On the November day he wrapped filming Season 3 of the Showtime drama "Homeland," Mandy Patinkin shed his salt-and-pepper beard and the no-nonsense character who came with it, Saul Berenson. He went bare-cheeked to tackle the other passion of his career: singing Broadway show tunes on stage.
"I enjoy acting, but it's not the drug that singing is to me," Patinkin says by phone from New York. "I walk on stage, and I'm on vacation. It's my balance, my broccoli, my Vitamin D, my sunshine, the yin to my yang."
A much-shorter version of Patinkin's "Homeland" beard — "Saul-length," as he calls it — will accompany the actor when he appears Sunday night at the Broward Center for "Dress Casual," his two-man program of show tunes performed with longtime collaborator and pianist Paul Ford. Patinkin's performance — he also sang Wednesday night at the Kravis Center — will also feature pop music, including Harry Nilsson's "Snow" and Patty Griffin's "Making Pies," but also REM's "It's the End of the World As We Know It (and I Feel Fine)" and Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody."
"I'm reaching out a little past what we are known for, which is Broadway show tunes," Patinkin says. "I'm obsessed with 'Bohemian Rhapsody.' It's its own little carousel. It's its own little play."
Between acting roles and, more recent, filming seasons of "Homeland" — a "very intense, high-pressure environment" — Patinkin has been touring his long-running, cabaret-style "Dress Casual" program. After a Tony-winning career spent performing in "Evita," Shakespeare's "The Winter's Tale" and "Sunday in the Park With George" on Broadway, Patinkin met Ford and released a 1990 album of show tunes. He began performing "Dress Casual" in the early 1990s, and the show is partly a medley of "uplifting" music sung in Patinkin's high tenor and partly a night of introspective comedic storytelling, on a stage that remains spartan save Ford's piano and a barstool.
"Paul Ford has been my musical partner for 26 years, and he's got a profound knowledge. He's like the Library of Congress when it comes to this genre of music," says Patinkin, who plans to turn the songs on this concert tour into an album. "We have a repertoire somewhere between 10 and 11 hours all ready to go. And I have to say, to go on a concert stage and sing happy songs filled with gorgeous lyrics about optimism, it's a real relief."
Mandy Patinkin will perform 7 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 9, at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW Fifth Ave., in Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $35-$100. Call 954-462-0222 or go to BrowardCenter.org.