Mandy Patinkin

On Friday, March 8th students at the FSU School of Theatre were given the opportunity to observe and participate in a masterclass taught by Mandy Patinkin. Mandy Patinkin’s illustrious career precedes him. He is an American actor and singer known for his roles in theater, the concert stage, film, television, and as a recording artist.

The masterclass began with Dr. Jai Vartikar, first lady of the university giving the opening remarks. As soon as Patinkin came on stage, he was quick to remove the podium and ask everyone in the room to move as close to the front of the stage as possible. The wit and charm Mandy possessed made the environment positive and inspiring. Mandy chose to sit in the audience rather than stay on stage, encouraging an intimate environment. Throughout the masterclass, eight senior students in FSU’s School of Theatre performed their selected songs. With each student Mandy was quick to get personal, pushing students to tap into the “why” of what they were doing. He emphasized that personal conviction is the drive that “makes a performance real.” Mandy did not shy away from being vulnerable himself as well. He advised the aspiring actors in the room and his own experiences with burnout and staying true to himself. As the planned closing time drew closer students were no less eager to ask him questions and learn from him. In the end, students and Mandy continued their Q&A for an hour after their session was scheduled to end. Mandy’s generosity as an educator and his genuine wisdom meant that everybody in the room was able to take something away from this masterclass. Mandy did not shy away from urging the budding artists in the room to acknowledge the power they have to change our world, “We (artists) are teachers, we are communicators… we pick the thoughts and ideas we wish for the world and present it with the hope we can make the world a better place.”