Theater Review: Court Theatre's Man of La Mancha 'masterly theater'

Two months ago, my review of Man of La Mancha staged at Pec Playhouse described the production by stating, “Every detail of Man of La Mancha achieves professional status.” The current show at Court Theatre in Chicago also is masterly theater. The set, music and cast combine to give the audience a top-notch experience.

Herbert Perry, as Don Quixote, brings to the stage a lifetime of experience, much of it in opera. From the opening, “I, Don Quixote” to the familiar “The Impossible Dream,” his expertise is evident. Hollis Resnik is Aldonza/Dulcinea, and she, too, resonates as a master of musical theater. Now for the comparison… Scott Chacula and Margie Bartscher on the small stage at Pec Playhouse sang the same score with heart and dedication. Their portrayals gave an intensity of emotion sometimes lacking at Court Theatre.

The sets of both shows were equally interesting. Court’s circular stage composed of concentric circles is as dark and foreboding as the prison at Pec. Even the boom of the opening window that allows the prisoners to enter and exit is similar to the lowering of the stairs in the local production.

Court Theatre celebrates its 75th year as a part of the cultural programs at the University of Chicago. Well funded, it is able to stage the best in theater. Its next production in November, an adaptation of Ibsen’s Dollhouse, followed by August Wilson’s Fences, represents the quality of the season. Wilson’s recent death makes his work timely. Having completed the 10 plays set in each decade of the 20th century, we will be seeing a compilation of his life’s work.

Currently playing at Pegasus Theatre in Chicago, Two Trains Running directed by Jonathan Wilson runs through Oct. 30. Ron OJ Parsons directs the Court production.

Man of La Mancha runs through Nov. 6 and tickets are available by calling (773) 753-4472. Located at 5535 S. Ellis Ave., convenient parking is next to the theater.

From the Oct. 19-25, 2005, issue

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!