It’s that time again: transition time, that uplifting and encouraging time of new light, new energy, new growth, and (it is hoped) new warmth. The cycle that began with the winter solstice—the beautiful but now sadly beleaguered Earth tilting back toward the sun—has now, as of 5:58 p.m. on Wednesday, arrived at the point of exactly equal measures of light and dark, signaling the start of spring in the northern hemisphere of the planet, fall in the southern hemisphere.
What better way for At Quaquanantuck to mark the occasion, and the start of the new season than with another request for readers’ photos? That’s right: many of you will remember the request for photos of Signs of Summer here in Quogue, and then for Signs of Summer’s End. Several wonderful images were submitted in response to those requests, so here’s hoping our talented reader/photographers will send some more to AtQuaq@gmail.com in the coming weeks.
“Man of La Mancha” Ushers in Spring for HTC, Starting Tonight
Just as spring brings new light and new energy to the northern hemisphere, so too will the Hampton Theatre Company production of “Man of La Mancha”—bathed in spectacular and color saturated illumination from the company’s new LED stage lights—bring the new energy of a fully staged Broadway musical for adults to the stage of the Quogue Community Hall starting tonight, Thursday, March 21, at 7 p.m. The third play of the HTC’s 2018-2019 season, the show will run through April 7.
Inspired by the 17th century novel “Don Quixote,” the classic Broadway show—with book by Dale Wasserman, music by Joe Darion and lyrics by Mitch Leigh—is a certified classic, having enjoyed four revivals in New York anchored by one of the best known songs in the Great American Songbook, “The Impossible Dream.”
Framed as a play within a play, “Man of La Mancha” presents Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes performing a story based on his novel “Don Quixote” for a group of prisoners awaiting a hearing. Its score includes the standard “The Impossible Dream,” as well as “Man of La Mancha (I, Don Quixote)” and “A Little Gossip,” among others.
Adapted from Wasserman’s non-musical 1959 teleplay, “I, Don Quixote,” the musical adaptation, “Man of La Mancha,” opened on Broadway at the Martin Beck Theatre on March 20, 1968, moved to the Eden Theatre in March of 1971, and then to the Mark Hellinger Theatre on May 26, 1971 for the last month of the original Broadway run.
Major Broadway revivals of the show were staged in 1972, 1977, 1992, and in 2002, with Brian Stokes Mitchell in the role of Cervantes/Quixote. In addition to productions in London’s West End, the musical has played in many other countries around the world, with productions in Dutch, French (translation by Jacques Brel), German, Hebrew, Irish, Japanese, Korean, Bengali, Gujarati, Uzbek, Bulgarian, Hungarian, Serbian, Slovenian, Swahili, Finnish, Ukrainian and nine distinctly different dialects of the Spanish language.
The original Broadway production won five Tony Awards in 1966: Best Musical; Best Composer and Lyricist; Best Actor in a Musical (Richard Kiley); Best Scenic Design (Howard Bay); and Best Direction of a Musical (Albert Marre).
Dale Wasserman (1914-2008) wrote for theater, television and film for more than 50 years. Perhaps best known for the musical “Man of La Mancha,” he also wrote the stage play “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” based on Ken Kesey’s novel. Both shows continue to be produced nationally and internationally with an estimated 300 productions a year. The Hampton Theatre Company mounted a production of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” in 2010.
In 2003, Wasserman published a book, “The Impossible Musical,” recounting the “‘Man of La Mancha’ Story.”
The cast of “Man of La Mancha” features three HTC veterans: Matthew Conlon in the role of Cervantes/Quixote; Jessica Howard doubling as the Housekeeper and the Innkeeper’s Wife; and James M. Lotito Jr. as Carrasco. Taking their first roles with the Hampton Theatre Company are: Anthony Arpino (Innkeeper); Kyle Breitenbach (Muleteer); Andrew Gasparini (Barber/Muleteer); Rick Grossman (Sancho); Sean Jones (Muleteer); Joe Mankowski (Padre); Alyssa Marino (Fermina); Nora Moutrane (Antonia); and Elora Von Rosch (Aldonza).
Playing Sancho, Rick Grossman is reprising the role he played in the recent Broadway national tour of “Man of La Mancha.”
