The Man of La Mancha

Jeff Berryman as Don Quixote and Don Darryl Rivera as Sancho

 If you are going to only see one play this year, you should make it Man of La Mancha with Taproot Theatre!

Last night we had the privilege of attending the opening night of Taproot’s lastest run.  For the first time in almost a year, the audience rose for a standing ovation at the end, and the cast enjoyed two curtain calls.

This play is incredibly profound.  Here are a couple of quotes:

“Take a deep breath of life and consider how it should be lived.”

“Look always forward.  In last year’s nest there are no birds this year.”

We were delighted, right from the beginning.  The number “only thinking of him” reminds me of a flamenco opera that I saw in Spain.  The ambiance, the quality…it was perfect.

Here are some of the highlights:

Mike Oliver, who played many parts, has an incredible voice!  I don’t know when I have enjoyed a voice quite so much.  His singing pulls you into the scene.

Don Darryl Rivera made his Taproot debut – and I hope we see more of him.  I never knew that Man of La Mancha was a comedy – but Rivera’s ability with physical comedy is fascinating, surprising and perfect!

Jeff Berryman may have outdone himself.  This is a fabulous part for Berryman.  His ability to switch between Don Quixote, Cervantes and Alonso is amazing.  He does a great job with the complex singing role, and also has an ability to hold the moment.

Candace Vance as Aldonza and Dulcinea

Candace Vance is back again.  She pulled off her part with incredible ease.  I was so delighted to watch her work.  Not only can she sing, but her acting was a cut above anything I’ve see her do to date. 

Stephen Grenley debuted in this production.  He held opposite roles, a gentle inn keeper and the lead prisoner.  He showed a great versatility, and his presence was perfect in each role.

Other parts to note:  Faith Russell does a fine gypsy dance, and Pam Nolte, playing minor roles throughout, delights with a clear, high soprano voice. 

April Wolfe, performing for the first time with Taproot, did a great job.  She and Mike Oliver are key to the “I’m only thinking of him” operetta that is so delightful.  Ryan Childers returned.  He seemed a bit uncomfortable in his prisoner role, but when he was able to take on the role of a gentleman, he came through.  His best moment of the night was his appearance as a Monty Python-like Knight of the Mirror.

Last but not least, the guitar work through out the play was perfect.  Jared Borkowski and Gordon Tibbits are to thank. 

Ready to spend an evening in enchantment?  You can contact the Taproot box office, or buy tickets online.


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