Knight of the Woeful Countenance
Man of LaMancha
Review by Ross Anthony

Don Quixote isn't much good at falling great windmills, but boy he can sing! Davis Gaines, a seasoned pro, pleases the Carpenter crowd with veteran acting chops and commanding wind (er, uhm) pipes.

The production stumbles from the opening to acquaint the audience with the context under which this story of Quixote will be told. This preamble is a bit "trying." But, once Quixote and his tale are set free to roam across the windmill-peppered plains of Spain, the play begins to engage. By intermission, the rough set up has been nearly forgotten and the twisted blades begin to turn mightily.

The momentum carries strongly through most of the second act. Reprising of the theme tune "Impossible Dream" adds strength and depth, but sadly, subtracts with just one too many reprises. (Ironically, in the original teleplay, the "Impossible Dream" speech version almost got the axe.)

Highlights include: the beautifully worded and trio-voiced "I'm only thinking of him," the chessboard-walk, the Sancho/Aldonza missive scene, and Gaines' big voice and warm presence. Quieter moments involving only two or three thespians shine brightest, however, scenes requiring the full cast feel cluttered and amateur.

The costuming and lighting and set are all apt, the lift/elevator impressive, though its up/down speed injects a few awkward extra seconds.

Though mostly told well, the play experiences a touch of tone-disconnect. A harsh, but important, reality scene appears "out of place" amidst a mostly Disney feel. This could have been avoided with a more shockingly disturbing open. Nonetheless, the original source material is taken from one of humankinds' great pieces of literature, so goers will leave with plenty to reflect on philosophically. The production enjoyed a standing ovation from the audience.

"They say one madman makes a hundred. And love makes a thousand."

don quixote

-- Books by Author/Illustrator Ross Anthony --

  • Man of LaMancha by Musical Theatre West. Copyright © 2012. Based on the February 17th, 2012 performance at Carpenter Performing Arts Center, Long Beach, California.
  • Director: Nick Degruccio. Musical Director: Matthew Smedal. Choreography: Carlos Mendoza. Book by Dale Wasserman. Cast: Davis Gaines, Lesli Margherita, Justin Robertson, Richard Gould, Damon Kirsche, Jason Webb, Steven Glaudini, Karenssa Legear. Dynell Leigh, Sam Zeller, Venny Carranza, Michael Guarnera, Jay Donnell, Isaac James, Robert Patrick Kelly, AJ Mendoza, Ramone Owens, Jebbel Srce, Brad Fitzgerald, Gristopher Hamby, Andre Polo, Gary Lee.

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Copyright © 1998-2022 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: or call 1-800-767-7186. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.

Last Modified: Tuesday, 22-Sep-2015 12:14:06 PDT