Last night I was privileged to attend “The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote, Words and Music from the time of Cervantes” at USC’s Bovard Auditorium through the university’s “Visions and Voices” program.
The concept of the program was fascinating–a theatrical reading of the adapted novel, accompanied by Spanish guitar music from around the 17th century, i.e. a selection of pieces that Cervantes could have heard during his lifetime. The Grammy award-winning Los Angeles Guitar Quartet (John Dearman, Matthew Greif, William Kanengiser, and Scott Tennant) selected and brilliantly performed diverse classics of Spanish guitar. This was a multimedia presentation, complete with artwork depicting scenes from the story, projected onto a large screen. The effect was like the classiest imaginable reading of a bedtime story for grownups.
Comic genius Phil Proctor read the story, embodying over a dozen characters throughout the course of the show. Phil has won many awards, including 3 Grammy’s as a member of the Firesign Theatre, a four-man satirical comedy group often referred to as “America’s Monty Python,” or the “Beatles of Comedy.” In this reading of “Don Quixote,” Phil gave the characters unique voices, mannerisms and attitudes. A veteran actor, Phil is no stranger to voice work–he’s won 3 daytime Emmy’s for the role of Howard in “Rugrats,” and was the voice of seahorse Bob in Pixar’s “Finding Nemo,” Charlie in “Monsters, Inc.,” and the drunken French monkey in Eddie Murphy’s “Dr. Dolittle” series.
At the end of the show, the Phil and the LA Guitar Quartet brought down the house with a song parody of “To Dream the Impossible Dream” (“To Sing this Impossible Song.”) It was the perfect finale for a special evening.
–Carolyn Fox, host of the syndicated, broadcast radio show, “Carolyn Fox’s Hollywood Spotlight.”