‘Don Quixote’ takes aim at sculpture garden _lowres

Photo by Jeremy Blum -- The NOLA Project opens 'Don Quixote' Wednesday in the Besthoff Sculpture Garden at New Orleans Museum of Art in City Park. From left are Leslie Claverie, Ian Hoch, Mike Spara (kneeling), AshleyRose Bailey and Joshua Sienkiewicz. The production runs through May 22.

The backdrop will be starlight when the NOLA Project stages a world premiere of “Don Quixote,” opening Wednesday at the New Orleans Museum of Art’s Besthoff Sculpture Garden.

Pete McElligott, a member of the local acting troupe, has fashioned a script based on Miguel de Cervantes’ story of the idealistic knight and his practical companion, which is celebrating four centuries. The show will run at 7 p.m. through May 22.

The comedy follows the hapless and hilarious adventures of Quixote as he encounters bandits, romance and even elementary school math. His idealistic and joyful approach to life is in constant conflict with the more practical and safe approach of his faithful travel mate, Sancho Panza.

The audience gleans from the adventures and tales of the Spanish knight that life is often richer when dreams are followed, even if it is somewhat safer when practicality is the norm.

Jessica Podewell directs the production, with Ian Hoch in the title role and Mike Spara as Sancho Panza.

Also appearing in the performance are AshleyRose Bailey, Joshua Sienkiewicz, Natalie Boyd, Janie Heck, Leslie Claverie, Becca Chapman, Alex Smith, Alex Martinez Wallace and, as the band, Alec Barnes Joshua Smith and Ann Glaviano.

McElligott is a founding member of the NOLA Project, has appeared in several productions and also has penned “Adventures in Wonderland.”

“Four hundred years following the original publication of ‘Don Quixote,’ I am thrilled for our audiences to be able to experience this classic and lovable literary hero in a brand new way,” NOLA Project artistic director A.J. Allegra says. “Pete’s script is both hilarious and touching and a perfect addition to the growing canon of literary classics The NOLA Project has adapted for NOMA’s beautiful Besthoff Sculpture Garden.”

The al fresco theatrical productions of the NOLA Project have been hugely successful, drawing crowds to the sculpture garden for live shows. The project mounted “Robin Hood: Theif, Brigand” last year in the museum’s garden.

Audiences are encouraged to bring chairs or blankets for seating. Outside food and beverages are not permitted, but food trucks and drinks will be available for purchase. Productions may be canceled in the event of inclement weather, with ticket holders being notified no later than 5 p.m. to reschedule or receive a refund.

Tickets are $24, $18 for Backstage Pass holders, NOMA members and students. Children under 6 will not be admitted.

For information, call (504) 302-9117 or nolaproject.com.