Paper Mill Playhouse is following that star a little farther. The New Jersey theatre had been planning to run Man Of La Mancha through July 20, but due to popular demand, the show will run an extra week, to July 27.
One of America's best-loved musicals, La Mancha features a libretto by Dale Wasserman, music by Mitch Leigh and lyrics by Joe Darion.
Opera director Dorothy Danner co-directs and co-choreographs the show with Paper Mill artistic director Robert Johanson. "They've wanted to work together for a long time," says spokeperson Jim Byk (of the Richard Kornberg office), "and they kind of get to be a tag-team on this."
Man Of La Mancha takes as its cue Miguel Cervantes' 16th century picaresque novel, Don Quixote. In La Mancha, Cervantes has been imprisoned and defends his precious manuscript by beguiling his fellow inmates with tales of a senile knight and his chivalrous derring-do.
Though Ron Raines had previously been announced as Cervantes/Quixote, the role is now being played by Philip Hernandez (Les Miserables, Kiss Of The Spider Woman). Judy McLane, who played Eva Peron in Paper Mill's Evita, plays Aldonza; Michael J. Farina appears as Quixote's loyal companion, Sancho Panza. Tom Hewitt, who played Rochester in Paper Mill's Jane Eyre, will be Dr. Carrasco. Also in the cast are Pip Abrigio, Reyna Salsi Alcali, Cheryl Allison, Ravil Atlas, Ronald L. Brown, Peter Davenport, Michelle Dawson, Enrique Cruz Dejesus, Erick Devine, Malcolm Devine, Susan Gazzola, Ileane Gudell, Seth Off, Veryl Emory Jones, K.C. Masters, Pedro Porro, Cara Oestretcher Smagula, Jon Stewart, William Theisen, Billy Vitelli and Brian Thomas Williams. Songs in Man Of La Mancha include "The Impossible Dream," "Dulcinea," and "I, Don Quixote."
For tickets ($31-$46, $10 student rush) and information on Man Of La Mancha at Millburn, NJ's Paper Mill Playhouse, call (201) 376-4343.
--By David Lefkowitz