Posted by: ritagone | February 24, 2016

Reinventing Yourself

 

If you’re a fan of the cable TV series “Homeland,” you know who Mandy Patinkin is. He plays Saul Berenson, Carrie Mathison’s (Claire Danes) mentor and father-figure, who has been on the show since its inception five seasons ago. I’m sure there are many younger people watching this series w_Berlin_is_a_character_in_itself__in_Homeland_season_five__says_Saul_Berenson_actor_Mandy_Patinkinho love Saul for his brusqueness, his loyalty to Carrie even at the worst of times, and his keen insight into how the espionage world works.

I wonder how many of them know that Mandy Patinkin had – in his younger days several decades ago – one of the most lyrical tenor voices anywhere to be heard? That he was Che Guevara in the original Broadway cast of the musical “Evita” back in 1979, along with singing in one-man shows and concerts around the U.S. for many years (ask my husband Michael about his experience of being pulled up on the stage by Mandy at one such concert in Hollywood, one of the highlights of his life), along with dozens of albums and CDs which testify to the incredible voice that could make you weep with raw emotion back in its day.

Oh, probably a lot of people remember him as Inigo Montoya in the 1987 classic movie “The Princess Bride,” mainly because of the utterly famous line: “My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” Even my 10-year-old granddaughter can recite that speech flawlessly, not so much concerned with the fact that it’s Mandy’s portrayal that has gone down in film history.

He’s done a lot of television too, from the medical show “Chicago Hope” to early seasons of “Criminal Minds” to the current “Homelands.”

Knowing what little I do know about the quality of the human voice in terms of singing, I would venture to say that the beautiful lyric tenor of his bygone decades is no longer available to him. So if you haven’t heard the Mandy Patinkin of 20 or 30 years ago, I encourage you to do so. You will be so impressed and moved by the songs he sang, the way he sang them, the emotion he packed into songs with lyrics like “Over the Rainbow.” But it’s a vocal quality that doesn’t last, like the colortura soprano who at a certain age can no longer do those agile runs and leaps and frills. That high-pitched tenor is subject to the vagaries of age, like so many things.

So somewhere along the way, Many Patinkin must have come to the realization that he needed to reinvent himself, because the talent and the gift that he had as a young man were not going to remain with him into the next phase of his life. So he devoted himself to dramatic acting, and now, at the age of 63, he’s still going strong because he knew that he needed to change his game plan.

He didn’t sit around bemoaning the fact that that lovely voice was no longer going to get him gigs.

Instead, he developed his acting chops even more and re-issued the “new and improved Mandy Patinkin,” and now we love watching him as Saul. And I feel certain that if “Homeland” were to disappear into the graveyard of television series that didn’t get renewed, Many Patinkin would re-surface somewhere else, his skills and talents intact.

Do you need reinventing in some way? I think at one time or another we all do. We all reach the end of a road in our lives where we have to turn into another direction, take a left or a right and seek other skills or talents or opportunities.

If you’re at that place in your life, be a Mandy. Don’t sit around complaining about how life has pulled the rug out from under you. Instead, decide what you’re going to do now and then set about reinventing yourself to go do it.

 

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