‘Man of La Mancha’ returns to VTG
Published 10:52 am Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Tossed into a dungeon with his manservant and all his belongings, the literary character Miguel de Cervantes has to defend himself and his worldly goods against the other prisoners in a mock court of law.
It’s precisely the trial that sets the stage for “Man of La Mancha,” which opens Friday at Parkside Playhouse as part of Vicksburg Theatre Guild’s 2013-14 season.
“Man of La Mancha is a play-within-a-play,” said Jim Shirley, who directs the musical.
“The story is about Cervantes, and his creation of “Don Quixote,” a play about a man who sees only the good in the world,” Shirley said.
As a failed author-soldier-actor and tax collector Cervantes is arrested on charges of foreclosing on a monastery and is thrown into jail.
The inmates are willing to give the old man a chance to keep his most precious possession — the manuscript he has written — Shirley said. On stage, a pseudo-courtroom is devised and the play is used as Cervantes defense.
“This is the second time I have directed “Man of La Mancha” at the Parkside Playhouse Theatre and the fourth all together,” Shirley said. “I also directed it twice while living in California.”
Shirley said “Man of LaMancha” is one of his favorites and is certain the audience will especially enjoy the show’s most notable song “The Impossible Dream,” which will be sung by Paul Ballard, who portrays Cervantes /Don Quixote.
“Dr. Paul Ballard finally gets a chance to be on stage instead of directing or conducting a show,” Shirley said.
“Man of LaMancha” first opened on Broadway in 1968, three years after first appearing at the Goodspeed Opera House in Connecticut. It was performed on the Great White Way more than 2,000 times, picking up five Tony Awards along the way, including Best Musical in 1966 while still on the small stage.
“The production is heavy in costumes,” Shirley said. “We bought a dozen pairs of boots for the show, lots of black leather, plastered armor, lame and swords.”
“We are also using a multi-tiered black stage that becomes utilitarian. By using the nondescript color the audience’s imagination will take over and see a set without the set,” he said.
Oscar Frost, will play Cervante’s manservant, who becomes Sancho Panza, in the play with-in the play, and Sonia Arredondo will play the character of Dulcinea, Don Quixote’s true love, said Glenda Arredondo, who is serving as codirector for the musical.
Arredondo said, Sharon Penly will be conducting the orchestra for the performances and musicians in the pit will include Joanne Ryan on guitar, Denise Ragsdale on keyboards, George Mason on string bass, Elias Arredondo on trumpet , Marie Cunningham on flute and Joe Mathews on the drums.
Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for ages 55 and older, $7 for ages 13 through college and $5 for ages children 12 and younger and are available at the Cricket Box, 3040 Halls Ferry Road, Paper Plus, 1318 S. Washington St., at the door and on the web site at www.vicksburgtheatreguild.com. For more information, call 601-636-0471.
If you go
The Vicksburg Theatre Guild will present “Man of La Mancha” at the Parkside Playhouse, 101 Iowa Blvd. beginning this weekend. Shows begin at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and on Feb. 28 and March 1. Matinee performances are scheduled for 2 p.m. Feb. 23 and March 2. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for ages 55 and older, $7 for ages 13 through college and $5 for ages children 12 and younger and are available at the Cricket Box, 3040 Halls Ferry Road, Paper Plus, 1318 Washington St., at the door and on the web site at www.vicksburgtheatreguild.com. For more information, call 601-636-0471.