Two Words. Mandy. Patinkin. Three more words. Oh. My. Gosh.
A couple of months ago I was at my parent's home while mom was doing her usual reading through the arts section of the newspaper. I've got to remember to do this - this is how she finds amazing stuff! Like the fact that Mandy Patinkin (you may remember him as Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride like 20 years ago) (but he's actually a super-star show-tunes singer) was coming in concert. Mom said, "Oh Leonard, let's go to this!" and I, third-wheeling, mouthy daughter that I am, said, "I'm sorry, but you're going to have to take me too."
So last night I crashed my parent's date. It was so much fun. We went to a lovely theater up at Weber State University, and it was packed with maybe two or three thousand people. I'll tell you, those people screamed like little girls when Mandy walked on stage. Okay, I was there, I was screaming too. Like it was the Beatles or something! What was really fun was that he didn't have a set or a big production - the stage was sort of scattered with racks of chairs and a ladder and boxes and stuff like that. He and his pianist Paul Ford, who is pretty much Stephen Sondheim's right hand, sort of chose what to play as they went along. Wonderful. He didn't really dance a whole lot, but he definitely got into character wholeheartedly for each number. Lots of Stephen Sondheim, especially from my favorite of his musicals, seconded only by Into the Woods, Sunday in the Park with George. (Misty, go rent these movies. I would love to watch them with you.) I have loved the music from Sunday in the Park since high school. I am profoundly attached to it. He also sang Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Oklahoma, "Bring Him Home" from Les Miserables, lots more Sondheim, and some funny stuff like White Christmas, Maria (from West Side Story) and Take Me Out to the Ball Game in Yiddish. Funny. He was funny. And wonderful. My parents and I just sat there grinning at each other, clutching our hearts, crying, etc. Perhaps the best moment of the show (besides all the singing, of course) was as it came to a close and Mandy said, "I never end my shows without this." He took a sword fighting stance and said, "Hello. My Name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die." You should have heard the crowd go nuts. I haven't heard screaming like that...maybe ever.
I'm so grateful to my parents who have brought so much art, culture and beauty into my life. They have done this for as long as I can remember, and I feel enormously enriched by it. Shakespeare, musicals, old movies, symphonies, theater, museums, and on and on. My whole life. I can't say that as a child I loved every moment of being enriched, but I certainly caught their infectious enthusiasm for these things. I really hope I can send a little of that the direction of my own children. Seriously, the effort mom put into it makes me overwhelmed, and yet treasure so much what I love that I hope I pass a little along. Thanks, Mom and Dad.