This classic musical Man of La Mancha, plays in the Marian Theatre July 8 & 11, 2015, then under the unreachable stars in the Solvang Festival Theater July 17 – August 16.

In this play within a play, we are presented with Miguel de Cervantes who has just been imprisoned during the Spanish Inquisition. In the dungeon, the other prisoners hold a mock trial and Cervantes must defend himself to save a precious manuscript.

He tells the court a fantastic story of an aging nobleman, and while doing so, he transforms himself into knight-errant Don Quixote de la Mancha. Don Quixote duels windmill monsters and defends the lady of his dreams, Dulcinea, who is actually a peasant “kitchen wench” named Aldonza. He travels with his squire, Sancho Panza, who does his best to keep Quixote out of trouble.

Our “mad knight” has a heart of gold and is on a quest to right all the wrongs in the world; he knows neither defeat or failure. And through his vision of hope and possibilities, he inspires goodness in others, which is personified in the anthem “To Dream the Impossible Dream.”

Don Quixote will be played by guest equity artist David Studwell*. Also featured are, Leo Cortez as Sancho, Julie Garnyé* as Aldonza, Peter S. Hadres* as Captain of the Inquisition, Erik Stein* as  Governor/Innkeeper, Andrew Philpot* as Dr. Carrasco/The Duke, Michael Jenkinson* as Padre, George Walker as Pedro/Guitar, Matt Koenig as Anselmo, Kitty Balay* as Maria, Elizabeth Stuart* as Houskeeper, and Karin Hendricks as Antonia.

The creative team, led by Director and alumnus Mark Herrier, features choreography by Michael Jenkinson, musical direction by Matthew R. Meckes, scenic design by Jason Bolen, costume design by Eddy L. Barrows, lighting design by Jennifer “Z” Zornow, sound design by Elisabeth Weidner, and stage management by Ellen Beltramo.

Director and PCPA alumnus Mark Herrier says the novel by Cervantes – the source material for the musical – is regarded by many as the greatest novel ever written and for several reasons it resonates today. “Finding hope amid cynicism, finding courage against overwhelming odds, being able to see the real beauty within, rather than the façade.” Herrier said that staging such a well-known work has a set of exciting  challenges in filling an audience’s expectations while taking a fresh look and placing a personal stamp on the production. Herrier explained, “Balancing the true horror of that dungeon, while still getting musical theatre (even vaudevillian) laughs is another balancing act I hope to get right. We intend to have hope and inspiration arise out of the despair and filth of that environment, and I am excited about the potential to take the “story theatre” aspect of the production to a new level with a fluidity of movement, lights, and “magic” set pieces.”  Herrier, who joined the Conservatory in 1972 right out of high school, sees the opportunity to direct at PCPA more as a homecoming than just another job. “After 40 years wandering the world on my own personal quest, I have finally come home. To return to the theatre that was my start and inspiration, which gave me the foundation to make all my wildest dreams come true, is for me, and quite simply, profound. Apparently, no dream is impossible!”

Man of La Mancha began as a TV drama by Dale Wasserman for CBS under the title I, Don Quixote. It was broadcast live in 1959. The original Broadway production which debuted 50 years ago ran for 2,328 performances, winning five Tony Awards including Best Musical. Its popularity has never waned; it has had four Broadway revivals and numerous national and international productions that have been translated in over 30 languages. Following its Broadway triumph, Man of La Mancha was adapted for film in 1972 with Peter O’Toole whose singing voice was dubbed by Simon Gilbert. The 1972 film also featured Sophia Loren as Aldonza and James Coco as Sancho Panza.

Director Mark Herrier caught the acting bug at the age of 10 when he mother took to see a production of The Music Man in Santa Barbara. After graduating Lompoc High School he joined PCPA’s Conservatory then continued his training at the University of Washington leading to work in regional theatres including Seattle Rep, Mark Taper Forum, South Coast Rep and Circle in the Square. He later moved to New York and was cast in Brigadoon and Macbeth on Broadway. In 1982 he was cast in the film Porky’s and would return to appear in the trilogy. Upon the film’s completion he returned to New York and was among the original cast of Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You. When Porky’s opened, it became the number one movie, while at the same time, Herrier was in the number one show in New York. His TV/Film credits include MASH, Freddy’s Nightmares, Paradise, Murder She Wrote, The Practice, Gideon’s Crossing, Tank, Popcorn. Mark is also president of the Lompoc Theatre Project, a group that plans to restore the 90 year old theatre in downtown Lompoc.

PCPA’s Summer Season
June – October 2015

My Fair Lady
Book and Lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner
Music by Frederick Loewe
Adapted from George Bernard Shaw’s Play and Gabriel Pascal’s motion picture Pygmalion
Solvang Festival Theater
June 11 – July 12, 2015
Man of La Mancha
Written by Dale Wasserman
Music by Mitch Leigh
Lyrics by Joe Darion
Marian Theatre
July 8 & 11, 2015
Solvang Festival Theater
July 17 – August 16, 2015
Peter and the Starcatcher
A Play by Rick Elice
Based on the Novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
Music by Wayne Barker
Solvang Festival Theater
August 21 – September 13, 2015
Other Desert Cities
By Jon Robin Baitz
Marian  Theatre
September 18 – October 3, 2015