Tilting at windmills – Metro US

Tilting at windmills

The instantly recognizable “The Impossible Dream” has been sung by everyone from Cher to Il Divo. Now it serves as the centerpiece of the classic musical “Man of La Mancha,” playing at the Smithtown Center for the Performing Arts.

“La Mancha,” of course, is the story of Miguel de Cervantes’ great character Don Quixote and his misadventures. In the show, Cervantes is thrown in prison during the Spanish Inquisition and tells the story to his fellow prisoners, all of whom take part in presenting the play.

The musical has a host of great tunes, but Wasserman’s script just plods along. This production, well-staged by Kenneth J. Washington, does the script no favors by disrupting the action with an intermission (it is written, and usually performed, without one). It is gorgeously designed, with sumptuous costumes by Peter Mussared, evocative lighting by Chris Creevy and a large, looming set by Tim David.

Michael Bertolini doesn’t have roof-shattering pipes, but he’s an entertaining Quixote. What’s more, he isn’t afraid to play the role as an oafish older man, as opposed to young and virile. William B. Kahn is endearing as Quixote’s squire, Sancho Panza. But the real star of the production is the heartfelt work of TracyLynn Conner as Aldonza, the scullery maid/prostitute who Quixote believes is the lady Dulcinea.

‘Man of La Mancha’
Smithtown Center for the Performing Arts
2 E. Main St., Smithtown
$16-$32, 631-724-3700

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