BWW Review: Don Quixote Rides Into Sacramento Theatre Company with MAN OF LA MANCHA
An endearing message of hope and positivity is what makes Man of La Mancha a timeless classic. It has stayed relevant from its opening on Broadway in 1965 (when it won 5 Tony Awards), through four Broadway revivals, and up to the present day. Now Sacramento is fortunate to have the opportunity to experience the tale that author Miguel de Cervantes began in 1605.
Man of La Mancha is based on the novel, Don Quixote, about a fanciful man who battles windmills and storms inns. The musical includes Cervantes as a writer during the Spanish Inquisition who is imprisoned for being too honest and foreclosing on a church. His fellow prisoners descend upon his trunk of belongings and, in order to keep its contents, Cervantes begs to defend himself by putting on a play to be acted out by himself and the other prisoners.
With the contents of the trunk, he makes himself into Don Quixote, an errant knight with a side-splitting sidekick, Sancho Panza. He sets off to right wrongs, spread idealism, and revive chivalry for his beloved Dulcinea (who is actually a kitchen wench/prostitute named Aldonza). When he encounters his sworn enemy, The Enchanter, he is thrown into a battle where he is forced to see himself as he really is-an old man named Alonso Quijano who is on the verge of death. After falling into a coma and being revived by Sancho and Aldonza, he resumes his identity of Don Quixote for a moment-long enough to instill the courage into his friends that they will need. Cervantes then successfully completes his defense to his fellow prisoners just as he is summoned to his trial at the Inquisition, the unfinished manuscript of his novel, Don Quixote, in hand.
Broadway alum Chris Vettel, as Don Quixote, lends credence as to why the word quixotic was born of this tome. It is the very definition of Don Quixote himself, and Vettel inhabits the character. Backed by Jake Mahler (Sancho Panza), Matt K. Miller (Governor/Inkeeper), and an iconic score that includes the favorite, "The Impossible Dream," STC's Man of La Mancha is a show that shouldn't be missed by anyone who has dreamed of reaching that unreachable star.
Man of La Mancha is playing at Sacramento Theatre Company through May 13th. Tickets may be purchased at the box office at 1419 H St. in Sacramento, by calling (916) 443-6722, or online at tickets.sactheatre.org.
Photo Credit: Charr Crail Photography