photo: Jennifer Maufrais
A no-nonsense, thematically clear production of a musical that is very easy to muddle and ruin, the current rendering of Man Of La Mancha (at Gallery Players, in Brooklyn) is modest but effective and, on occasion, stirring. The directorial focus is squarely on telling the story with clarity and a minimum of fuss, as evidenced by choices that demonstrate unwavering trust in the strength and weight of the material. The production is fortunate to have a strong Aldonza in Jennifer McCabe, whose wrenching performance as the whore barmaid is sometimes like a stunning fit of controlled rage, and an enderaing Pancho in Robert Anthony Jones, whose "I Like Him" is one of the production's crowd-pleasing highlights. Although vocal stress kept Jan-Peter Pedross from making an ideal Cervantes at the performance I saw, his performance was otherwise well-judged and quietly touching.