Last Sunday I had the pleasure of attending Mandy Patinkin’s concert with the Pasadena Pops Orchestra at the Ford Amphitheatre. Mandy Patinkin, for those of you non-musical-theatre nerds out there, has had a long career originating some of musical theatre’s most monumental roles on Broadway for composers such as Stephen Sondheim and Andrew Lloyd Webber. So this was a pretty big night for the musical theatre nerd in me not to mention my Homeland obsessed geek-self lurking in the wings.
My friend Amy and I arrived with plenty of time to picnic and chat pre-show so that when the orchestra took the stage we were ready to give Mandy our full attention. And Mandy did not disappoint. He came out wearing old black jeans, an old black long-sleeved shirt and a pair of worn-in tennis shoes. His version of diva. Why does he need to dress up? It’s his show, he can wear whatever he wants. I was eating it up. And when he started his first number – “It’s Not Easy Being Green” originally sung by Kermit The Frog – my eyes welled with musical theatre tears that made me hyper aware of the monumental once-in-a-lifetime musical theatre moment that I was experiencing. Sigh. Seventh heaven.
When he finished his first number, the Ford Amphitheatre rushed to seat all the late-comers who had been asked to wait to be seated in between numbers. Exactly what they should have done. But it being 8:06 pm on a Sunday evening in June, Mandy could fully see the barrage of Los Angeles tardies (try going to a Dodger game, Mandy, you’d be appalled), and being the consummate vaudevillian that he is at heart, was required to comment on it. In the middle of his welcome speech he stopped himself to tease the late arrivals…
“Too bad you’re late. I just finished giving a detailed account of the happenings of season 3 of Homeland.”
And then he started his second number. But he didn’t get far. Half-way through the first verse, one lingering late couple worked their way to their seats. They were later than the original late people. They didn’t wait for him to finish his song. And Mandy was having none of it. This time he stopped the orchestra. And this time, he didn’t tease the late-comers, it was more like berate.
“698 people get here on time, but you…!”
The crowd laughed uncomfortably. Mandy appeared to be really quite perturbed. The late couple only made it worse, trying to talk to him and explain themselves.
“Just sit down!”
Somehow he shook it off and went on with his song. At one point he forgot the words (something he is actually quite notorious for) and stopped the song again to blame the late couple!
So you can imagine the fear that struck me deep within when my pregnant belly began to demand that I take a break to pee. First I assessed the seats around me. I was very much deep in the middle of a section, surrounded by old people with lots of bags and slow-moving knees. If I got up, I was sure to make a scene. The sun had not completely set so Mandy would be able to see any commotion I caused with my preggo-pee. I held it as long as I could.
“Oh, excuse me, is the show not to your liking?”
I froze in my tracks and looked up at the stage. He was talking to me. He had seen the ruckus my pregnant belly had stirred getting me out of my seat and now Mr. Mandy Patinkin and the entire audience of the Ford Amphitheatre had swivel-headed their attention to me. Without thinking, I jutted my round belly out to the side and pointed, “I’m pregnant and I really have to pee!” I yelled to the stage. I projected in my best theatrical voice so that he would hear me. And he did.
He rolled his eyes at the audience and they laughed. But then the orchestra started to play and he went on singing. I stood there for a moment. Did that mean I was excused? Would I be chastised when I returned to my seat? Would I be allowed to return to my seat?
Now, of course that didn’t happen. Well, the first part of the story all the way up to the part when I had to pee did really happen. I just crossed my legs afraid to miss anything instead of getting up. But I did entertain myself with that entire scenario in my head while debating whether or not to climb out of my seat to pee. I even imagined him bringing on Bernadette Peters later in the show and being brought up on stage to sing with them because I was the pregnant woman who had to pee. Because that makes perfect sense, right? But none of that happened either. Instead, Mandy asked for our indulgence while he tried a new, under-rehearsed rendition of “Bohemian Rhapsody” bringing the house down. I was so glad I waited. It was so awesome. I didn’t even mind that he performed most of it with his back to the audience (something he did throughout the show). He’s a weird dude. But he’s a weird dude who knows how to phrase a lyric like no one else. So he can sing into a corner as long as he’s mic-ed and I get to hear it. And after he delicately sung the last lyric of that famed Queen song and graciously accepted his applause, he said…
“And now, lets take a moment to relieve ourselves and get a snack.”
He knows how to put on a show that Mandy Patinkin. And I would be the object of his ridicule, real or imagined any day.