The Tony-winning 1965 musical Man of La Mancha is getting a fresh interpretation in Toronto. Holiday Inn director and co-writer Gordon Greenberg has assembled an all-female cast for his new workshop staging that resets the work in a women’s prison.
The production already makes use of a prison framing device, in which the lead character of Cervantes tells the story of Don Quixote. In this version, Tony nominee Louise Pitre (Mamma Mia!, Les Misérables) is a woman acting out the Quixote story to save her life. She’ll sing the rousing anthem “The Impossible Dream.”
Mirvish Productions is presenting the workshop that culminates in a November 17 industry performance. Mark Camillieri is music director.
In addition to Pitre as Cervantes, the ensemble cast includes Corinne Koslo, Jewelle Blackman, Monique Lund, Arlene Duncan, Elena Juatco, Nicky Lawrence, Theresa Tova, Katie Beetham, Eliza Jane Scott, and Deborah Overes.
“The prison setting of Man of La Mancha is central to its richness and resonance,” Greenberg told Playbill.com. “It underscores the idea that this story is being constructed in the moment. Freedom, for them, comes through narrative and music - and a belief in the possibility of a better world. Setting the show in an all-female prison keeps this framing idea alive as the women assume various roles (male and female) in the story. It’s a way to heighten theatricality and keep the prison present throughout the show. And, in a male-dominated world, it throws the female roles into relief. As we talk more and more about the nature of gender in all realms of public and private life, it's an engaging way to view this robust and transcendent story.”
(Updated November 17, 2016)