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Concert version of ‘Man of La Mancha’ to be presented Feb. 7
Saturday, December 05, 2015

Concert version of ‘Man of La Mancha’ to be presented Feb. 7

The cast of the Fredonia production of “Man of La Mancha” in concert includes, from left, Victoria Dieck as Aldonza, Jon Christiano as Quixote and Trevor Alberts-Pearson as Sancho.

It will be a “Super Bowl” for the arts as Musical Theatre students team up with the Western New York Chamber Orchestra for a concert version of the hit Broadway musical “Man of La Mancha.”

The special event, which is a collaborative project of WNYCO and the Department of Theatre and Dance, is planned for Sunday, Feb. 7 at 2 p.m. in King Concert Hall.

“Man of La Mancha” is one of the most enduring works of musical theatre. The original 1965 Broadway production won five Tony awards, including Best Musical, and ran for 2,328 performances. The musical has been revived four times on Broadway.

“This famous retelling of Cervantes’ ‘Don Quixote’ is an audience favorite for both its many famous melodies and its inspirational depth,” said WNYCO Executive Director Julie Newell, who is the producer. “I was thrilled when the opportunity to present this musical came to the table for WNYCO.”

Newell said “Man of La Mancha” continues to “entertain audiences with the Spanish influence and flair so evident in the musical score with the addition of two guitars to the orchestra personnel and the emphasis on brass. The comedic writing is charming and witty.”

With a book by Dale Wasserman, lyrics by Joe Darion and music by Mitch Leigh, “Man of La Mancha” was adapted from Wasserman’s non-musical 1959 teleplay “I, Don Quixote.” The teleplay itself was inspired by Miguel de Cervantes’ masterpiece “Don Quixote,” which tells the story of the “mad” knight, Don Quixote.

The story finds Miguel de Cervantes, an “aging utter failure” of a playwright, poet and tax collector, thrown into a dungeon in Seville to await trial by the Spanish Inquisition for an offense against the Church. There he is dragged before a kangaroo court of his fellow prisoners, who plan to confiscate his few possessions — including the uncompleted manuscript of a novel, “Don Quixote.”

“The musical is not afraid to maintain the depth of feeling and darkness of human struggle,” Newell said. “We take the same journey alongside Quixote and Sancho and we are ourselves emboldened by their journey to find true love and true honor. The power of music to convey a depth of feeling and spirit in ways beyond words is palpable for me when I see this musical.”

Popular numbers from the musical include “The Impossible Dream,” “Dulcinea” and “I’m Only Thinking of Him.”

“For me, the power of this musical resides in the masterful way in which the composer maintained the importance of the original novel, first published in 1605 and considered in varying circles to be the first great European novel and the first work of modern literature,” Newell said.

As the concert version, the production features all the musical numbers from “Man of La Mancha” in running order with the connecting dialogue that tells the story. However, there will be no scenery or props. In addition, the orchestra will be right on the stage, rather than in the orchestra pit.

Tickets are available through the Fredonia Ticket Office in the Williams Center, by phone at 673-3501 and online at fredonia.edu/tickets.


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