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Man of La Mancha – The New Broadway Cast Recording 2002

Man of La Mancha – The New Broadway Cast Recording 2002

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Synopsis

In late 16th-century Spain, Miguel de Cervantes, author, actor, playwright and part-time tax collector, has been arrested by the Inquisition for trying to collect taxes from a church. Thrown into a holding cell in prison with cutthroats and thieves. He and his servant are stripped of their belongings and are put on trial for their lives by the other prisoners – Opening. Their baggage consists chiefly of theatrical props, and Cervantes only seems interested in the fate of one precious pile of papers, the manuscript of a story he tells by way of his own defense. The story of one Alonso Quijana, retired landowner in love with the age of chivalry, who now calls himself Don Quixote de la Mancha – Man Of La Mancha. Cervantes and his servant transform themselves into Don Quixote and his faithful Sancho Panza, and take to the road on hastily rigged-up horses. They immediately encounter a windmill. which Don Quixote perceives to be a disguise of his arch-enemy, The Enchanter. The glowering prisoners are coerced into taking part in the charade. One solitary female begins to impersonate Aldonza, a kitchen slut who services bands of muleteers passing through a wayside inn – It’s All The Same. Believing the inn to be a castle, Quixote is determined to be dubbed a knight by its castellano, known to all others as the Innkeeper. When Don Quixote sees Aldonza for the first time, he knows her to be the lady to whom all his bold deeds shall be dedicated, the incomparable Dulcinea. The muleteers find his devotion comic, at first. Back on his estate, it is not so appreciated, although Quijana’s niece and housekeeper declare I’m Only Thinking Of Him. The niece is engaged to one Dr. Carrasco, a somewhat taught man for whom the taint of madness in the family now weighs in precarious balance with his betrothed’s prospective inheritance. His arrival tips the equation in favor of trying to do something to cure poor old Uncle of his delusions – We’re Only Thinking Of Him. At the inn, Sancho has been sent to Aldonza with a missive; a letter which. since neither of them can read, he must memorize and recite. Don Quixote begs a token of his lady, a silken scarf to wear into battle. Aldonza obliges with a filthy rag and a question: “why does Sancho follow his crazy master?” His answer is unusually straightforward, for Sancho – I Really Like Him. But it does not help the perplexed Aldonza. Quixote’s tenderness and chivalry disturb her, and she cannot understand being wanted for nothing but to be who he dreams her to be – What Does He Want Of Me? The muleteers harmonize a little folk song of lost love, singing it to Aldonza as they vie for her favors – Little Bird, Little Bird. Enter the Padre and Dr. Carrasco, in search of Alonso Quijana, who recognizes them, but insists on being addressed as Don Quixote. They learn that he has found the lady, Dulcinea, to whom he will dedicate his life if need be. Ever in search of glory, Quixote takes the shaving basin of a merry barber (Barber’s Song) to be the fabled helmet of invulnerability, and no amount of common sense will make him believe otherwise. He is abetted by Sancho. the muleteers and, eventually, the barber himself – Golden Helmet Of Mambrino. Dr. Carrasco is determined to cure Quixote at any cost (but his own). The Padre is inclined to be more tolerant – To Each His Dulcinea. Quixote prepares himself for knighthood with a vigil in the courtyard, and when the resentful but intrigued Aldonza passes through on her way to her night’s work, she asks him to explain what drives him to such extremes. He tell her it is his quest – The Impossible Dream. The impatient Pedro – Aldonza’s next customer – comes looking for her, insults and strikes her. Quixote’s defense of his lady soon escalates to all-out battle between the muleteers and the redoubtable trio of Quixote. Sancho and Aldonza. Having won the day, Quixote requests the dubbing promised by the Innkeeper, and a new title to go with it. The bemused Innkeeper serves one up: Knight Of The Woeful Countenance. The muleteers are not long in having their revenge on Aldonza. The Don and his squire have ridden off in search of other adventures, only to be fleeced of every penny by a roving band of gypsies. Returning to the inn, they are greeted by the raped, bruised and battered Aldonza. As she tries desperately to make him see her as she so pathetically is, a strange fanfare is heard and The Knight Of The Mirrors appears. It is Don Quixote’s ancient foe, The Enchanter (alias Dr. Carrasco) who has come to make Quixote see himself as he is, with the help of mirrored shields. Quixote cannot escape his own foolish reflection, and the reality breaks his spirit. In the prison, the Captain warns Cervantes that his time is near, and the prisoners want to hear the end of the story. But Cervantes has only written that far. Encouraged to finish it in order to postpone sentence from the other prisoners, he improvises a return to the bedside of Alonso Quijana. Our broken hero has withdrawn deeply within himself, attached to life by the frailest of threads. His pious and publicly well-meaning household try to keep Sancho away, as well as all mention of the chivalrous life they once had led, but he promises to stick to A Little Gossip. Quijana revives enough to tease his old friend, but he knows he is dying. He begins making a very sane and ordinary will, when Aldonza appears, begging him to remember her as he had dreamed of her – Dulcinea (Reprise). The old man begins to return to the world of his dreams – The Impossible Dream (Reprise). He revives enough to embrace his squire and his lady, and to try to set off once more in search of adventure – Man Of La Mancha (Reprise). But it cannot last, and the padre sings a quiet prayer (The Psalm) over the body of Alonso Quijana, Don Quixote de la Mancha. Cervantes’s name is called by the Inquisition, and he and his servant must go. With the courage of his hero coursing through his veins, and manuscript in hand, he mounts the steps to his ordeal, having earned the admiration of the prisoners whose lives his story may well have transformed – Finale. – Emily King

Credits

Cervantes/Don Quixote: Brian Stokes Mitchell Captain Of The Inquisition: Frederick B. Owens Sancho: Ernie Sabella Governor/Innkeeper: Don Mayo Duke/Carrasco: Stephen Bogardus Aldonza: Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio Quito: Andy Blankenbuehler Tenorio: Timothy J. Alex Juan: Thom Sesma Paco: Dennis Stowe Anselmo: Bradley Dean Pedro: Gregory Mitchell Jose: Wilson Mendieta Fermina: Lorin Latarro Maria: Michelle Rios Antonia: Natascia Diaz Padre: Mark Jacoby Housekeeper: Olga Merediz Barber: Jamie Torcellini Guards: John Herrera, Jimmy Smagula Gypsy Dancer: Lorin Latarro Gypsy Dancer: Andy Blankenbuehler Prisoner: Allyson Tucker Swings: Jamie Karen, Carlos Lopez, Richard Montoya