Hampton Theatre Company Vice President Edward A. Brennan and HTC Artistic Director Diana Marbury are the directors. Musical direction is by Amy Federico McGrath. Set design is by Sean Marbury; lighting design by Sebastian Paczynski; and costumes by Teresa Lebrun.
“Man of La Mancha” runs at the Quogue Community Hall from March 21 to April 7, with shows on Thursdays and Fridays at 7, Saturdays at 8 and Sundays at 2:30. An additional matinee performance will be offered during the final weekend of the production, on Saturday, April 6, prior to the regular 8 p.m. performance that evening.
The Hampton Theatre Company will again be offering special dinner and theater packages in collaboration with the Westhampton, Southampton, Hampton Bays and Quogue libraries. Offered in association with the Quogue Club at the Hallock House, a special lunch and theater package is available for the Saturday matinee on January 26. For information about all packages and available discounts, visit www.hamptontheatre.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional information about library dinner and theater packages is also available through the libraries.
To reserve tickets, visit www.hamptontheatre.org, or call OvationTix at 1-866-811-4111.
PTA Pancake Breakfast Saturday, March 23, at Firehouse
Come one, come all to the Quogue School PTA Pancake Breakfast at the Firehouse on Jessup Avenue on Saturday, March 23, from 8:30 to 11 a.m., with proceeds to benefit PTA events, academic activities and field trips.
There will be a basket auction and lots of fun crafts for kids, and volunteers will be proudly pouring Hampton Coffee at the event to help the grownups keep up.
Anyone who has been paying attention already knows what great activities and really wonderful field trips the PTA sponsors, with the lion’s share scheduled in the spring semester. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for kids, with children under 3 admitted free. For more information, call the school at 631-653-4285, or visit the PTA page of the Quogue School website, www.quogueschool.com, by clicking here.
Library Sponsors “Signs of Spring” Nature Walk at Wildlife Refuge
Also on Saturday, March 23, the Quogue Library is sponsoring a Nature Walk at the Quogue Wildlife Refuge from 1 to 2:30 p.m. All are invited to come out and view the first signs of Spring on a guided walk around the preserve at the QWR.
Walkers are advised to wear comfortable walking shoes and bring water. The sight of first buds and foliage of blossoms and fruits are practically guaranteed to chase away any lingering winter blues. The rain/snow date is April 13. Registration is a must; call the library at 631-653-4224.
“Zima!” Scavenger Hunt Rescheduled at Wildlife Refuge
Herewith a reminder that the immersive, theatrical, scavenger hunt known as “Zima!” (titled after the Polish word for “winter”) has been rescheduled to Sunday, March 24, at the Quogue Wildlife Refuge at 1 p.m. The imaginative and inventive hunt is an interactive winter journey combining mystery, poetry, theater and exploration created by the Neo-Political Cowgirls.
Held outdoors against the beautiful natural backdrop of the Quogue Wildlife Refuge, “Zima!” asks audience members to seek out the wild characters hidden on the path in search of clues to solve a riddle of mysterious origin.
Participants will set off between 1 and 2 p.m. in search of the hidden scenes in the forest; the goal is to stop, watch, listen and try to solve the riddle. Warm drinks and cookies will be served in the Nature Center after the adventure. Adults 18 and older, $25; kids, $15. Proceeds are shared between the Neo-Political Cowgirls and QWR. Call the QWR at 631-653-4771, or visit quoguewildliferefuge.org/zima/ to register.
Foreign Policy Association Looks at “Global Health Issues” March 30 at Firehouse
The Foreign Policy Association Great Decisions Discussion program, sponsored by the Quogue Library and moderated by Susan Perkins and David Rowe, will have a new venue, the firehouse on Jessup Avenue, and a new time, 4:30 p.m., for the Saturday, March 30, discussion of “Global Health Issues.” Good idea to register early by calling 631-653-4224.
At Quaquanantuck encourages readers to send in news and notes and photos of interest to Quogue residents, even if the items are being sent from winter addresses or other parts of the country. Friends and family who enjoy all things Quogue are encouraged to email AtQuaq@gmail.com and ask to be put on the mailing list.