Show Photographs

27th Festival Season - 2005

Man of La Mancha

By: Mitch Leigh
Libretto by: Joe Darion and Dale Wasserman
Premiere: ANTA Washington Square Theatre, New York, November 22, 1965

Based on The Adventures of Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes, Man of La Mancha is a comic tragedy of a man's struggle to better both himself and the world in which he lives. When Cervantes started writing, he intended a satirical burlesque of the then-fashionable novels of chivalry. Gradually the author's sympathies changed and the novel developed into a deeper, broader, and more compassionate account of the adventures of an eccentric idealist in a hostile, greedy, and cynical world, leading the reader to conclude that if Don Quixote is a fool, it is because the world does not live up to his ideals. This feeling is perfectly reflected in this beautiful musical version of the story. As with all the best allegorical tales, the oppressive mood of the fight against eternal evil is heightened by the sometimes comic, sometimes dramatic attempts of the hero to right all the wrongs of the world. Although his efforts sometimes seem puny and pathetic, the audience is left in no doubt as to the purity of intent that he instills into his self-imposed crusade. At times inspiring and thought-provoking, the story is both very entertaining and very moving, and will warm the heart of everyone whose spirit was ever raised by the prospect of a victory by the underdog against all odds.

In a season that included Sweet Charity and Mame, Man of La Mancha virtually swept the board at the year's Tony Awards, taking prizes for best musical, score and libretto, scenic design, direction, and for Richard Kiley's thrilling, rich-voiced performance in its title role. By the time the show closed in 1971 after 2328 performances, Man of La Mancha had passed all but Fiddler on The Roof, Hello, Dolly!, and My Fair Lady in Broadway musical longevity and, like those three exceptional pieces, spread itself triumphantly to all corners of the globe. A film version was produced by United Artists in 1972 with Peter O'Toole (Don Quixote), James Coco (Sancho Panza), and Sophia Loren (Aldonza).

Only one song from Man of La Mancha became a popular hit outside the show: "The Impossible dream." But this is one of the most extraordinary scores in the history of musical theater. From the stirring title tune (also known as "I, Don Quixote") to the bitter and biting "Aldonza," the music has the power to excite and the lyrics have an edge that cuts to the heart. There is comic pomp in "Golden helmet of Mambrino," witty satire in "I'm only thinking of him," beguiling romanticism in "Dulcinea" and that's not even the half of it.

(Review of Barbara and Scott Siegel, New York, December, 2002)

Production Team
Conductor J. Lynn Thompson
Stage Director Steven Daigle
Choreographer Carol Hageman
Set Designer Kirk Domer
Costume Designer Charlene Gross
Lighting Designer Shannon Schweitzer
Captain of the Inquisition Michael Hix
Miguel de Cervantes Boyd Mackus
Gregory Brookes
Manservant, Sancho Panza Anthony Maida
Tyler Nelson
Roles Taked by Prisoners:
Governor (Innkeeper) James Mismas
Duke (Dr. Carrasco) Patrick Howle
Aldonza (Dulcinea) Julie Wright
Valerie Hart Nelson
Maria, Innkeeper's wife Claire Maloney
Fermina, a serving girl and Moorish dancer Sarah Walker
Antonia, Alonso's niece Shannon Langman
Housekeeper, for Alonso Elizabeth Mitchell
Pedro John Buffett
Jose Brian Tanner
Tenorio Vernon Di Carlo
Paco Kevin Blickfeldt
Juan Jonathan Michie
Anselmo Mark Snyder
Barber James Barbato
Padre Zachary Wilder
Women of the Ensemble: Shannon Langman, Claire Maloney, Elizabeth Mitchell, Valerie Hart Nelson, Sarah Walker, Julie Wright
Men of the Ensemble: James Barbato, Kevin Blickfeldt, Gregory Brookes, John Buffett, Vernon Di Carlo, Michael Hix, Patrick Howle, Boyd Mackus, Anthony Maida, Jonathan Michie, James Mismas, Tyler Nelson, Mark Snyder, Brian Tanner, Zachary Wilder