Mandy Patinkin and Nathan Gunn - Two Great Performers = One Remarkable Show

09.01.11
An Evening with Mandy Patinkin and Nathan Gunn
The Examiner

Rating:*****

By Mira Temkin

You could hear people whispering as they entered the Ravinia Pavilion -- "I went to camp with Mandy," I was at his Bar Mitzvah." "He went to school with my brother." Mandy Patinkin is every bit the veritable "South Side of Chicago boy" made good. But none of that mattered when Mandy leaped onto the stage and became the legendary performer of theater and screen.

Winner of a Tony award for "Evita," and an Emmy for "Chicago Hope" and star of "Criminal Minds," Mandy is still a singer at heart. The pairing of this Broadway star with the world's leading opera baritone, Nathan Gunn, is nothing short of genius, giving the audience one great evening of show tunes, pop music, even a meaningful recitation of the Gettsburg Address.

Dressed in casual black shirt, pants and gym shoes, Mandy was in stark contrast to the elegantly-dressed Gunn who donned a sportcoat and dress shoes. Joining the duo on stage was Mandy's long time accompanist, Paul Ford ("We’ve been together 24 years" "Don't worry," he said to Paul, "someday we'll have children!") and Gunn's wife, Julie Jordan Gunn. Patinkin's son, Gideon, also joined his father on stage for several songs, generating an an ear-to-ear grin for the proud father. “How great is this,” said Mandy! “I get to perform with Nathan Gunn and my own kid.”

It was a joy to watch the mutual admiration between the two performers as they sang their way through Broadway, opera, Americana, and Mandy's own brand of Yiddish songs. Gunn, who recently performed in Camelot, sang "C'est Moi" and Mandy couldn't help by jump in as a gallant knight with "My name is....." a humorous reference to his role in the "Princess Bride." The audience loved it!

From pop favorites like "The Cat's in the Cradle," to "You've Got Trouble in River City" to newer songs like "Innocent When You Dream," their combined voices reached for the skies. Singing both solos and duets, Mandy and Gunn gave Ravinia goers a night of musical excellence they will long remember.