Sunday, June 18, 2017
Princeton Festival Musical Man of La Mancha. June 17, 2017.
Matthews Acting Studio at Lewis Center for the Arts, Princeton University. General Admission ($45.)
Production and Cast
Michael Dean Morgan, director; Louis F. Goldberg – music director; Cervantes/Don Quioxte – Jess Malgieri, Sancho Panza - Jordan Bunshaft, Aldonza – Sandra Marante, Governor/Innkeeper – Patrick James, Duke/Carrasco – Kyle Guglielmo, Antonia/Fermina/Gypsy Dancer – Joanna Connolly, Maria, Innkeeper’s wife – Kristin Titus, Padre/Paco, a Muleteer – Pierre Le Grange.
Overture – Orchestra; Man of La Mancha – Don Quixote & Sancho; It’s All the Same – Aldonza; Dulcinea – Don Quixote; I’m Only Thinking of Him – Antonia, Padre, Housekeeper & Dr. Carrasco; I Really Like Him – Sancho; What Does He Want of Me? – Aldonza; Little Bird, Little Bird – Muleteers; Barber’s Song – Barber; Golden Helmet of Mambrino – Don Quixote, Sancho & Barber; To Each His Dulcinea – Padre; The Impossible Dream – Don Quixote; Knight of the Woeful Countenance – Innkeeper, Aldonza & Sancho; Aldonza – Aldonza; A Little Gossip – Sancho; Dulcinea (reprise) – Aldonza; The Impossible Dream (reprise) – Aldonza & Don Quixote; Man of La Mancha (reprise) – Don Quixote, Aldonza & Sancho; Finale Ultimo – Company.
The Baroque Chamber Concert, subject of the last blog, concluded at around 5 pm. Our plan was to visit the sculpture garden in Hamilton, and then come back to Princeton for the musical. Our plans were quite loose as we considered the musical an option that we wouldn’t fret about missing.
When we reached the sculpture garden at about 5:30 pm, it was pouring, making an outdoor activity quite impossible. We headed first to the Quakerbridge Mall, and eventually decided to go to iHOP to have a simple dinner. When we got to the Lewis Center it was about 7:20 pm. People were already lining up outside the theatre entrance as it was open seating, and the ticketing people (same we saw earlier today, per Anne) told us there were 3 tickets left. So that settled it.
The Festival Book lists 11 performances of this musical, which is quite impressive, even considering the small theater seats about 150 people. For tonight’s performance it was filled to capacity.
We saw the Broadway version of this many many years ago. The first thing I noticed was I didn’t find the story so confusing. Anne thought the whole thing was a dream or recollection by Cervantes while he was in prison waiting to be called by the Inquisitors; I think it is a bit more complicated than that. Of course having some actors playing multiple roles only added to my confusion.
Even with the overall setting lost to me, I still found the individual scenes quite compelling. Worth particular mention was how Cervantes’s love Aldonza eventually saw herself as Dulcinea, the idealized version envisioned by Cervantes.
The singing was uniformly great. Prior Broadway shows I have seen all had singers miked up. As far as I can tell that wasn’t so today – the theatre is very small, after all.
The set is simple, a simple stage with a few crates that were moved around to form different props, such as a cross, and with the addition of a piece of plywood, a table. There were quite a few bright lights that came on at different instances. By and large the setup worked.
The two actors in the front are Aldonza (Sandra Marante) and Cervantes (Jess Malgieri.) What is seen in the back is most of the set.
The play lasted longer than the advertised 1:45 hours, and was performed without an intermission. It didn’t feel long at all.
While seeing this musical wasn’t high on our list of things to do, we are glad to have seen it.