‘Princess Bride’ legend Mandy Patinkin and wife share ‘Storybook Love’ at Strathmore on Valentine’s Day – WTOP News

Strathmore presents “An Evening with Mandy Patinkin and Kathryn Grody” moderated by their son in North Bethesda, Maryland, this Wednesday at 8 p.m.

WTOP’s Jason Fraley previews Mandy Patinkin & Kathryn Grody at Strathmore (Part 1)

Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to hear some romantic wisdom from two showbiz spouses in a “Storybook Love.”

Strathmore presents “An Evening with Mandy Patinkin and Kathryn Grody” moderated by their son, Gideon, in North Bethesda, Maryland, this Wednesday at 8 p.m.

“We don’t do a lot of these,” Patinkin told WTOP. “Gideon prepares everything, meaning whatever he wants to do, whatever he wants to ask us, we go in completely blind and we don’t have a clue what’s going to happen. That’s why we don’t want to do it again tomorrow night or the next day, because we don’t want to repeat stuff. Valentine’s Day was just [fitting]. The first one started on Valentine’s Day, and I think this is going to be the [fifth] time.”

Strathmore audiences might just learn the secret to staying married for 44 years.

“I always get Kathryn coffee every morning and a full foot massage before bed at night — I wouldn’t let a day go by without that,” Patinkin said with a smirk before Grody offered a correction: “I think I’ve gotten one cup of coffee in 44 years from my husband — it was not drinkable — and maybe one left foot rub.”

That’s the type of hilarious banter and bickering you’ll see during the show.

“He always criticizes me for talking with food in my mouth,” Grody said.

“‘Cause I love her,” said Patinkin. “I don’t want her to choke to death and leave me!”

While Patinkin was born in Chicago, Grody was born in Los Angeles. They met doing a play called “Split” by Michael Weller at the Ensemble Studio Theater on West 52nd Street in New York City in 1978.

“We met improvising around a red-and-white checkered tablecloth,” Patinkin said. “We had one scene in the play together, the director was sitting there and the scene was … I was trying to seduce her to come home and sleep with me. We started improvising all the things that people say when they meet for over 45 minutes and the director left the room! It was like six weeks of courting. I wouldn’t go out with her until the play was over.”

“It’s such a cliché,” said Grody. “All I knew in my 20s was that I’d have a life in the theater, I’d be a mother — probably with different fathers was my idea — and I’d never go out with an actor. And here I am 44 years later.”

They got married in 1980, the same year that Patinkin won a Tony Award for originating the role of Che in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Evita” (1979) on Broadway, while Grody was about to star in Warren Beatty’s film “Reds” (1981).

“Andrew had great success and wrote lots of tunes that you couldn’t get out of your head and wrote a piece that I had a wonderful part in for a wonderful part of my career,” Patinkin said.

Patinkin also originated the role of George in Stephen Sondheim’s musical “Sunday in the Park with George” (1984), for which he earned his second of three Tony nominations, most recently with “The Wild Party” (2000).

“Stephen was just a different life force for all of us on the planet and remains there forever,” Patinkin said. “He was the Shakespeare of our time. Stephen’s life was very similar to mine, meaning the darkness he would battle and use the stage world of writing, music and lyrics as his battleground. His journey in life, as with Shakespeare’s, was to turn that darkness into light. … The fact that I got to live in Shakespeare’s time … is mind boggling to me.”

Of course, Patinkin is a legend himself, cemented in movie history in Rob Reiner’s “The Princess Bride” (1987) alongside one of the greatest comedic ensemble casts in history: Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Chris Sarandon, Christopher Guest, Wallace Shawn, Andre the Giant, Billy Crystal, Carole Kane, Peter Falk and Fred Savage.

“If I ever meet anybody that doesn’t like ‘The Princess Bride,’ it’s kind of a litmus test,” Grody said. “We’re probably not going to see the world the same way. That’s just the way it goes.”

Patinkin is most famous for the repetitious climatic line, “My name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die,” but his favorite line actually comes later at the end of the movie.

“The last scene [where] Robin jumps into Andre the Giant’s arms, the Man in Black says to me … ‘Would you like to be the next Dread Pirate Roberts?’ Bill Goldman wrote a line that no one ever quotes and it’s my favorite line. … ‘I have been in the revenge business so long, now that it’s over, I don’t know what to do with the rest of my life.’ … We do not get our loved ones back in return for acts of violence, so I thought it was just the most profound thing.”

While Patinkin went on to win an Emmy Award for TV’s “Chicago Hope” amid seven career nominations from “Homeland” to “The Larry Sanders Show,” Grody wrote and acted in the autobiographical play “A Mom’s Life.”

“I wrote it when I had this son [Gideon],” Grody said. “Somebody actually asked me, ‘Are you working now or just staying home having fun?’ I went to Joe Papp, who was my mentor when I worked at the Public Theater, and I said, ‘Joe, I want to answer that question theatrically. I want to show people the life from the time the kids wake up in the morning until you put them to bed at night,’ because I found that very theatrical.”

She’s currently writing her newest autobiographical play “The Unexpected Third,” which will be doing a workshop at People’s Light Theatre in Malvern, Pennsylvania, from March 22 to March 24.

“It’s basically what I thought this period of time would be like and feel like [juxtaposed with] what it’s actually like, what has really surprised me and thrilled me and horrified me, this period of life — I’m in my 70s!” Grody said. “I am trying to rebut all of the clichés that people assume, you know? Anytime somebody asks if they can help me out of a cab, I usually say, ‘Excuse me, I just climbed 12 sets of stairs today, did you?’”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Gideon filmed his parents for the social media series “Uninterrupted Togetherness.”

“I taped my parents annoying each other … trying to assemble Ikea furniture and dealing with lockdown,” Gideon said. “To our great surprise, people found that interesting enough to watch and we’ve had a fun with that, but basically it’s just been a process of me making a very long family home video to share with other people.”

“Gideon has always, since he was very young, not been very big a fan of this thing called dying, death and the ending of things, so I think he archives our family as just a way of keeping us around,” Grody said.

The same can be said of this week’s in-person show at Strathmore.

“What’s really fun about these nights is that these parents of mine are incredibly open, patient and available with each other, with the audience and we have a lot of fun,” Gideon said. “There’s enough different stuff I throw in the mix that we can experiment and see where the evening takes us. When we started doing these we thought we’ll do one or two and that’s all we’ve got in us, but we were having a great time, so we’ll keep doing them until we don’t.”

What questions will Gideon ask them at Strathmore?

“I could tell you, but I’d have to kill you,” he said.

To quote your father, I’m not prepared to die.

WTOP’s Jason Fraley previews Mandy Patinkin & Kathryn Grody at Strathmore (Part 2)

Listen to our full conversation on the podcast below:

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