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March 11, 2005
Contact: Charla Jenkins, University Theatre, (785) 864-2684.

KU alum Mandy Patinkin returns to campus for benefit April 9

LAWRENCE -- Award-winning performer Mandy Patinkin will return to the University of Kansas, his alma mater, at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 9, for a benefit presented by the KU Department of Theatre and Film and Friends of the Theatre. "A Conversation with Mandy Patinkin" will raise funds to purchase new equipment for Murphy Hall's Crafton-Preyer Theatre to help patrons with hearing challenges, and to a scholarship fund for undergraduate film students.

The evening's program includes a filmed retrospective of Patinkin's performance work as well as the conversation, moderated by Jack B. Wright, professor of theatre and film.

Kip Grosshans, president of Friends of the Theatre, said the benefit would allow the University Theatre support organization an opportunity to raise funds for the theatre and film programs' needs.

" Mr. Patinkin's very generous gift of his time is the latest in a long tradition of outstanding support for our University Theatre, and we're so thankful he answered our request to bring him home with an enthusiastic yes," Grosshans said. "Because Mandy's name and artistic reputation has been able to generate so much interest and so many gifts from the community and university, a new digital personal sound assistance system for patrons will be a reality for next season."

A native of Chicago, Patinkin began acting at an early age, performing in local productions. He attended KU from 1970 to 1972, performing in such University Theatre productions as "Fiddler on the Roof" and "Man of La Mancha." His last visit to campus was in fall 2001, when he met with students for a brief question and answer session while in the area for a solo concert.

While at KU, he was cast as Teen Angel in a national 7-Up commercial. He left Lawrence to attend the Juilliard School of Drama in New York City. Shortly after leaving Juilliard, Patinkin acted with the Baltimore Center Theatre Group in children's theater programs, and performed in BBC Radio productions.

Patinkin won a Tony Award, a Drama Desk Award and Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for best featured actor in a musical for his performance as Che in "Evita" in 1980. He won an Emmy for best actor in a television drama in 1995 for his role as Dr. Jeffrey Geiger on "Chicago Hope."

Patinkin's most recent television role was portraying Rube in the Showtime cable series "Dead Like Me" during the 2003 and 2004 seasons. He also has appeared on such series as "Boston Public," "Touched by an Angel" and "The Simpsons," and was the narrator for the movie "The Polar Express." His film credits include "The Princess Bride" and "True Colors."

Patinkin also has released more than 20 solo and original Broadway recordings. He is one of the artists featured on a new CD, "To Life!: Songs of Chanukah and other Jewish Celebrations," released in October 2004.

In 1998, Patinkin received the "Remembrance Award," given by the Friends of the New England Holocaust Memorial, for his efforts on behalf of Holocaust Remembrance.

Reserved-seat tickets for "A Conversation with Mandy Patinkin" are on sale in the University Theatre ticket office, (785) 864-3982, and online at http://kutheatre.com. Public tickets are $40; tickets for all students are $20.

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The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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