The biggest stars of Taproot's production are the designers: Mark Lund (scene and sound), Sarah Burch Gordon (costumes), and Andrew Duff (lighting). Together they transport us into the 16th-century prison where Don Quixote (Jeff Berryman) enlists fellow inmates to assist him in creating his fantastical play-within-a-play. The prison wall is appropriately intimidating and the clothing appropriately drab, setting up a hopeless environment in which the cast will remain for the duration of the show. But the arrival of Don Quixote puts an ironic twist on the prison: one flicker of the lights and suddenly he's beyond the walls, surrounded by, and being seduced by, gypsies. Man of La Mancha contains plenty of memorable musical numbers, which partly explains its long-running success; the musical has been revived four times on Broadway since its original 1965 production. Taproot's cast performs these songs adequately, if not always stunningly. The exception is Don Darryl Rivera, who brings wonderful humor to Sancho, Quixote's squire, and whose musical delivery never fails to energize the audience. Although Berryman doesn't have the vocal strength that we might expect from a Don Quixote, his comic timing is perfect, making for a very funny production. BRENT ARONOWITZ Extended through Aug. 21.
Wednesdays, Thursdays, 7:30 p.m.; Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 2 & 8 p.m. Starts: July 7. Continues through Aug. 21, 2010