The Loves
and Legends
Don Juan

May 2014

Off The Wall Theatre wound up its most successful season yet with a comedy of epic proportions. Dale Gutzman took snippets and incidents from over a dozen versions of the legends of Don Juan and put them together in  an intelligent, witty, romantic, and sometimes naughty stage presentation, filled with music, dance, duels, and Deviltry.   The name Giovanni is taken of course from the most famous opera ever written, "Don Giovanni" by Mozart and Da Ponte.  Don Juan's faithful servant Leporello is our guide through the many misadventures and "conquests" of this sixteenth century rake,  obsessed with sex. Giovanni's little black book (the original) contains the names of thousands of women (and men) of all ages whom  he has sexually conquered. The play, like the opera, mostly concerns itself with three women who have been abused by him, and  their attempts to get revenge on Giovanni.   In Off The Wall Theatre's sparkling production, the three women were Donna Anna: a wealthy betrothed society woman, played  by the effervescent Alicia Rice; Zerlina, a sweet innocent village girl and bride to be, played by the delightful Christina Mata; and  Donna Elivira, whom Don Juan seduces and marries in a convent, played by the multi-talented  Alexandra Bonesho. Along the way, the romantic rake also dabbles with Masetto, a fresh-faced country boy played by Max Williamson, kills the Commendatore, played by Paul Pfannenstiel, and insults the integrity of straight-laced Don Ottavio played by Lawrence Lukasavage.  The long suffering servant was the perfect comedic role for one of Milwaukee's finest talents, David Flores. Michelle Waide played the Mother Superior of the convent who harbors secrets of her own.  And Robert Preston, and Mark Ninneman played brothers who have sworn to kill Don Giovanni for his sins.   Added to the mix, Carole Herbstreit-Kalinyen as a wise old village woman who has a way with Spanish Songs,  Sandy Lewis and Barbara Weber as nuns, and Barbara Zaferos as a village girl who wants the Don's attentions,  and we had an evening of theater the likes of which has never seen before.  And Giovanni (Don Juan to the Spanish) was played by Jeremy C. Welter, in the part he was born to play!  Set and lighting was by David Roper, Nathan Danzer, and Randy White

Director and playwright Dale Gutzman created a cornucopia of  comedy, romance and music, turning the intimate Off The Wall Theatre space into a bullring/bedroom.  Each time Don Juan added another name to his 'book," the observing nuns shout, "OLE!" Broken hearts and a few broken heads were scattered everywhere. 

Did Giovanni's sins catch up with him?  Did honor and morality prevail? And how did our boy Giovanni get to be such a rotten louse in the first place? The play answered these questions with some life-sessions included at no extra charge!