Amanda Dehnert, the rising American director lauded for reinventing musicals, such as last season's CPH hit, My Fair Lady, stages the 1965 Cervantes-inspired show by Dale Wasserman, Mitch Leigh and Joe Darion. Dehnert was recently announced as director of a re-imagined Cabaret for the Stratford Festival in Canada in 2008.
La Mancha performances will play CPH's Drury Theatre. The smash hit musical gave the world "The Impossible Dream." It tells the dual story of a jailed Cervantes presenting his new work ("Don Quixote") in a prison; the manuscript comes to life in the squalid cell, performed by prisoners in the time of the Spanish Inquisition. The musical will be presented without an intermission.
"Producing Man of La Mancha is another step in my quest to present classic American musicals in innovative ways," stated Michael Bloom, Cleveland Play House artistic director. "And presenting it in the intimate Drury Theatre will allow the director to bring the story that much closer to our audiences."
This is the first time Cleveland Play House has tackled Man of La Mancha.
Philip Hernández has played both Jean Valjean and Inspector Javert in Les Misèrables on Broadway. He made his Broadway debut in the original cast of Kiss of the Spider Woman. He previously played Don Quixote in a Paper Mill Playhouse revival of Man of La Mancha. In 2002, Hernández released a Latin jazz CD entitled "The Beat of My Heart." Rachael Warren will play the role of Aldonza. Last year, Warren starred in the Play House's My Fair Lady as Eliza Doolittle.
The troupe also includes Heidi Dean (Maria, Fermina), Brandon Ellis (Anselmo), Josh Foldy (Pedro), Jerome Lucas Harmann (Governor, Innkeeper), Elizabeth Inghram (Antonia), Elizabeth Inghram (Antonia), Jamie Laverdiere (Sancho), Daniel C. Levine (Housekeeper), Chris McBurney (Padre), Will Pailen (The Barber) and Patrick Porter (Dr. Carrasco).
Dehnert is resident director with the Trinity Repertory Company, and is an assistant professor at Northwestern University, where she teaches musical theatre. She most recently directed the new musical Asphalt Beach (music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa, book by T.C. Smith and Peter Spears) for the American Musical Theatre Project at Northwestern University, and The Fantasticks for Trinity Rep. Prior to that, she directed My Fair Lady for Actors Theatre of Louisville and The Cleveland Play House. Dehnert has held various positions with Trinity Repertory since 1996, including serving as the acting artistic director for the 2005-06 season, in which she directed The Mystery of Edwin Drood, A Christmas Carol and Cyrano de Bergerac. She is also a composer and musical director and has written scores and original songs for many of her directing projects.
The creative team includes Bill Corcoran (musical director), Ron Wilson (fight/movement choreographer), Kris Stone (scenic designer), Lap Chi Chu (lighting designer), James C. Swonger (resident sound designer), John Godbout (stage manager).
For more information, visit www.clevelandplayhouse.org.