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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Man of La Mancha tv commercial

Capital Repertory Theatre begins previews of "Man of La Mancha" Friday night and opens the run on Tuesday. It plays the Albany venue through Dec. 17.

That's a long run for Capital Rep, but if any show can draw audiences for that period of time it is "Man of La Mancha." Indeed, in order to build advance ticket sales the company has even been able to invest in television commercials for the show.

I hope it isn't a waste of time and money. Indeed, for my money, the commercial is a waste of time. I said to a theater friend recently, "When did they turn "La Mancha" into "Henry V?" It shows the lead - Kevin McGuire - in close ups speaking in very dramatic tone about the challenge he is about to face. It gives the impression that it is a very serious and drab show. If you listen closely you can hear the song "The Impossible Dream" in the background - but you have to listen very closely. The commercial makes it look more like a Shakespearean drama that a popular Broadway musical.

If you've never seen "Man of La Mancha" you have to believe me, this is a true Broadway musical with great music, a lot of comedy and yes - a serious story. The magic of the show is that it blends all three elements. You should end the show fighting tears and leave remembering the joy that made you care so much about the title character.

Of course, I haven't seen the show, which doesn't officially open until Tuesday. But I saw Kevin McGuire do the show in Hubbard Hall in Cambridge five years ago. He was, and should be again, a terrific Don Quixote. The supporting cast looks good so I'm going with heightened expectations (which is never a good thing for a critic).

I can't guarantee the quality of the production but I can promise you it will be better than what you might expect from seeing the commercial.