Man of La Mancha ends its special homecoming run July 1 at Goodspeed Opera House, the theatre where the musical premiered in 1965 before going on to international glory.
The Gerald Gutierrez-directed revival opened April 28 at Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, CT, with Shawn Elliott in the title role. Bill Nolte, part of the ensemble, later stepped into the role when Elliott left for a movie job.
The now-classic Cervantes-based musical about Don Quixote and his "Impossible Dream" of righting wrongs and honoring women won the Best Musical Tony Award, as well as a Tony for Best Composer and Lyricist. Mitch Leigh wrote the tunes and Joe Darion the lyrics. Dale Wasserman penned the book, drawing on an earlier teleplay of his called "I, Don Quixote."
Previews for the Goodspeed revival of Man of La Mancha began April 7. Goodspeed is the well-known nonprofit house committed to preserving and reviving past musicals and nurturing new works. *
Elliott (City of Angels, Marie Christine) opened as Cervantes/Don Quixote in the revival of the show that gave the world the anthemic "The Impossible Dream," and the romantic "Dulcinea" and "To Each His Dulcinea." The staging is punctuated with Castillian pronunciations.
The job was something of a homecoming for actor Elliott, who met his wife, actress Donna Murphy, at Goodspeed when they were both in the 1980 musical, Zapata. Nolte, who replaced Elliott, was originally part of the production's ensemble.
Gutierrez is probably best known for bringing new light to The Heiress, A Delicate Balance and The Most Happy Fella on Broadway. Choreography for La Mancha is by Spanish choreographer Ramon Oller.
Stephen Mo Hanan (Cats, Jolson and Co.) is Sancho, Nancy Ticotin (Jerome Robbins' Broadway) is Aldonza/Dulcinea. The cast also includes Brent Black as Dr. Carrasco, Michelle Carr as Antonia, Michael Cone as The Barber, Joseph Dellger as The Padre, Don Mayo as The Innkeeper, Kristin Zbornik (Forbidden Broadway Cleans Up Its Act, original cast) as The Housekeeper. The cast also includes Lori Alexander, Deborah Crocker, William Thomas Evans, Cristin J. Hubbard, Ryan Migge, Shaun R. Parry, Amy Jo Phillips, David Rosales and Christopher Snow.
La Mancha is the first show in Goodspeed's 2000 season. Coming up are George M! (July 7-Oct. 7) and Cole Porter's Red, Hot and Blue! (Oct. 13-Dec. 31).
Tickets are $20-$42. Goodspeed is on Route 82 in East Haddam, CT. Call (860) 873-8668 for information.
-- By Kenneth Jones