Thursday, October 15, 2015

theatre review - MAN OF LA MANCHA - Theater Works - October 14, 2015

Rob Allocca, Rusty Ferracane and Janine Colletti
Photo: Moran Imaging

Click here for more information on this production that runs through October 25th.

"Celebrating its fiftieth anniversary since opening on Broadway, Man of La Mancha is receiving a superb production at Theater Works. Grounded by a stellar performance from Rusty Ferracane as Don Quixote and with splendid direction and stunning creative elements, all composed of local Phoenix talent, the end result proves how regional theater can truly be excellent. Based on the novel by Miguel de Cervantes, Dale Wasserman's touching and moving book includes a few moments of comedy and incorporates Cervantes as the main character who is imprisoned during the Spanish Inquisition. While he is waiting to be tried, he must defend his prized manuscript in a mock trial by his fellow prisoners in the dungeon where they are being held. Cervantes woos the inmates by telling the story of Don Quixote, the aging "mad" knight who travels with his squire Sancho and believes he has found the woman of his dreams, Dulcinea, in the kitchen wench Aldonza. ...Director D. Scott Withers has found an incredibly talented cast to bring this well-loved story to life. Rusty Ferracane is Cervantes and he brings an elegance and grace to the part...His powerful voice not only sounds excellent on all of his songs but he also brings the same passion and beauty to his dialogue delivery. It is a well thought out performance that is remarkably delivered and deserving of much praise. As Aldonza, Janine Colletti is earthy, gritty, and full of fire. She instills every line reading, facial expression, and body movement with a passion equal to Ferracane's take on Cervantes...When Colletti and Ferracane share a duet of "Impossible Dream" toward the end of the show, it is stirring, touching and full of emotion due to their outstanding well in having the whole cast deliver well thought out characters, whether small parts who mostly stay in the shadows like Bigley, or slightly crazy ones like Johnson's. Withers delivers a fluid, yet tight production, full of plenty of poignancy as well as moments of humor and even a bit of danger...Technical aspects are exceptional...While Man of La Mancha is now fifty years old and Cervantes' novel was written five hundred years ago, the tale of one man's quest and his dreams and the message of hope still resonates today. With a production that hits the mark in every way imaginable, Theater Works' Man of La Mancha is memorable, moving and simply extraordinary." -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

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