A Noise Within (ANW), the acclaimed classical repertory theatre presents critical and audience favorite “Man of La Mancha” by Dale Wasserman, music by Mitch Leigh and lyrics by Joe Darion, – original production staged by Albert Marre, originally produced by Albert W. Selden and Hal James – and based on Cervantes’ “Don Quixote.” ANW Artistic Director Julia Rodriguez-Elliott directs “La Mancha,” with performances starting Aug. 16 and running through Sept. 9.
With sold-out houses, standing ovations, and extensions added, “Man of La Mancha” earned A Noise Within’s 25th anniversary season a host of accolades and inspired renewed faith in the impossible dream. Chosen as a 2017 Critic’s Choice by the LA Times, the production’s previous stagings won rave reviews from critics whose praise include “a stunning, modernistic, most entertaining take…Run, don’t walk to see this” (Broadway World); “Uplifting…one of the best shows in town” (Hollywood Progressive); “An extraordinary piece of theater that is beyond compare” (Tin Pan LA); and “edgy, contemporary rethinking…stunningly staged and strikingly redesigned” (StageSceneLA).
“Though many often associate ‘Man of La Mancha’ with elaborate set pieces and fanciful costumes, its earliest stagings were sparse, encompassing the spirit of a rag-tag band of prisoners putting on a play with found objects. The play celebrates the power of make believe, and I want to go back to those roots. This production is fueled by an almost childlike sense of ‘play’ – where an ordinary object can seamlessly become a horse simply because we endow it as such.
“My goal is to evoke that magical, improvisational quality we have as children but is often lost as adults. The modern-day setting – a bleak, destitute ‘holding tank’ for prisoners – is intentional. Reminiscent of third-world prisons and military detention centers, and populated with empathetic characters, I want this ‘La Mancha’ to feel personal to our audiences. The stakes are real, and I want the transformation from hardened criminals to true believers to be palatable to our audiences.
“This is a real-world fairy tale: despite the dire circumstances, through the power of art, these prisoners have the ability to transform their claustrophobic existence into the vastness of Cervantes vision.”
Rodriguez-Elliott points out that ANW’s state-of-the-art theatrical space – 283-seat house with a thrust stage – is the perfect playground on which to explore the epic and intimate nature of these two plays.
“La Mancha is about the power of imagination – and how important it is onstage and in our own lives. It’s a play that truly represents the transformative power of the theatre,” says Rodriguez-Elliott.
Tickets for “Man of La Mancha” starting at $25 are available online at anoisewithin.org and by phone by calling (626) 356-3121.