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Man of La Mancha
a Musical
CATEGORY :
by Dale Wasserman

COMPANY : Holly Theatre [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Holly Theatre [WEBSITE]
ID# 1179

SHOWING : March 11, 2005 - March 26, 2005

[REVIEW THIS PRODUCTION]

PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

A five-time Tony Award winner and recipient of the New York Drama Critics award for Best Musical, is a remarkable show and one of the great theatre successes of our time. The inspiring song "The Impossible Dream" will remain in your thoughts and soul well after you see the show. Don Quixotes dream is every mans dream, his tilting at windmills is every mans great adventure. Somehow, the footlights disappear, time is telescoped, and the Man of LaMancha speaks for humankind.


CAST & CREW LIST
Cast David Rothel
Don Quixote/Alonso Quijana/Cervantes Michael Arens
Juan/Prisoner Will Dunne
Padre/Tenorio/Prisoner Justin Green
Sancho Panza/Manservant Andy McKissick
Sancho Panza/Manservant Joyce McManicoius
Aldonza/Dulcinea/Prisoner Karla Owens
Housekeeper/Maria/Prisoner *Understudy Erin Amerson Peck
Captain of the Inquisition Bruce Pilgrim
Pedro/Prisoner Rusty Smith
Anselmo/Prisoner *Choreographer Jay Varnedoe
Antonia/Fermina/Prisoner Rebekah Williams
Governor/Innkeeper Hal Williams
Duke/Dr. Carrasco/Knight of Mirrors Judson Wright
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production
REVIEWS

[REVIEW THIS PRODUCTION]

not just a windmill
by Okely Dokely
Saturday, March 12, 2005
4.0
This was the 3rd production of MoLM I've seen, and while it was by default my least favorite, it was still worthy and I recommend seeing it. The set was thrillingly fantastic - the Holly always goes all out with the sets. A feature I liked was the gate to the dungeon which went up and down "on its own." The directing was wonderful, as I would have expected from David Rothel, whose direction for 2004's I Do! I Do! was the real show-stealer of that production.

I'm not sure why they omitted the overture, but I was slightly disappointed about that, as it is probably one of my top ten favorite overtures. The music was a little soft throughout most of the show. I spent most of the first act trying to figure out where the band was. I kept going back and forth in my mind between "they're behind the stage" and "they're downstairs being piped in through speakers." I took a close look in my playbill during intermission and saw that no musicians were credited, only a "Musical Accompanist/Scoring" credit. During Act 2, it became clear that the music was pre-recorded. All the vamps were set in there, and there were two instances where a soloist was late for their cue, which is one of the downfalls of canned music. A reviewer on this site once commented that canned music allows for very little room for personal interpretation by the actors, and now I agree. It was what hindered the Southside Theatre Guild's Little Shop of Horrors from being as in-your-face as it should have been. The actor has to follow the music, rather than the band following the actor. But it was among the best canned music I've heard, and the timing was great most of the time. Had it been a live band either behind the stage or downstairs, I would have said that they should do all their musicals like that from now on, because no mics had to be used; which let's face it, in community theatre, the body mic thing rarely works out. Anyway, long rambling paragraph short, the music could probably stand to be about one notch higher.

When I first heard the news about the Holly doing MoLM, I envisioned Rothel himself playing Don Quixote. But since he's directing, they got Michael Arens, who is a little younger than I pictured for the role [I know, after I picked on him for being too old to play Suzanne's husband in IDID - double-edged sword, huh Michael?], but exceeded my expectations. Not since I saw Colleen play Annie in AGYG at the Holly have I seen someone disappear into their role so well and make me forget that I know them in real life. Mr. Arens did a fabulous job of commanding the proceedings and carried the show admirably and gracefully. There was a visible difference between his Cervantes and his Alonzo/Don Quixote, and I loved his back-and-forth characterizations. As his sidekick, Sancho Panza, Andy McKissick had top-notch comedic stage presence and played the dramatic parts just as believably, but I'm not sure the cartoonish New York accent was jiving with me. Think Nicely-Nicely in Guys and Dolls, and he has indeed played that role. He made his Holly debut as Wally in The 1940's Radio Hour, and he made me wish all the more that I'd been able to see that show. I wish that he hadn't had those make-up age lines drawn on his face, though. Maybe it was just more obvious because I was sitting so close, but it was a little distracting, and I'd rather the make-up powers that be had let him just be his regular age instead of unsuccessfully make him seem older.

I am now going to single out two performers: Justin Green and Karla Owens. Maybe it was opening night nerves, but while they still sang well, I've heard better from both of them before. Mr. Green as Padre seemed to struggle a little vocally. His "To Each His Dulcinea" sounded very scratchy, but he bounced back with his beautiful falsetto on the Psalm at the end. Mrs. Owens was as good an Aldonza as I've ever seen, and was one of the best actor/resses up there, but her chest voice seemed very tired. However I loved it when she didn't have to belt and just let her soft tones come through - those musical moments were beautiful, and when a prop fence fell down during one of her songs, she covered it as professionally as could be expected. Every time I've seen Jay Varnedoe in a musical, it has inexplicably been as just an ensemble member. He's a fine actor with a heavenly voice. I've always gotten a "principal role" vibe from him, and he has always stood out in the ensemble too much, that it looks uneven, like he should be given more to do. I wonder if it might have played better had he and Justin Green switched parts. I also wished I could have seen more from Rebekah Williams, but I'm not sure if she'd be the best fit for any roles in this show larger than the one she had. She gave one of my favorite performances of 2004, and I may just have to come see her in Sister Mary Amnesia's Country Western Jamboree where she'll be featured more.

The choreography by Jay Varnedoe was well-rehearsed and always interesting to watch. Chad Watkins's musical direction was superb - all the harmonies were AWESOME. Maybe he and Linda Uzelac are the same person - has anyone ever seen the two of them in a room at the same time?

All in all, it had its minor bumps, but I had a good time. With the way I've seen this organization going, I doubt any dream they dream would be impossible. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


[REVIEW THIS PRODUCTION]

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