Man of La Mancha

*Disclaimer: I’ve been sick this week and a fever/lack of sleep may have me misremembering/misinterpreting events*

There is a small theater nearby, the Clemens Center, which brings in about five musicals each year. While there are a lot of other events hosted there, the five make up the Best of Broadway series of which you can become season ticket holders. Bryan and I are season ticket holders (makes you feel like a grown-up). It’s fun to have something to look forward to and it’s nice to force you out of the house to see things you may not have usually. Last night we saw Man of La Mancha. Being sick, I had a grand time packing my purse with Kleenex (including a discard bag), cough drops, and water. We have perfected our timing so we get there about 2 minutes before the show actually starts, which works out nicely.

Other then the name, I knew nothing about the show going into it. You can usually judge the “type” of show it’s going to be by the crowd it draws. The last one we saw was Mamma Mia! and there was a strong group of young folk in attendance. The first one of the season, Hello Dolly, had a crowd full of the “older generation”.  For several different reasons we didn’t like Hello Dolly. Last night’s show had much the same crowd and we were a bit worried. I was pleasantly surprised! Once I’m non-fevered I’ll need to research it a bit more so it makes a bit more sense but I thought there was good character development and it was well acted. The male lead had the vibe of a true story teller. I could picture him as a traveling bard from the days of yore. I liked how feisty Aldonza was and how she interacted with Don Quixote. Unfortunately, she could have used some more vocal power to back up her attitude. Sancho was good comic relief and all of the small characters played their parts well, no one standing out where they shouldn’t be, no upstaging. A delightful treat was to have an (almost) full pit! With a number of the traveling productions there is no where near a full pit, mostly recorded or synthesized with a couple of live musicians. They are well done so it isn’t obvious it isn’t live live, unless you are paying attention. We have seats in the balcony and I love watching the conductors conduct. It was performed without an intermission (don’t know if this is typical or not) which added to the feeling of being under a bard’s spell.

When it was over and the curtain call was had, the Don Quixote informed us all that Mitch Leigh, the man who had composed Man of La Mancha 50-ish years ago, had died this past weekend. He said that the song “The Impossible Dream” was Mitch’s favorite from the show and that it means a lot to the company. They then performed it as an encore and encouraged everyone to join in and help celebrate his life. It was wonderful hearing the company singing and then having the audience join in all around me. It was a truly beautiful and touching moment.

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