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Hamptons Theater Review: "Man Of La Mancha" At Quogue Community Hall

T.J. Clemente

Anthony Arpino, Michael Sean Jones, Rick Grossman, Matthew Conlon, Andrew Gasparini and Jessica Howard star in Man of La Mancha. (Photo: Tom Kochie)

Man of La Mancha is a spellbinding show now being presented by Hampton Theatre Company at the Quogue Community Hall. It is expertly directed by Edward A. Brennan and Diana Marbury. The performance I attended ended with a standing ovation. There is a certain magic that manifests itself whenever there is a show at the Quogue Community Hall. The audience is unique, very local and loyal in nature and very appreciative of their Hampton Theatre Company. They know the local actors and share their on-stage triumphs.

Man of La Mancha is the first fully-staged musical that the Hampton Theatre Company has ever presented. The audience loved it.

Matthew Conlon is outstanding as Don Quixote/Cervantes as he commanded the Quogue Community Hall stage once again with his signature gravitas. Sean Marbury, a wizard of set design, once again shows why he is the best set designer on the East End. Even before the show began the folks behind me were vocally admiring the detail and majesty of Marbury's creation for Man of La Mancha.

The singing of Elora Von Rosch who portrays Aldonza/Dulcinea is pulsating wonderful. She definitely captivated me with her powerful performance of her roles. The audience totally enjoyed her skillful presentation and her singing of her songs that had amazing magical powers.

Rich Grossman (Sancho) was a crowd favorite delivering the wonderful lines of playwright Dale Wasserman with his stylish timing. Joe Mankowski (Padre) has a huge stage presence. James M. Lotito, Jr is Dr. Carrasco. He has a keen sense of movement in his acting style. Anthony Arpino (Governor/Innkeeper), Jessica Howard (Housekeeper/Innkeepers Wife), Nora Moutrane (Antonia) along with Andrew Gasparini (Barber/Muleteer), Kyle Breitenbach (Pedro), Michael Sean Jones (Anselmo) and Alyssa Marino are vibrantly strong in their roles that formed the backbone of the show with precise movement and quality song.

The Musicians: Amy Federico McGraph (Piano/Conductor), Michael Kendrot (Reeds), Charles Klausen (Trumpet), Diane Hoffman (Trombone), William McGrath (Guitar) and Kevin Twigg (Percussion) performed the music by Mitch Leigh magnificently as their live music added so much to the show.

Diana Marbury and Edward Brennan are to be applauded for taking on this huge undertaking and molding their efforts and the efforts of the cast into a production that produced a roaring standing ovation. Kudos and accolades to them.

The song The Impossible Dream is the centerpiece of the show and Matthew Conlon present/sings/performs its various forms throughout the production. A longtime personal favorite East End actor, Matthew Conlon is but one reason the Quogue Community Hall audience supports their Hampton Theatre Company so vibrantly. They know they have something unique, something special, something enduring. Man of La Mancha will no doubt be remembered as the first success of what will be many musicals to follow.

Man of La Mancha can be seen at the Quogue Community Hall from Thursday, March 21 through Sunday, April 7, with shows on Thursdays and Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. There will be an additional matinee performance during the final weekend of the production, on Saturday, April 6. Special dinner and theater packages will be presented in collaboration with the Westhampton, Southampton, Hampton Bays and Quogue libraries, as will a special lunch and theater package offered at Quogue Club at the Hallock House for the Saturday matinee on April 6.

Quogue Community Hall is located at 125 Jessup Avenue in Quogue. For more information, call 1-866-811-4111 or visit www.hamptontheatre.org.

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