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Concert Preview

Mandy Patinkin - now a TikTok star - brings his one-man concert to New Bedford

“I’m a lyric-driven person. I love Steve Sondheim, Randy Newman, Paul Simon, Queen. Songs written by geniuses. I am not the genius here — I am the mailman. I deliver the mail.”

Mandy Patinkin will perform in New Bedford on Feb. 9.Joan Marcus

The best reality show about family-life is not on TV. It’s on Mandy Patinkin’s TikTok and Instagram.

Whether he’s singing Yiddish tunes while hiking; explaining the physics of water filters from under the kitchen sink, or talking kitchen stools with his wife, Kathryn Grody, it’s all gold.

The videos may be edited by his 36-year-old son Gideon — but the heart is real. It’s why @mandypatinkintok has 2 million followers, and 339K on Instagram.

What’s the magic? “Honestly, I don’t think it’s about Kathryn and me — the magic comes from Gideon’s love for his family,” Patinkin, 70, says.


Also the star of “Homeland,” “The Princess Bride,” and a Tony-winner with legit pipes, Patinkin brings his one-man show, “Being Alive,” to New Bedford Feb. 9. He spoke to the Globe from his upstate New York home.

Q. Tell me about the show you’re bringing to New Bedford.

A. Well, I had a concert before the pandemic, “The Diaries” but it was an echo of the times and it was a dark time. When we were going back on the road, I said: “I don’t want to do the show we did before. I want to make a happy show.” So we put together an evening that I guaranteed myself I’d have fun doing. If you don’t like it or you don’t like me, that’s OK, bring a sandwich, take a nap, or leave.

Q. [laughs] How did you select the songs?

A. I’m a lyric-driven person. I love Steve Sondheim, Randy Newman, Paul Simon, Queen. Songs written by geniuses. I am not the genius here — I am the mailman. I deliver the mail.

Q. You’ve done TV, movies, and theater. What’s your favorite?

A. If I could only choose one, I’d pick the live concert venue for the simple reason that it’s immediate. The theater is like that too, but it has the constriction of the play, the character you’re playing.


Q. What are some favorite roles?

A. My favorite role in life was meeting my wife and the two sons we were given. In terms of the workplace, it’s George in “Sunday in the Park with George.” It gave me the phrase: “Connect, George, connect.” If there’s a tombstone at the end of my days, it would say: “He tried to connect.”

“Homeland” is the highlight of my TV career. First and foremost, because of the people and the chemistry. I loved being the mentor and caretaker of Claire Danes’ character; that was a beautiful role. And I loved playing Inigo Montoya in “The Princess Bride,” learning how to sword-fight.

Q. I love your Instagram. How did that start?

A. My son Gideon, gets 1 trillion infinity percent of the credit. He knows his parents like a book. Our sons always said, “Our folks are so cuckoo, the world should get a load of you.”

Q. [laughs] Right.

A. So the pandemic hits, Gideon gets worried and comes home to take care of us. We’re standing in the road, he takes out the phone and says, “Yesterday was your anniversary, how’d that go?” And Kathryn says, “Well, we had a fight.” And we started talking about it in front of the forsythia trees.

The next day, he says, “That was fun. Can I put it on your social media?” I said, well I don’t know how to do that. But he posts this video and it goes viral. It’s insane. And it was just extraordinary to have this platform to be able to talk about voting, Black Lives Mattering, LGBTQ, and so on.


Q. I especially love your how-we-met story. What clips stand out for you?

A. I love that one. I love so many. The biggest thing: I wanted the world to know my wife. I felt the world would be a better place if they could spend time with this woman I love, because just the way she is as a human being changed my life. Now they’ve fallen in love with her. It was all I wished for. Gideon made that wish come true.

Q. That’s beautiful. So growing up in Chicago, did you always want to act?

A. We went to the synagogue every day. I got into the boys choir when I was seven. After a solo, little old ladies would pinch my cheek. I got attention for it. [laughs] Like any human, if it makes you feel good, do it some more.

When I was a high school freshman, my mom said, “Go over to the Youth Center; they’re doing plays.” I said, “That’s not for me. You don’t know me at all.” Then a football player in fifth-period said “We’re doing this play over at the Youth Center.” I said, “Sounds cool.”


Q. [laughs] Right.

A. I loved it. I decided this is what I was gonna do with my life.

Kudos to my parents. There was a powerful man, a big lawyer in Chicago, a big man in the synagogue. He wrote letters — which I have — to my parents saying: You’re making a terrible mistake allowing Mandy to go into the arts. This is not good parenting, you should be ashamed of yourselves. And they bucked him. When you read these letters — I don’t know if I could have stood up to him. I can’t thank them enough.

Q. Did they get to see you succeed?

A. When I was 17, I played Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof.” My dad was dying from pancreatic cancer. He got wheeled in and saw me. He died a little later.

I also made a commercial when I was in high school for 7 Up; I played a motorcycle greaser called Teen Angel. We filmed this thing in one afternoon. He’d get checks in the mail for years afterwards. He’d call his buddies, call Smitty, and go: “He got another one! He got another check!”

Q. [laughs] That’s great.

A. I think it gave him peace-of-mind on his deathbed. My mom saw it all. She was my biggest cheerleader.

At the Zeiterion Performing Arts Center, New Bedford. Feb. 9, 8 p.m., Tickets from $49. www.zeiterion.org/events/mandy-patinkin.

Lauren Daley can be reached at ldaley33@gmail.com. She tweets @laurendaley1.


Lauren Daley can be reached at ldaley33@gmail.com. Follow her on Twitter @laurendaley1.