[by Shiela Steinman Wallace]
After experiencing CenterStage’s production of Man of La Mancha, I think Artistic Director John Leffert is much more than an able producer of plays – indeed, he must be a magician. When the musical opens and Russ Dunlap comes on stage as Miguel de Cervantes, you see a sturdy, slightly heavy middle-aged man, imprisoned by the Inquisition.
A few minutes later, as Cervantes begins his play within a play and morphs into Don Quixote, you see a thin, crazy, old man who tilts at windmills, insists that a shaving bowl is the “golden helmet of Mambrino” and declares his undying love and loyalty to his lady, Dulcinea, while ignoring her protests that she’s Aldonza, “the most casual bride of the murdering scum of the earth.”
Jason Cooper has Sancho Panza exactly right too. Not too bright, but not as dumb as he looks, Panza sticks with Don Quixote, not because he has a good reason, but rather because he likes him.
It doesn’t matter in what role Colette Delaney is cast, whenever she takes the stage, you know you’re in for a treat. She is a master of her craft, and as Aldonza/Dulcinea, she ably conveys the anger, angst and pain that define the character.
If you haven’t seen it yet, there are just two more performances, Saturday, January 29, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, January 30, at 2 p.m. – if you can get a ticket.