‘Man of La Mancha’ does more than joust windmills

31 Aug

Attending Community Theater is a little like shopping in the super market.

You’re pleased to find your staples, but you don’t want them stale. When you view the misted fruit and vegetables, you want them to be FRESH and inviting.

“Man of La Mancha” has certainly been a staple on stages and in film for a very long time. Therefore, it runs the risk of becoming stale. This play-within-a-play at Pasadena Little Theater is far from stale! The direction by Craig and Rose Trauschke extracted every exciting and pathetic aspect of this strange story by Miguel de Cervantes y Saavedra. The bleak, almost bare stage is a Spanish prison during the Inquisition. Performing “set magic” (the set crew’s value to a play is often overlooked) the ‘stocks’ used to inflict torture on prisoners, morph into wooden horses for Don Quixote and his ever-faithful servant/sidekick Sancho Panza.

Cast ‘staples’ are Jeff Luchsinger (Governor of the prisoners), Katie Reed, Janet Elayne, Revis Bell and Connie Musler, who may ‘change labels’, but can always be depended upon to masterfully deliver the goods.

Newcomers to this reviewer bring freshness and inviting ‘color’ with their acting talent and vocal abilities. Young Emilio Cevallis as Don Quixote/Alonso Quijana brings the delight of trying a new spice or seasoning, as he interprets a comedic role into heart-touching drama. A long resume of theater experience is not his (YET), but a solid dramatic ability and appealing musical talent make him one to watch for in future productions.

Speaking of both of those theatrical attributes, Juliet Barron, who plays the crude Aldonza and Don Quixote’s ‘dream girl’ Dulcinea, as she portrays the vulgar ‘trash mouth’ and later, the heartbroken ‘Dulcinea’ – because the “mad knight” saw something worthwhile in her. This young woman has a beautiful singing voice and she can CRY the most authentic I’ve seen on live stage! Another ‘beautiful voice’ is petite Amelia Reyna, who plays Antonia Quijana – somewhat in the background, but holding her own with her musical gift.

Talent-Packed Supporting Actors

What theater can have successful productions without a talent-packed supporting actor group? PLT had Jeremiah Maddix as the Padre and Bruce Lira as the Doctor, along with Jared Cadoreis as Pedro; John Hinojosa, Brad Barnes and Edward Conn as Prison Guards.

Is it fair to say, “I’ve saved the best for last”? Well, at least “one of the best” in an unusually skillful cast. I’m referring to David Blystone as Sancho Panza, the sane servant/sidekick of the “mad” knight”. David would have to be a ‘staple’ in Community Theater, with the freshness of a newcomer in every role he plays. His endearing quality as Sancho has always been his unwavering loyalty to his ‘master’. Is this his ‘best role’? TO DATE, yes. To come, probably not.

You can enjoy this “different-in-a-good-way” entertainment at PLT through Sunday, September 13. Friday and Saturday evening performances are at 8 p.m. with Matinees on Sundays (September 6 and 13) at 3 p.m. There is a 2-for-1 performance on Thursday, September 10, where tickets are 2 for $15. Get more information and reservations, 713-941-1758.

Written by: Gloria Walker Smith

source: https://www.chron.com/life/health/article/Man-of-La-Mancha-does-more-than-joust-9762636.php