Man in La Mancha

Man+in+La+Mancha

The Guard, played by Donald Yeomans, holds back a grieving Lupita (Patty Arngel) during a scene from Man of La Mancha

Whittier Community Theatre opened its 92nd season last week with a fine presentation of the Broadway musical “Man of La Mancha,”  and one of the highlights was the wonderful set of Miguel deCervantes’ prison during the Spanish Inquisition.

“Man of La Mancha” deals with Cervantes’ imprisonment during the inquisition and has a play within the play when Cervantes dreams of being Don Quixote.
Directed by Karen Jacobson, the play moved well, but the script was confusing and was hard to comprehend with the action on stage.  There was not much more that Jacobson could have done to make the script any more lively.
The vocal ensemble directed by Porfirio Antonio Majica, choreography by Rebecca Schroeder and overall casting was impressive, although there was so much going on that it was hard to follow the plot sometimes.
Standing out in the cast were Veronique Merrill Warner and Jerry Marble as Aldonza and Sancho Panza, respectively.  Warner was radiant in her portrayal and her singing was awesome.  Marble shined as the much needed comic relief in the musical.
William Crisp’s Cervantes was also very effective and his voice was up for the challenge.
Other notables in the cast included Justin Patrick Murphy as the Duke,  Greg Stokes as the Governor, Amy Anderson as Antonia and Jay Miramontes as the Padre.
The orchestra, and there is one, was very good under Mojica’s direction and the set was magnificent.  Designed by Suzanne Frederickson the massive prison scene came to life for the audience even without actors.
The play is continuing Sept. 20 and 21 at the Whittier Center Theater, 7630 S. Washington Ave., Whittier with both performances at 8 p.m.  Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for seniors, juniors and military.  For reservations, tickets or further information call  (562) 696-0600 or visit the WCT website at www.whittiercommunitytheater.org.