So you think they’d have canceled the show when the star couldn’t/wouldn’t take the stage. No. Instead, Mandy Patinkin, taking the maxim “the show must go on” too much to heart, decided to mount a one-man show, moving from behind the piano to center stage. The result couldn’t have been worse had the blue haired dowagers in the audience (that is, most of the audience excluding the gay men) joined in.
But let’s talk about who did join in: Patinkin’s no-name son (well, his name is Gideon, but you get the point), whose slapdash appearance called out “Old Navy, 2007.” Gideon was the “surprise” that Patinkin promised at some point early in the show, doubtless hoping to keep some of us in our seats in the hope that someone more noteworthy (say, Joanne Worley) would bound onto the stage and launch into a show-stopper from “Gypsy!” Gideon was game, but…well, I don’t want to dump on him for trying to help his dad. (But bait me a bit and I will.)
And if there’s one thing this show needed (OK, there were many things), it was stopping. Patinkin routinely forgot lyrics, stopped songs in midstream, and dismissed the audience with statements like “I don’t give a shit.” At least he tried to make up for it with his appearance — an all-black ensemble that called to mind a central-casting cat burglar who’d just straggled in after an unsuccessful night.
After about an hour of this crap (which included a reading of the Gettysburg Address, punctured and deflated by musical interludes at several points), we’d had enough and demanded a refund. The theater manager, besieged by three fur-clad women on one side and my withering diatribe on the other, only offered token resistance. Less the Ticketron and other ridiculous charges, we got our money back.
But the show should just have been canceled. By the time we found out what was going on, it was curtain time and too late to seek a substitute. The theater obviously decided that they’d try to hold on to at least some of the audience with this Patinkin stunt, which amounted to little more than a sloppy rehearsal for a show you’d pay not to see. For this, we gave up a chance to see “The Book of Mormon.”