Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and Ernie Sabella will be Aldonza and Sancho in the new production of Man of La Mancha starring Brian Stokes Mitchell, due at the Martin Beck Theatre this fall. The show is to begin rehearsals in August and tryout at Washington's National Theatre, Oct. 8-Nov. 10, before beginning previews on Broadway Nov. 19. The newly-announced official opening date is Dec. 5.
Mastrantonio, who previously was reported to be joining the cast of the Broadway revival of Nine, was last seen on the New York stage a decade ago in a Central Park mounting of Twelfth Night. She played Viola. Her Broadway credits include West Side Story, Copperfield, Oh, Brother, The Human Comedy and The Marriage of Figaro.
Sabella made his name playing the hoarse-voiced Harry the Horse opposite Nathan Lane's Nathan Detroit in Broadway's Guys and Dolls and has since starred with Lane in several other vehicles, including A Funny Thing Happened... on Broadway, "Encore! Encore!" on television and "The Lion King" on the big screen.
David Stone, Jon B. Platt, John Reid, Sandy Gallin/Susan Gallin & USA Ostar Theatricals will produce. The design team includes sets and costumes by Paul Brown; lighting design by Paul Gallo; and sound design by Tony Meola. Mitchell was recently seen on Broadway in King Hedley II, and, before that, in Kiss Me, Kate, for which he won a Tony. He also starred in Ragtime. Audra McDonald was offered the role of Dulcinea, but passed due to a commitment to a new television series.
Man of La Mancha, from 1965, brought the world "The Impossible Dream," the durable and widely-known inspirational ballad. The song explained the philosophy of the impoverished, addled Spaniard, Don Quixote, who believed himself to be a knight who would "right the unrightable wrong" and "reach the unreachable star," to say nothing of being "willing to march into hell for a heavenly cause."
The musical, which won a Tony for Best Musical in 1965, was drawn from Miguel Cervantes' 17th century novel, "Don Quixote," as distilled through a script by Dale Wasserman. The music is by Mitch Leigh, with lyrics by Joe Darion, who died last year. Leigh wrote several songs for the show with the poet W.H. Auden, but they disagreed about aspects of the project, so Darion was enlisted. The show began life at the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, CT, and had a smash success for 2,328 performances on Broadway.