Dark musical explores madness, dreams at Whidbey Playhouse

Don Quixote, played by Douglas Langrock, and his squire, Sancho Panza, played by Ralph DuBois, sally forth on adventures in the dark musical “Man of La Mancha,” opening June 1 at the Whidbey Playhouse. - Rebecca Olson/Whidbey News-Times
Don Quixote, played by Douglas Langrock, and his squire, Sancho Panza, played by Ralph DuBois, sally forth on adventures in the dark musical “Man of La Mancha,” opening June 1 at the Whidbey Playhouse.
— image credit: Rebecca Olson/Whidbey News-Times

Is seeing the world as it should be and not as it is madness? Through the dark musical “Man of La Mancha,” Whidbey Playhouse actors explore the bounds of sanity as they portray Don Quixote’s imaginative adventures as told by Miguel de Cervantes in prison as he waits to face the Inquisition.

The show runs from June 1 to 24 with shows at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and 2:30 p.m. Sundays.

When a well-read man Alonso Quijana, played by Douglas Langrock, a well-known island physician, becomes disillusioned with everyday life, he decides to sally forth as Don Quixote, a knight errant aiming to right all wrongs. With his squire, Sancho Panza, played by Ralph DuBois, by his side, he battles windmills and mistakes a shaving basin for a golden helmet, seeming to all the world to be a madman.

When they come upon an inn --- or as Don Quixote sees it, a castle --- Don Quixote meets the woman of his dreams, who he names Dulcinea. He can’t recognize that she’s actually a kitchen serving maid named Aldonza, played by Heather Good, and she is the opposite of the pure, angelic lady Don Quixote imagines.

Aldonza, battered by raunchy muleteers, played by Joseph Morgan, Allen Waite, Skip LeMay and Mike Garon, sees Don Quixote as a madman, but in his kindness, she also sees a glimmer of hope for the life she could have.

“It’s a wonderful thing to realize even in our imaginations we strive for things we’ll never have, but we still need to dream,” said Rusty Hendrix, director.

Don Quixote dreams of a world he isn’t in and Aldonza dreams of a happy world where she isn’t abused, “and I think both get it a bit,” Hendrix said.

As the story progresses, Don Quixote is knighted by the innkeeper, played by Jim Reynolds, and strives only for goodness, but his apparent madness aggravates his family and friends, played by Mike Garon, Matt Montoya, Sheila Terry and Becky LeMay, and they seek to make him face reality.

Interspersed with moving songs like “The Impossible Dream” and the romantic “Dulcinea,” “Man of La Mancha” delves into the deeper meaning of sanity and pursuing impossible dreams.

Hendrix said she chose this musical because it’s different than the musicals she’s done before. “Man of La Mancha” is dark and not a happy musical, although she assured the audience that they will go home content with the ending.

“I thought the challenge was there and I needed a challenge,” Hendrix said, adding that it was a challenge, especially since they only used one set to represent a variety of places, from a prison to a courtyard.

Hendrix has been involved at the Playhouse since 1994, when she was the prop person for “Fiddler on the Roof” and her children performed in the show.

This is Good’s debut show at the Playhouse. In January, she moved to Whidbey Island from Florida.

“I got involved with the theater the first chance I got,” Good said. She has participated in theater since she was 11.

Good works at Whidbey Island Internal Medicine for Dr. Lee Roof. Good said her workplace has been very supportive and are all planning to see the show.

Playing the part of Aldonza was a challenge, Good said, because Aldonza is such a strong, rural woman, but Langrock applauded Good’s efforts on the stage.

“Heather (Good) is so wonderful. It’s worth coming just to hear her sing,” Langrock said.

Langrock has done 10 plays at the Playhouse since 1997. Playing Don Quixote/Miguel de Cervantes was enjoyable for Langrock because he got to play someone who’s a little crazy. The scenes with Dulcinea/Aldonza were his favorites, Langrock said.

“Old-fashioned chivalry to women is number one to me,” Langrock said.

He also appreciated the play’s theme of pursuing dreams. His dream is to live on Whidbey Island, be a physician and take part in Playhouse shows, which is exactly what he’s doing.

Langrock and Good said they hope the community comes out to enjoy their hard work and dreams.

“We do it for the community and like to share it with people,” Good said of the show. “Come so we can share it!”


See the show

Shows are June 1-24, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m.; Sundays at 2:30 p.m.

Tickets are $18 and are available by calling 679-2237.

The Whidbey Playhouse is located at 730 SE Midway Blvd., Oak Harbor.



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