Man of La Mancha: the classic Broadway musical now at Westport Country Playhouse

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Philip Hernandez as Don Quixote

The dramatic and stirring Broadway classic Man of La Mancha has returned to the stage at the Westport Country Playhouse in Westport Ct.   This beautifully staged production at the Playhouse is true Broadway quality in every way.  This is a brilliant show that cannot be missed.

Man of La Mancha is a musical inspired by the story of Miguel de Cervantes imprisonment during the Spanish Inquisition and is also inspired by his book Don Quixote written in 1615.  The musical adaptation places Cervantes in a dungeon prison awaiting his hearing for charges brought against him by the inquisition.   Cervantes is a self described poet and play write, as well as a tax collector.  His latter position and his act of taxing  a church has placed him in prison.  His fellow prisoners upon meeting Cervantes and his loyal sidekick decide to have their own “mock trial” and seize his manuscript.  The show is staged in the prison “commons” as the prisoners await trial.  The curtains open to steel bars separating the actors from the sold out audience.  The set is dramatic in both design and lighting and sets the mood for the evening.

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Cervantes demands the opportunity to defend himself before his fellow prisoners and using his skills as an actor and a trunk full of costumes and props, he launches into a virtual “play within the play”.  Along with his sidekick Sancho, the other prisoners become part of this story woven by Cervantes.  Cervantes spins the tale of a noble knight  on a noble quest, and he becomes Don Quixote, Man of La Mancha.   Despite living in an era of fear and despair, Quixote is a dreamer.  He dreams of a world where knights still roam spreading virtue and morals, performing noble quests and coming to the aid of their Lady.  He exclaims he has seen and experienced the misery and tragedy in life, but he rather instead find the beauty and the goodness in life.

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Gisela Adisa as Aldonza/Dulcinea

Quixote is a idealist and a dreamer and the audience (as it has been since its Broadway debut in the 1960s) becomes a fan of Quixote. His idealism for a simpler  and kinder world is in stark contrast to the reality of 16th Century Spain.  Indeed his spirit and  ideals are what attract so many current audience members .

His idealism is manifested brilliantly in the song “The Impossible Dream” which is the hallmark of the evening.  The song is instantly familiar to many, and yet it is so fresh and relevant today.

Philip Hernandez  is masterful in the role Cervantes/Don Quixote (only actor in Broadway history to play both Jean Valjean and Inspector Javert in “Les Misérables”; original Broadway casts of “Kiss of the Spider Woman” and Paul Simon’s “The Capeman”)  He has a wonderful  deep voice that filled the playhouse on opening night.  A brilliant and memorable performance.

Gisela Adisa as Aldonza/Dulcinea (Broadway’s “Beautiful,” First National Tour of “Sister Act,” regional theater’s “Lights Out:  Nat King Cole” – 2018 Barrymore Award nomination) is wonderful  in her dual role.    Tony Manna play Sancho Panza  the side kick and faithful companion to Don Quixote(Off-Broadway’s “These Paper Bullets,” “Timon of Athens,” “The Hasty Heart”; Netflix’ “Maniac”).   He brings to the role a sort of humor and warmth to which the audience enjoyed.

This production of Man of La Mancha  is directed by Mark Lamos who has directed  many plays at Westport Country Playhouse since 2008.  His extensive New York credits include “Our Country’s Good,” for which he received a Tony Award nomination. A former artistic director at Hartford Stage, he earned the 1989 Tony Award for the theater’s body of work.   His direction of this production is mostly faithful to the original, but injects  a modern vibe with the costumes of some of the cast as well as a reference in the dialogue to our current political climate that was recognized by the audience.

This is one of  the great Broadway musicals of all time.  Its story is timeless and quite relevant in the world we now live.  Make sure you see this wonderful show.

For tickets and information:  http://www.westportplayhouse.org

Westport Country Playhouse

25 Powers Ct Westport Ct.

Box office at (203) 227-4177, toll-free at 1-888-927-7529,

 

 

 

The Turk: Authentic Turkish cuisine comes to Mt. Kisco

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A recent entry to the lively restaurant scene in Mt. Kisco, NY is The Turk, located in the heart of downtown right on the corner of South Moger Ave. and Kirby Plaza. The Turk which opened in August 2015 is an eatery offering authentic Turkish cuisine with an emphasis on fresh ingredients and preparation. Among the offerings are kebabs, hummus and various grilled meats that are prepared with a variety of spices and herbs, and the overall effect is rich in flavor and not too spicy .
The entire restaurant has been renovated from top to bottom and has a touch of Turkish themed decor blended with modern finishes such as bamboo floors, stone walls, and Edison bulb lighting. There is a small corner of the restaurant called the Turkish Corner, IMG_1550

with two tables, benches, pillows and Turkish plates and pottery which is where we decided to sit.
The friendly waiter brought us a plate of soft and warm pita bread. With the bread was a small bowl filled with a blend of olive oil, red pepper, garlic and spices in which we dipped our pita bread. Very tasty starter to our meal. As it was a cold winter day we started our meal with a bowl of lentil soup which consisted of pureed red lentils, Turkish seasoning and fresh herbs. It was thick and had just enough spice to warm you up on a chilly day.

 

We shared a Mediterranean salad which had fresh lettuce, red cabbage, shredded carrots, tomatoes. and feta cheese and lightly dressed with olive oil and lemon juice. Another nice item to try is the Shepherd Salad- chopped tomatoes, cucumber, green peppers, onion and parsley in a vinaigrette dressing. It was quite the tasty dish. We also tried the Sigora Borkek (Cigar in Turkish) which is a pan fried filo pastry stuffed with feta cheese and parsley. It was quite enjoyable.

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Sigora Borek

For our entree we had a chicken kebab dish and a mixed grill kebab platter which had both lamb and chicken. This was served with rice and bulgur, and . healthy greens. With the dish was a dipping sauce made from yogurt and dill and it was a nice way to compliment the spices on the meat.


We ended the meal with some Turkish tea and some dessert. The Kazandibi was a crème Brule type dessert was light and creamy. We also sampled the Baklava pistachio which combined pistachio, walnuts and syrup in a filo pastry which created a delicious way to end the meal.

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Turkish cuisine is similar to other Mediterranean cuisines (such as Greek) with its emphasis on lean meats, fresh ingredients, lemon, olive oil and vegetables. The Turk is a great place to sample a variety of delicious authentic Turkish dishes right here in the Hudson Valley.

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The Turk
20 South Moger Ave. Mt.Kisco, NY 914-864-1900
http://www.theturkny.com
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