There is a great thing about having a friend that is semi-involved in community theatre.... sometimes you can see shows for free by doing something cool, like ushering a show. That was the case with this show. I ushered, they let me stay and watch the show. No one knew I was going to blog about it. No one asked me to blog about it, but I did not pay for a ticket. (This is my disclaimer for this show, now on with the review!)
Man of LaMancha. What can I say about this show. When I was in high school, my Spanish teacher made us watch Don Quixote. At the time, I thought the movie was pretty cool. So when I figured out that Man of LaMancha was a musical version, I was all up for seeing it. The book is by Dale Wasserman and the music and lyrics by Mitch Leigh and Joe Darion, respectively.
The town I went to college in, and that my best friend still lives in, has a very active theatre world. There is the theatre at the university and two separate theatres that have community type productions. This particular production was put on at the Cookeville Performing Arts Center.
I have good things to say about almost every production, but you also have to understand the difference in a professional production and a community theatre production. This musical was definitely a community theatre production. That aside, it was a pretty darn good community theatre production.
The costumes were pretty fantastic, in my opinion. Especially the costumes of the donkeys (amazing!!), Aldonza/Dulcinea, and Don Quixote, himself. My favorite was probably the prop piece that became Don Quixote's sword after he charged the windmill.
The star of the show, and the most talented person on that entire stage, was Rick Woods, who played the parts of Miguel De Cervantes, Alonso Quijana and Don Quixote. He was absolutely amazing. His rendition of "The Impossible Dream" gave me chills, flat out. Another standout, vocally, was Antonia (Alonso's niece), played by Ashley Francis. Her voice was fantastic.
The story itself is the best part. It's really a page out of Shakespeare's book, as it's a play within a play (and almost again, within another play). Miguel De Cervantes and his servant have been arrested during the Spanish Inquisition and are thrown in prison. Their fellow prisoners have plans to put them on their own Prisoner's Trial. To defend himself, Miguel De Cervantes begins to weave the story of Don Quixote, a crazed man who always sees the best in people and the positive side of things. But it turns out that Don Quixote is just Alonso Quijana, a crazed man who thinks he's Don Quixote.
Along the way, Don Quixote meets a hilarious cast of characters that partially fight his insanity, and partially play along with it. The songs in the show are pretty amazing, but my favorites are (of course) "The Impossible Dream" and "Dulcinea."
There are a few more times to see this show. It plays through July 23rd. If you are a fan of community theatre you will probably enjoy this show.