Archive for September, 2019

“Man Of La Mancha” Exciting Conclusion To Stages-St. Louis Season

September 14, 2019
man-gov

Steve Isom as the Governor confronts James Patterson as Quixote in Stages-St. Louis’ production of “Man Of La Mancha.” Photo: Peter Wochniak.

One of the top ten musicals on my personal list, “Man Of La Mancha” has never seen a better production than the one that is currently playing at Stages-St. Louis. Style, bravado  and a dash of comedy unfold as the well known Knight Errant, Don Quixote (really a landowner named Alonzo Quixana), rides on to fight windmills, slay dragons and find a lady worthy of continuing his quest for honor and decency in our world.

man-makeup

James Patterson goes from Alonzo to Don Quixote as he begins to tell the story of the Knight Errant. Photo: Peter Wochniak.

James Patterson is a commanding presence on stage as writer Cervantes who is jailed for foreclosing on a church in his role of tax collector- of course, he’s also a writer, poet and playwright. He then transforms himself on stage to Don Quixote de la Mancha. Mr. Patterson has a lovely, operatic singing voice but manages to bring the powerful music of Mitch Leigh and lyrics of Joe Darion down to a nitty-gritty rendition for most songs and even earns a rare standing ovation for the show’s biggest hit, “The Impossible Dream.” As his Aldonza, the scullery maid who he believes is his virginal lady, Dulcinea, Amanda Robles is impeccable as both singer and actress.

man-sancho

Amanda Robles as Aldonza and Patrick John Moran as Sancho in “Man Of La Mancha” at Stages-St. Louis. Photo: Peter Wochniak.

Quixote’s sidekick is Sancho Panza, played with skill by Patrick John Moran. Comedy timing is his forte and his singing voice rings throughout the theatre- particularly with the comic song, “The Missive.” He’s a treat to watch and listen to.

man-priest

Julie Hanson, Erik Keiser and Zoe Vonder Haar spill secrets during the Stages-St. Louis production of “Man Of La Mancha.” Photo: Peter Wochniak.

One of the best comical songs occurs when as priest is hearing confessions of two of Alonzo’s close friends as they claim “We’re Only Thinking Of Him” as the priest continues to console with words of forgiveness. Antonia, played by Julie Hanson is engaged to Dr. Carrasco (a commanding presence in the form of Ryan Jesse) and fears that her uncle’s delusional journey as a knight may harm her chances of happiness and a wealthy husband. The Housekeeper, played with panache by  Zoe Vonder Haar, also shows more concern for herself than the Lord of the manor. In the role of the padre, Erik Keiser is a gem- getting to shine in a couple of songs.

man-imposs

The moment in “Man Of La Mancha” at Stages-St. Louis when James Patterson as Quixote explains to Amanda Robles’ Dulcinea why he follows the quest in “The Impossible Dream.” Photo: Peter Wochniak.

Stages-St. Louis favorite, Steve Isom, plays the dual roles of the governor of the prison and as the Innkeeper of the inn that Quixote mistakes as a castle. A chameleon, Mr. Isom brings the same intensity to a role whether it be a lead or a secondary one. He makes them all his own. Another regular at Stages is John Flack who plays the captain of the Inquisition. Also, kudos to Ryan Cooper for bringing a true touch of hilarity to the role of the wandering barber who must surrender his shaving basin to Quixote who mistakes it for a knight’s helmet.

man-helmet

Quixote (James Patterson) threatens the Barber (Ryan Cooper) to hand over the golden helmet, held by Sancho (Patrick John Moran). Photo: Peter Wochniak.

The usual excellent work by the singers and dancers leading the way is something we simply expect from Stages-St. Louis and we always are satisfied. In addition, special high fives to the technical folks who brought us a stunning recreation of the prison and surrounding areas. James Wolk is the scenic designer who makes you feel the chilly atmosphere of a prison while Sean M. Savoie lights the set beautifully. Brad Musgrove’s costumes are right on the mark as well. Michael Hamilton directs and stages while his choreographer is Dana Lewis.

man-horses

James Patterson as Quixote and Patrick John Moran as Sancho ride of to adventure in “Man Of La Mancha” at Stages-St. Louis. Photo: Peter Wochniak.

You have until October 6th to see this wonderful production of “Man Of La Mancha” so don’t let the time get away from you- order tickets now or find out more information by calling the box office at 314-821-2407. If you have never seen this show- it is an experience and, if you have seen it, you’ve never seen it this good.