Don Quixote gets a sex change

Later this month (10/22, to be exact — see sidebar) I’m reviewing Man of La Mancha at Theo Ubique.

Don Quixote, along with Sweeney Todd, Harold Hill and Billy Bigelow, is one of those classic leading man roles.

Broadway baritone Richard Kiley originated the role on Broadway in 1965, and it was later revived with Brian Stokes Mitchell playing the dual roles of Cervantes/Don Quixote.

I was wondering how Theo Ubique, a dusty cafe space just a few yards from the busy Red Line in Rogers Park, would retool this show — especially considering it will directly follow Theatre at the Center‘s highly acclaimed production of the popular musical.

And what they’ve done is simple: Cast a woman in the lead.

I’m intrigued.

Danielle Brothers
Danielle Brothers

Danielle Brothers, a regular player at Theo Ubique, will dream the impossible dream as Cervantes/Quixote. I’ve seen the belty Brothers in Ubique’s Side by Side by Sondheim (where she stopped the show with her bluesy “I’m Still Here”), and as Liliane La Fleur in Porchlight Music Theatre’s Nine.

She’s a strong performer with a hugely commanding presence. I’ve described her in the past as a belting Kathleen Turner (her singing voice has the same smoky timbre as Turner’s.)

However, is it enough to carry a show in a role created and defined by big, robust baritones? We shall see!

6 thoughts on “Don Quixote gets a sex change

  1. I’m certainly intrigued. Never would have thought of this as a gender-bending role, but you never know. It just might work.

    Curious to know whether you had a chance to see Lois Smith in her gender-bending role in THE TEMPEST earlier this year? She certainly made the concept work well.

    1. Hi, SOB!

      I didn’t catch Smith in The Tempest, sadly. How was she?

      Another recent gender-bendy casting coupe was the wonderful Rebecca Finnegan as the MC in Porchlight’s “Cabaret” a few years ago. I didn’t see that production, but I hear she was great.

      (Side Note: Finnegan’s currently playing Frau Schneider in Drury Lane’s production of “Cabaret.”)

  2. Danielle Brothers was also positively hilarious in Theo Ubique’s production of “Flora the Red Menace” as the communist leader lady – I think Charlotte is the characters name? It sounds like if anyone can do this, it’d be her!

    1. Linda is great in that song, isn’t she? And when I went to an adult figure skating competition, many women used this number for their routines. But, to me, Linda’s all style and no soul. A voice on a stick, if you will.

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