said, 'Mandy 'tinkin!'" He and Josh and everyone seemed to get a big kick out of that. Then I continued, "And so I said to her, 'And what does Mandy Patinkin say?' and she goes, [I balled up my fist to demonstrate] 'YEEEEEAAAAHHHH!!!!'" And everyone thought that was really funny. He gave me back the picture, and as I was walking away, Marianne called my attention to the fact that I was still clutching my camera and that she hadn't been able to take a picture. So I said apologetically, "Mandy, I'm sorry, but do you think I could have a picture, please?" And so he posed with his arm around me. Then Marianne approached him, telling him how thrilled she was to meet Dr. Geiger, and got her program signed. I took a picture of her with his arm around her too. We waited and listened in while he met with everyone else, including Richard, Barbara, and Colleen. At one point, we overheard him say that Geiger would be on the 12th or 13th episode of Chicago Hope. "Really?" I asked, thrilled. "The 12th or 13th episode?" He answered yes, the 12th or 13th--he couldn't remember which--as well as at the end of the season. We waited until he had met with everyone and Josh walked him into another room. After that, we walked through the hall and back to the stage and the theatre so we could use the rest room, and there was Paul Ford, sitting on-stage at the piano! So Jenny got his autograph and a picture with him, and Marianne, who plays the piano too, talked to him about the piano he plays and also got a picture. I posed with him too, and I think Betsi might have also. When we left the theatre, we spotted a Lexus with a chauffeur standing next to it and debated hanging around to see if Mandy would get into it, but we decided to give the guy a break and leave him alone. He'd been so gracious about meeting everyone and listening to us all effervesce about how much we adore him, we didn't want him to think we were stalking him or something. So we all went back to the parking lot together and were on our way. As Marianne and I were driving home, we spotted a Lexus with two men in the backseat! We practically got ourselves killed zigzagging in and out of traffic to catch up to it, because looking from the back, it really looked like Paul Ford was in there. Alas, when we finally caught up to it, there was no Mandy and no Paul. It was worth a shot, though!;) Well, it's taken me a week to finish writing this, and know what? I'm still smiling!:)