Man of La Mancha

Man of La Mancha is a musical with a book by Dale Wasserman, lyrics by Joe Darion and music by Mitch Leigh. It is adapted from Wasserman’s non-musical 1959 teleplay I, Don Quixote, which was in turn inspired by Miguel de Cervantes’s seventeenth century masterpiece Don Quixote. It tells the story of the “mad” knight, Don Quixote, as a play within a play, performed by Cervantes and his fellow prisoners as he awaits a hearing with the Spanish Inquisition.

The original 1965 Broadway production ran for 2,328 performances and won five Tony Awards, and the musical has been revived numerous times, becoming one of the most enduring works of musical theatre. The song, “The Impossible Dream”, became a standard, and the musical is a popular choice for community theatre companies.

Cast & Creative

Cast List

Character Actor
Don Quixote Bryan Cardus
Sancho Panza Andy Clarke
Aldonza / Dulcinea Sue Chaperlin
Govenor Charles Halford
Padre Carl Smith
Doctor Edz Barrett
Antonia Claire Smith
Housekeeper Susan M Sworn
Innkeeper Chris Morris
Maria Janet Simpson
Pedro Loz Keal
Barber Jonathan Warriss-Simmons
Captain of the Guard Tony Makepeace
Gaoler Ian Nethersell
Muleteers / ensemble Ian Bennett
Muleteers / ensemble Guy Chaperlin
Muleteers / ensemble Veronica Maidment
Muleteers / ensemble Paul Murphy
Muleteers / ensemble Alan O’Shea
Muleteers / ensemble Tim Parish
Muleteers / ensemble Dieter Thomas
Dancers / ensemble Sylvie Barlow
Dancers / ensemble Veronica Maidment
Dancers / ensemble Cathy Makepeace
Dancers / ensemble Juliet Manners
Dancers / ensemble Helen Shore
Dancers / ensemble Gita Singham
Dancers / ensemble Karen Swift
Actor / singer ensemble Bridgette Conway
Actor / singer ensemble Katie Gagen
Actor / singer ensemble Cherry Gulati-Straesser
Actor / singer ensemble Caroline Hayes
Actor / singer ensemble Fiona Hedger-Gourlay
Actor / singer ensemble Kerry Sampson
Actor / singer ensemble Lynne Shirley
Actor / singer ensemble Lottie Walker
Actor / singer ensemble Sian Walters
Inquisition Guards Drew Barnes
Inquisition Guards Jonathan Blane
Inquisition Guards Will Brooks
Inquisition Guards Tim Hedger
Inquisition Guards Jonathan Warriss-Simmons

Creative Team

Role Name
Director Wesley Henderson Roe
Musical Director Shaun Critten
Choreographer Melanie Edwards
Production Manager Claire Williams
Production Manager Eric Williams
Assistant Director Tony Makepeace
Assistant Director Lizzy Ross
Stage Manager Jane Bean
Stage Crew Drew Barnes
Stage Crew Ian Nethersell
Props Veronica Martin
Props Helen Smith
Costume coordinator Wendy Godwin
Costume assistant Zoe Harvey Lee
Lighting Design Rob Arundel
Sound Design & operation David Gates
Sound Design & operation Ross Gates
Wigs and make-up Louise Turnbull
Wigs and make-up Dieter Thomas
Dance captain Edz Barrett
Front of House Clare Henderson-Roe
Set design Wesley Henderson Roe

Reviews & Awards

Review

Performed for the first few minutes at least, and rather surprisingly following such a wild and wet weekend, beneath both the sun and the moon, the setting was well nigh perfect on Bank Holiday Monday for the BROS Theatre Company’s production of Man of La Mancha which revolves around the two extremes of reality and pretence. A Broadway musical of the 1960s, written by Dale Wasserman, based on his TV play I, Don Quixote and adapted from the novel by the Spanish author and dramatist Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, with lyrics by Joe Darion and music by Mitch Leigh, its plot is almost as surprising as the weather. A play within the play, its pervading fear of the Inquisition, its pursuit of The Impossible Dream and man’s spiritual need for illusion, its essential sadness and its attempts to answer the imponderable – why does one do the things that one does? A million miles from The Sound of Music it needs careful handling to make it work and, fortunately, it gets just that from director Wesley Henderson Roe who, with the assistance of musical director Shaun Critten and choreographer Melanie Edwards, bravely shifts its balance from being solely about the Knight of the Woeful Countenance and his sidekick Sancho Panza to being about all of their fellow prisoners. To achieve this he comes up with a group of people, each of whom, in turn, is a million miles away from the traditional member of the chorus. While they ensure that there is a great deal happening on stage, so many stories being told, they are so good at it that they never detract from the main action but enhance it. While Bryan Cardus as the gentle, dreaming Knight Errant and eponymous, Man of La Mancha, Andy Clarke as his bugle-playing, devoted Sancho ‘I Like Him’ Panza, Sue Astbury as his spirited, ‘What Does he Want of me?’, dream girl Dulcinea, Carl Smith as the ‘To Each His Dulcinea’ and psalm singing Padre, Jonathan Simmons as the prison’s singing barber, and Edz Barrett as the sparkling, not to say dazzling, Knight of the Mirrors, are all pleasing. They are evenly matched by the medley of muleteers, ably led by Loz Keal, Moorish singers and dancers, publicans, prostitutes and prisoners, who accompany them on their Iberian flavoured and mad adventures. Ensemble playing at its very best, rarely has a supporting cast played such a cohesive, important and impressive role. As the optimistic Don Quixote would have it – come one, come all, indeed!

Frank Ruhrmand – The Cornishman