Monday, July 13, 2015

Man of La Mancha -- at Barrington Stage ***

To mark the 50th anniversary of its Broadway premiere, Barrington Stage (which confusingly is in Pittsfield, not Great Barrington) has mounted a revival of the Dale Wasserman (book)/Mitch Leigh (music)/Joe Darion (lyrics) musical about Don Quixote and his creator Miguel de Cervantes. Thanks largely to Richard Kiley’s rendition of “The Impossible Dream,” the show was a big hit, won five Tonys, ran for years and was twice revived, once with Kiley and once with Brian Stokes Mitchell. Aside from its three big songs, I found little to admire in the show itself. Its book seemed too contrived for my taste. That being said, this production was quite good. The enormous bilevel set by James Kronzer was outstanding. Olivera Gajic’s costumes, especially those for the knights of the mirror, were excellent. Greg Graham’s choreography and Ryan Winkles’s fight staging were terrific. In a generally strong cast, Felicia Boswell stood out as Aldonza/Dulcinea. Jeff McCarthy, as Cervantes/Don Quixote, was good, not great. Julianne Boyd’s direction was fluid. Unlike last year’s hit “On the Town” this Barrington Stage production is unlikely to make it to New York. Running time: 1 hour 50 minutes, no intermission. (Closed.)

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