by Michael Brosilow
Nathaniel Stampley as Don Quixote, left, and
Michael J. Farina as Sancho Panza, with cast, in
the Milwaukee Repertory Theater’s “Man of La
“Man of La Mancha”
musical runs through Oct. 30 at the Milwaukee Rep, 108
E. Wells St., Milwaukee. Call 414-224-9490 or visit www.MilwaukeeRep.com.
- I didn’t think I’d ever experience a match for
“Ragtime,” a recent musical produced by the
Milwaukee Rep, but “Man of La Mancha” lives up to
that level of excellence. It delivers two uninterrupted
hours of glorious,
captivating and inspiring artistry.
of its success is due to the lead character so
powerfully enacted by Nathaniel Stampley, a Milwaukee
native, who attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison
and has become a very reputable actor in New York, but
many other actors, including Leenya Rideout (Aldonza),
Jonathan Gillard Daly (Padre), Matt Daniels (Duke),
Michael J. Farina (Sancho), Gavin Gregory (Pedro), and a
host of other talented actors and singers make
significant contributions to its overall splendor.
musical continues to appeal to audiences because it
gives us a message of hope, civility and nobility,
qualities that are sometimes hard to sustain in a
director Dan Kazemi worked melodic wonders with the
talented cast and five-piece orchestra. Bethany Thomas
begins the story with a moving rendition of “Prison
Scene;” the main two numbers, “To Dream the
Impossible Dream” and “Man of La Mancha” are both
executed to perfection, and “Little Bird” is
musically sweet and harmonious. Daly’s delivery of
“To Each His Dulcinea” is beautiful.
I didn’t realize that Daly is such a good
vocalist, along with all his other talents.
gives us a very spunky performance as Aldonza, the angry
whore whom Quixote idealized. He eventually broke
through her defensive armor with his touching “Dulcinea.”
I also enjoyed Farina’s Sancho, who provides us with a
more practical, realistic philosophy, and yet in his
“I Really Like Him,” he has to admit that his
master’s more romantic, quixotic style is refreshing
and really quite appealing.
time frame during the Spanish Inquisition, and the
setting, a prison where a variety of people awaited
trial and possible execution, is exquisitely realized
with Jack Magaw’s creative set design and costume
designer Alexander B. Tecoma’s authentic choices,
which provides a feel for the period.
by struggle and injustice, Cervantes weaves his
story-within-a-story and brings light into the darkness
and, helping us realize that our desire and our attempts
to make a positive difference in the world, gives us
value and radiates outward. We may ridicule idealists,
but we sorely need them.
audience literally burst out of their seats with
exuberance and appreciation at the end. Thanks to
director Mark Clements and his many cohorts that
assembled this array of talented artists. It will long
be remembered as a triumph for all the Rep’s fans.