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San Marcos High Dreams Up a Lively ‘Man of La Mancha’

Spring musical makes debut with shows Thursday and Friday, and again May 6-9

When Dale Wasserman first wrote Man of La Mancha it was for a television production called I Don Quixote, which aired in 1959. The Man of La Mancha stage play followed in 1966 and was an immediate success on Broadway. With hit songs like “The Impossible Dream,” “Dulcinea” and “Knight of the Woeful Countenance,” they are immediately familiar to older audiences and brand new for our current generation.

Man of La Mancha was originally written to play without intermission and to place the orchestra behind the action of the stage. Both were choices at the time that went against theatrical conventions and electrified audiences. San Marcos High’s production tries to capture that original convention-breaking excitement as the cast rehearses for Thursday’s opening night. Man of La Mancha will play at 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday and May 6-9 in the school’s auditorium, 4750 Hollister Ave.

Man of La Mancha is a fictional story of the imprisonment of author Miguel de Cervantes, who finds that he must defend himself against the abusive Spanish Inquisition and also defend his most prized possession against his fellow prisoners. Cervantes’ most prized possession is his yet unfinished manuscript of his great novel, Don Quixote. He is put on trial by the prisoners, who threaten to burn the manuscript if he is found guilty. In a clever turn of events, Cervantes convinces the prisoners to hear his defense in the form of a charade, an entertainment that enacts through improvisation the story of the beleaguered knight in the manuscript, Don Quixote de La Mancha.

So, in actuality, what we have in Man of La Mancha is a play within a musical of the adventures of Don Quixote. It is a wonderfully challenging story wherein the prisoners take part in the improvisation, guided by Cervantes and his sidekick, Sancho Panza. Wasserman masterfully weaves this story within the context of the prison system in Spain in the late 16th century.

The musical is under the direction of David Holmes with Carolyn Teraoka-Brady as vocal director and Daniel Garske as conductor. Sets and lighting design is by Theodore Michael Dolas, Marian Azdril designs costumes, and choreography is by Jessica Haro.

Don’t miss this extraordinary production that is full of hope for our world against an out-of-control system of injustice and persecution.

Tickets are $10 for general admission, $8 for students and seniors. To purchase tickets, call 805.967.4581 x355. Click here for more information on the San Marcos High theater department.

David Holmes is the theater teacher for the San Marcos High Performing Arts Department.

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