Five Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Score
Man of La Mancha
Written by Dale Wasserman
Music by Mitch Leigh
Lyrics by Joe Darion
Original Production Staged by Albert Marre
Originally Produced by Albert W. Selden and Hal James
June 10, 15, 16, 17, 22, 23, 24 at 8 pm
Sunday matinees – June 11, 18, 25 at 4 pm
Saturday matinee – June 24 at 3 pm
Lewis Center for the Arts, Princeton University
Matthews Acting Studio
185 Nassau Street, Princeton (next to Thomas Sweet)
Tickets: Thu $40, $45 | Fri $45, $50 | Sat $45, $50, $65* | Sun $45, $50
- Lower prices apply to early performances through Saturday 6/17
- *Saturday June 10 – $65 Opening Night includes free “Meet the Artists” Reception
General Admission Seating
Approximate running time: 2 hrs
Parental note: some sexual material. May not be suitable for children under 12.
On weekday evenings and weekends, Princeton University Lot 10 on William Street directly behind the Lewis Center is open to the public. See Princeton University’s Parking Map.
Production Stage Manager:
Michael Dean Morgan
Louis F. Goldberg
David Jonathan Palmer
Who hasn’t hummed “The Impossible Dream” or used the phrase “tilting at windmills”? Man of La Mancha, based on Cervantes’ Don Quixote, expresses our loftiest ideals and aspirations through story and songs. This inspirational show won five Tony Awards® on Broadway and endures as one of the best-loved American musicals.
Man of La Mancha is a play-within-a-play built around the poignant story of a dying old man whose dream of making a better world drives him into a fantasy of knight-errancy. “It’s All the Same,” “Dulcinea,” “I’m Only Thinking of Him,” “The Impossible Dream,” “I Really Like Him” and “Little Bird” will long remain in your thoughts and in your soul as Don Quixote, the “Everyman” Man of La Mancha, speaks for humankind.
Miguel de Cervantes, aging and an utter failure in his varied careers as playwright, poet and tax collector for the government, has been thrown into a dungeon in Seville to await trial by the Inquisition for an offense against the Church. There he is hauled before a kangaroo court of his fellow prisoners; thieves, cutthroats and trollops who propose to confiscate his meager possessions, one of which is the uncompleted manuscript of a novel called “Don Quixote.” Cervantes, seeking to save it, proposes to offer a novel defense in the form of entertainment. The “court” accedes and before their eyes, donning makeup and costume, Cervantes and his faithful manservant transform themselves into Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. They proceed to play out the story with the participation of the prisoners as other characters.
Quixote and Sancho take to the road, on “horses” which dance a lively flamenco, singing Man of La Mancha in a campaign to restore the age of chivalry, battle evil, and right all wrongs. The famous encounter with the windmills follows, but Quixote ascribes his defeat to the machinations of his enemy, the dark Enchanter, whom one day he will meet in mortal combat.
In a roadside inn–which Quixote, spying from a distance, insists to Sancho is really a castle–Aldonza, the inn’s serving girl and part-time trollop, is propositioned by a gang of rough Muleteers. Quixote, arriving at the inn, sees Aldonza as the dream-ideal whom he will serve evermore, singing Dulcinea to her. Aldonza is confused and angered by Quixote’s refusal to see her as she really is.
The Padre and Dr. Carrasco arrive at the inn but on questioning Quixote, are frustrated by his lunatic logic. They are interrupted by the arrival of an itinerant Barber singing The Barber’s Song. Quixote confiscates the Barber’s shaving basin, convinced that it is really the “Golden Helmet” of Mambrino, and is ceremoniously crowned with the aid of the Muleteers and the incredulous Barber.
Later Aldonza encounters Quixote in the courtyard where he is holding vigil, in preparation for being dubbed a knight by the Innkeeper. She questions him on his seemingly irrational ways, and is answered by Quixote in a statement of his credo, The Impossible Dream.
Aldonza has caught the fever of Quixote’s idealism but, attempting to put it into practice, is cruelly beaten and ravaged by the Muleteers in The Abduction and is carried off.
On the road again, Quixote and Sancho encounter a thievish band of Moors and are robbed of all their possessions in the Moorish Dance. They return to the inn, only to encounter the disillusioned Aldonza who sings her denunciation of the Quixotic dream in the dramatic Aldonza. The Enchanter, a fantastic figure disguised as the Knight of the Mirrors, enters; challenging Quixote to combat, the Enchanter defeats him, forcing him to see himself as a pathetic clown.
At home again, the old man who once called himself Don Quixote is dying. Aldonza, having followed him, forces her way into the room, pleading poignantly with him in the song Dulcinea to restore the vision of glory she held so briefly. Quixote, remembering, rises from his bed to reaffirm the stirring Man of La Mancha, but collapses, dying. Aldonza, having glimpsed the vision once more, refuses to acknowledge death, saying, “My name is Dulcinea.”
Back in Cervantes’ dungeon the prisoners, dregs of humanity though they are, have been deeply affected by his story and restore to him his precious manuscript. Cervantes is summoned to his real trial by the Inquisition. The prisoners unite to sing him on his way with The Impossible Dream.
Source: Tams-Witmark Music Library
Miguel de Cervantes /(Don Quixote/Alonso Quijana)
Acclaimed as Count in A Little Night Music (Princeton Festival, 2016). La Bohéme in NYC, La Traviata and Madama Butterfly at North Carolina Opera.
Sancho Panza – manservant
Off-Broadway: That Physics Show. Regional: The Producers, West Side Story, Rent, Hairspray, Fiddler on the Roof.
Aldonza/Dulcinea – serving girl
“Warm, deep sound” (Chicago Tribune). NYC: Beauty in Beauty and the Beast. Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi in Miami. Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro, Josephine in HMS Pinafore.
Antonia/Fermina/Gypsy Dancer – Alonso’s niece
NYC: La Bohéme, Cosette in Les Misérables, Hodel in Fiddler on the Roof. Regional: Sister Act.
Dr. Sanson Carrasco/Duke – Antonia’s fiancé and Knight of the Mirrors
Sarasota Opera, American Lyric Theater, The Princeton Festival, Piedmont Opera. Recent Carnegie Hall debut as Celebrant in Bernstein’s Mass.
Festival favorite: 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Threepenny Opera, The Fantasticks. National tours: The Full Monty, Annie.
Housekeeper/Innkeeper’s wife (Maria) – employee of Alonso
Princeton Festival in Carmen. Recent credits include Sister Act at the Walnut Street Theatre and Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd.
Musicals: Of Thee I Sing, Cabaret, Fiddler on the Roof, Little Women, Legally Blonde. Drama: Inherit the Wind.
Princeton Festival debut! The Producers National Tour (“Springtime for Hitler” tenor), Les Misérables (Enjolras), West Side Story (Tony), Into the Woods (Jack).
MAN OF LA MANCHA is presented by arrangement with
TAMS-WITMARK MUSIC LIBRARY, INC.
560 Lexington Avenue, New York, New York 10022
Click below to hear Brian Stokes Mitchell sing “The Impossible Dream.”