Entries in mandy patinkin (1)


Oh Mandy

If you’ve ever been to New York, you know there are a lot of shows to see and many great restaurants to choose from. The last few times that Anthony and I have gone, we’ve made it a point to go to a place called Feinstein’s 54 Below. Located in the lower lever of the famous and in some cases “infamous” Studio 54, Feinstein’s 54 Below is an intimate cabaret that headlines some of Broadway’s biggest stars who just want a chance to perform on their own.

Over Thanksgiving weekend, while visiting the city with another couple; Jeffrey and Harris, we decided to go again. This time, to a show called “Sondheim Unplugged”. Anthony saw a performance of this a few years ago and loved it, so off we went.

Sondheim Unplugged is a Broadway review of, you guessed it, Steven Sondheim songs. All performed by former and current stars of the stage.

Since it’s a small place, there isn’t a bad seat in the house, but this time we had extraordinarily good seats-front row. We literally could touch the performers, which Anthony actually did, by holding out his hand so they could balance themselves as they climbed the two, wobbly steps onto the stage.

The show was emceed by a very energetic and very funny Sondheim aficionado. Either before or after each performance, he would give a little background into the history of the song that we either heard or were about to hear.

After about the fourth or fifth performance, the emcee announced that there was someone very special in the audience tonight that he would like to introduce. Being easily star struck, I was thrilled to find out who it was. That is, until he walked across the stage to our table and introduced Mandy Patinkin, or in our case, Anthony Marsalese, to the crowd. It appears that since Anthony has let his hair go natural (silvery) and let his beard grow longer (and silvery), that he now bears a striking resemblance to the star of Homeland and Evita. He pulled Anthony up on his feet and everyone started to applaud. Anthony, knowing this was obviously a joke, took a bow and thanked him for acknowledging him and the emcee went along with it. After realizing the emcee was kidding, the audience’s applause turned into some light laughter and the show continued.

As the night went on, I noticed a few people were looking over at us. My guess was that we were either in their sight lines or they were trying to grasp the fact that Mandy Patinkin was gay. Either way, I was feeling like a celebrity’s housewife.

Toward the end of the show, the emcee again announced that we had yet another celebrity in our presence. Not sure if he was telling the truth or not, he asked for Charlotte Goodall to stand up.

This time an elegant woman, who must have been in her eighties, stood up and graciously took a bow. Miss Goodall was in the original “Night of the Iguana” in 1961. She was indeed a true star and got almost as much applause as Mandy/Anthony did.

After a couple more musical numbers, the show was over, or in our case, was about to begin. As soon as the lights came up, Miss Goodall came rushing over to our table to tell Anthony what a huge fan she was and how it was so nice to finally meet him after all these years. Not knowing exactly what to say, Anthony graciously told her that he wasn’t really Mandy Patinkin, but thanked her anyway. I’m not quite sure she believed him because she looked a little confused as she slowly walked away.

After this, Anthony excused himself to use the men’s room and said he’d meet us in the lobby. Jeffrey, Harris and I were making our way through the door when I looked up at the bar and noticed a small posse had formed around our star. I told Jeffrey and Harris that I’d be a minute as I had to save Mandy. As I made my way toward the excitement, I heard “Oh, I’m a big fan, can I please have a picture? followed by “Oh, I’m so excited to meet you”. It was really funny watching Anthony, who hates letting people down, try to persuade these people that he wasn’t really who they thought he was. I have to admit, that watching their looks when they realized their mistake was actually quite sad, but it made up for it in the glowing faces of the people that didn’t believe him. “Oh, you don’t have to pretend with us Mandy, we know it’s you”. One lady even went so far as to actually believe Anthony, because “he was much shorter than Mandy”, but insisted Mandy was still in the building and wasn’t going to leave until she found him.

I’m not sure how many people googled Mandy Patinkin that night or how many people will actually tell the story of the night they met Mandy Patinkin, but one thing is for sure, somewhere, there is a living legend that is probably getting pretty tired of being mistaken for the owner of a hair salon in Birmingham, Michigan.