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November 05, 1992 - Image 9

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1992-11-05

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The Michigan Daily-Weekend etc. November 5,1992 Page 1
The savior 1 > a !

made me do it
H 00 boy. My man's bloomers
were in a serious twist, and I
certainly wasn't going to get in his
way. I mean, I hadn't seen him so
worked up since Winona Ryder got
engaged to Johnny Depp.
"How dare she commit such a
sacrilege!" he seethed from behind
clenched teeth. "Where does this
little bald bimbo get. off ripping up
a picture of the Pope?! The Na-
tional Anthem was one thing, but
this is some deep shit! People have
been hung for less, you know," he
spat with a sadistic leer.
"Hey, why don't we just watch
'Heathers' again?" I suggestedwith
a limp smile. "That always cheers
you up."
"Oh no you don't, Sterling.
You're not getting off that easy.
I'm not budging until you tell ev-

eryone here just where you stand
on the Sinead O'Connor thing."
Shit. How could I ever so deli-
cately get around this one? I hate
talking about religion. It's like talk-
ing politics; You're bound to piss
someone off. But what the hell,
isn't that what life's all about?
I was therewhenMissO'Connor
did her little artistic rendering of
"The Pope In Many Pieces." Of
course, everyone in the free world
(including Madonna - like she
can talk. Nice shot with the dog,
sweetie) slammed her for what she
did, but no one talked about why
she did it. While I may not agree
with what she did, I can perfectly
understand where her rage comes
from.
I, your faithful hack, had the
distinct privilege of attending a
"Christian" academy for my four
years of high school. (I won't name
any names, since I don't need the
folks on the corner of Lahser and
12 Mile getting mad and sending
the God Squad after my soul.) Dur-
ing those four years, I was mentally
tortured, humiliated, and basically
made to feel like shit, all in the
name-of God.
God, and His Son, the all-for-
giving Jesus Christ, were the Dam-
ascus swords that were poised over
our heads at all times. "What would
He say about the clothes you wear?"
I was questioned. "You know that
by wearing an earring, you associ-
ate yourself with homosexuals, and
He doesn't like that." (Hey, I've
got no reason to lie to you)
So here's thisconfused, messed-
up kid, going through the same
painful adolescent bullshit that you
endured, being told that basically I
was headed to Hell in a hand basket
because I wouldn't just shut up and
be the subordinate little colored
boy they wanted me to be.
"I think you need to take care of
that," my principal winced, point-
ing at my poor man's version of
Prince's typhoon 'do (gimme a
break, I was just a kid). Almost
daily, I was sitting across from this
junior Pat Robertson, glaring at me
underneath a looming portrait of
his supplier of divine power, a
blond, blue-eyed Jesus. "Perhaps
it's God's will that you fail French
this semester. I think we need to
call your parents again." At this
point, I didn't have any cheeks left
to turn.
But despite their repeated ef-
forts to squash any trace of creativ-
ity or individuality left in me, I
emerged from this institution rela-
tively unscathed. Just ask my thera-
pist.
So forgive me if I don't lustily
join in burning Sinead O'Connor
CDs and labeling her the anti-
Christ. If she endured any of the
same hypocritical experiences in
the name of God Almighty that I

Dress casual, Mandy 's comm'

by Melissa Rose Bernardo
"Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You
killed my father. Prepare to die." Who doesn't
remember that classic line from the 1987 hit
"The Princess Bride"? But no one remembers
the name of the man who spoke it so many
times -
Man d y
Patinkin.
Barnes of
" T h e
r.N e w
7 Y o r k
Post"
him "the
greatest
>.e n te r -
tainer on
r-.B r oad -
way -
period."
(Broad-
way, you
say?) He
is one of
the most
A . r f t enos

sing. (What, he sings?) People say that he
could revive the American musical theater as
we know it. (He's done musicals?)
On Broadway, Patinkin won a Tony for his
portrayal of Che in the Andrew Lloyd Webber/
Tim Rice musical "Evita," and he was nomi-
nated for another in Stephen Sondheim's "A
Sunday in the Park with George." Most re-
cently he starred in the Tony-winning "The
Secret Garden." His film credits include "Alien
Nation," "Dick Tracy," and "The Doctor." He
has just finished "The Music of Chance," with
James Spader and Joel Grey, slated for release
in 1993. He is included on "Tenors, Anyone?"
a recording with Carreras, Domingo, and
Pavoratti, and he has also released two solo
albums, "Mandy Patinkin" and "Dress Ca-
sual," collections of American musical theater
favorites. But where did this tour-de-force
performer come from?
He began singing as a young boy in Temple,
which inspired him to do community theater
work. That led him to the University of Kansas
where he did straight shows and prepared him
for the prestigious Julliard School of Drama.
Of Julliard, Patinkin said: "I wanted to leave
after I was there for six minutes, but I knew I
wanted to get something out of it, and I didn't
know what that something was. So I hung in
and did the technical work - the breathing

idiot work. But I wanted something more."
Patinkin eventually got that "something
more," citing colleague William Hurt and
teacher Gerald Freedman as great influences.
"These people taught me a great deal -a very
great deal - about the kind of human being I
wanted to be and the kind of actor I wanted to
be. All of that came together and I finally got
a way of working after two-and-a-half years,
and then I quit."
After doing some commercial and reper-
tory theater across the country, he eventually
wound up in the New York Shakespeare Fes-
tival, under the late theater impresario Joseph
Papp. It was Papp that convinced Patinkin to
try his idea of a concert for the theater, singing
the songs he wanted; the way he wanted.
He suggested that Patinkin perform his
concerton his night off. So, for six consecutive
Monday evenings, Patinkin performed and
gave the proceeds to AIDS. The show was so
well-received that they continued it on Broad-
way and last fall took it on the road. That
engagement became the current tour, "Mandy
Patinkin in Concert: Dress Casual."
Patinkin's musical repertoire is utterly un-
predictable, ranging from Irving Berlin to
Stephen Sondheim. When asked about how he
selects them, Patinkin simply responded: "I
look for songs that have stories."

he will record in January titled "Shhhh." He
has included about 10 of these "quiet songs" in
"Dress Casual," interspersed, of course, with
his old-standbys like "Over the Rainbow" and
his "Pal Joey" medley. He is also working on
a Yiddish album, of particular meaning to him
because of his Jewish heritage.
"These songs all talk to me - they have
nothing to do with each other, other than the
fact that they each have a meaning ... like a
really good thought."
When asked if he had a favorite song,
Patinkin responded, without missing a beat, "I
have many." When pressed, he stuck by his
initial response. "No - I'll tell ya - I think
the reservoir of material that's out there is so
amazing ... I'm kind of stunned by just the
songs and what they have to say."
As for the format of the show, "Dress
Casual" is done on a practically bare stage,
with one accompanist (Paul Ford) at an upright
piano and Patinkin clad in a t-shirt and tennis
shoes.
"All of it is, so I can be relaxed and make
the audience as relaxed as possible. [In the
songs] the intention to me is not the set or the
pyrotechnics, but the words that people wrote.
These are great songs that live on; the kind of
songs that I grew up with that talk to me, and
they seem to talk to people of all ages.

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