Picks and Pans Review: Talking With...
RX FOR HAPPINESS
MANDY PATINKIN HAS A LOT TO SING about these days. First, there's his well-received CD Oscar & Steve (Nonesuch), a tribute to musical-theater masters Hammerstein and Sondheim. "I'm a lucky guy to be riding their coattails," he says. "They're two geniuses and I get to say their words." Then there are his frequently sold-out concerts. Most important, except for guest appearances, Patinkin, 43, has been liberated from the rigors of his Emmy-winning role as brilliant, ballad-bending surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Geiger on the CBS series Chicago Hope. No more long separations from his actress-writer wife, Kathryn Grody, and their sons Isaac, 13, and Gideon, 9, who would ask why Daddy couldn't just sign on as a doorman in their Manhattan apartment building. "I loved the show and loved the people," he says, "but I wasn't able to have a life. And it became clear to me that if I stayed, ultimately I would lose my family. I was fortunate," he continues, "to have understanding producers who made it easy for me to be with my wile and sons and still be part of the show whenever they want me. Now my life is great because I have a life." If his performing career had come to a close as a result of his quitting the show, Patinkin says, "I'd go back to school to become a physician's assistant. I love medicine. I'm a good Jewish boy brought up on antibiotics."