Mandy Patinkin on Feeling at Home on Stage: “Connect to one life, you connect to the world. It’s not about numbers. It’s about connection to me”

Sure, most people best know Mandy Patinkin for his role as Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride (it’s pretty much impossible to write about him without mentioning it). However, Broadway fans know that before he ever played the Spanish swordsman he became a Broadway star in the original productions of Evita and Sunday in the Park With George and that he is renowned for his tremendous singing voice.

Despite his prowess behind a microphone, Patinkin admits that when he’s not on stage or in front of a camera he actually prefers quiet. He explains, “I don’t like music and noise or TVs on at home. I like the quiet. I have music in my head all the time. I’m always going over these lyrics, taking hikes, going to the gym, running stuff, learning stuff. I love it more than anything. When I walk out on stage, that’s not my work. That’s my vacation. But for whatever reason, I’m not a big listener of music.”

Nonetheless, he claims that it is far easier for him to learn music than it is to learn lines. He reveals, “When I have a schedule like I thankfully have had, I have for the past several years, where I do this TV show Homeland and I have to say, I learn out loud. When the brain learns music, it’s easier to learn music than to learn words. It’s a different part of the brain. There’s been all kinds of studies about this. When I have to learn text for Homeland or a movie or a play, I have to do it out loud hundreds and hundreds of times. Both to rehearse it, to find out what it is that I think of the ideas or the words or images that come to my mind, but I do it out loud and I need a rest from it.”

In fact, Patinkin says that he much prefers performing on stage because the connection to an audience is immediate. He explains, “I feel much more like a good servant in terms of film or television. My job is to serve everyone else’s needs, to give them as many choices as possible so when we leave any given angle or any given scene, that the editors have as much as I could afford to give them and as much as time can afford to give them. Because it’s too expensive to go back and do it again. In terms of reaching how many people, whether it be how many millions of people you reach by a television show vs. anywhere from 300 or a couple of thousand people in a theater, I love what the Torah says: Save one life, you save the world. Now, I don’t consider singing a song necessarily saving a life, but I use that phrase ‘to touch one life and you touch the world.’ My favorite word in life is ‘connect.’ Connect to one life, you connect to the world. It’s not about numbers. It’s about connection to me.”

via The Miami Herald

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