‘Man of LaMancha’ a dream come true!
BY JOANNE GRECO ROCHMAN REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN
“When the audience gives the cast a well-deserved standing ovation before curtain call, then you know that the cast of “Man of LaMancha” has reached what many would call an impossible dream.
Sally Camm, the director of the Clay & Wattles Theater Company at The Gary The Olivia Theater at the Abbey of Regina Laudis, has cast a powerfully talented ensemble. It is obvious from the production that her research has rendered an insightful continuity with the action on stage.
In her pre-curtain talk, Camm pointed out how important the flamenco dance was to the late 16th century. “It was a cry for freedom,” she said. Throughout the performance that cry is heard in song, dance and in the character portrayals.
This musical is a play within a play. When Miguel de Cervantes is thrown into the dungeon, he is submitted to a mock trial by fellow prisoners. He must defend himself for if he fails, all his belongings will be confiscated by the prisoners. For his defense, he presents a play about Don Quixote, an idealist who seeks to right wrongs, perform good deeds and ultimately to be knighted.
Thomas Camm was born to play the role of Don Quixote. His powerful pitch perfect voice is filled with clarity, warmth and expression. Katie Keough, who recently was featured in “The Trip to Bountiful” as the mean-spirited daughter-in-law, once again turns out a superior performance as Aldonza.
While Keough still gets to be wildly passionate, in this musical she also gets to show genuine tenderness.
Russell Sawicki adds humor to the show as Quixote’s side kick, and is joined on stage by other thoroughly entertaining cast members. They include: Pat Spalding, Jonathan Gibbons, David Harrell, Megan Corcoran, Barbara Salant, Maurio Hines (whose voice was incredible), Korie Blossey, Steve Sorriero, Alex Gellweiler, Kevin McElroy and Alexandra Camm. All of the above delivered outstanding performances.
Local artist Matt Wood’s set design (constructed by Br. Kevin McElroy and Paul Murray) cleverly envelops the look of an interior dungeon, though the back of the stage is actually open to the outdoors.
By creating flats that look like stone and barred windows and with the addition of a tiered staircase, artist Wood transforms the open-air theater to a medieval-type dungeon.
Dan Ringuette as Music Director and keyboard musician deserves his own ovation. Not only were the musicians excellent, but the male chorus numbers were especially outstanding.
Leslie Albert’s flute and piccolo were notably sweet. The other exceptional musicians include: Josh Wilbur, Marc Levandowski, Tim Riley, Jim Luurtsema, Tim Maynard, Matt Albert and Don Amodio.
This production brings Don Quixote to vivid life again and rewards the audience with a compelling and memorable production.”