Act II Playhouse Stages MAN OF LA MANCHA, Now thru 5/25

Act II Playhouse Stages MAN OF LA MANCHA, Now thru 5/25

Act II Playhouse concludes its 15th anniversary season by dreaming "The Impossible Dream" with the classic musical, Man of La Mancha. Winner of five Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Man of La Mancha plays at Act II Playhouse in Ambler from today, April 29-May 25.

Directed by Aaron Cromie, Man of La Mancha tells the epic story of the knight-errant Don Quixote (Peter Schmitz), his servant Sancho Panza (Sonny Leo), and the woman of his dreams, the lovely Aldonza (Maria Konstantinidis). The tale follows the romantic and noble journey of Don Quixote as he sets to right all wrongs and win the heart of a good woman ... while dueling windmills along the way.

Rounding out the ensemble are Jake Blouch, Matthew Mastronardi, Amanda Jill Robinson, Matt Tallman, Josh Totora, and Brian Anthony Wilson. The nine actors play approximately 40 roles.

The ensemble also serves as the on-stage orchestra, playing such varied instruments as a a violin, a melodica, a glockenspiel, a toy piano, a trash can, and a cello. Five-time Barrymore Award-Winner Christopher Colucci is serving as music director and arranging the orchestration. He is also the production's on-stage guitarist.

"I never get to be in the show," Colucci said. "This is the first time I'm able to stay with the show in six years."

Actor Sonny Leo is also juggling on-stage and off-stage roles. In addition to playing Sancho Panza, Leo is the show's vocal director and choreographer.

Based on the classic novel The Adventures of Don Quixote, Man of La Mancha begins as the story of author Miguel de Cervantes (also played by Schmitz), locked in prison. Put on trial by his fellow prisoners, Cervantes mounts his defense by dramatizing the story of the knight Don Quixote. As he tells the tale, Cervantes turns into into Don Quixote, and the cell becomes the land for his adventures.

"Aaron Cromie is a visionary director who will transform our intimate theatre into the jail cell holding Cervantes. The rest of the play will emerge magically from inside and around the cell," Act II Artistic Director Tony Braithwaite said. "It will be a thrilling night of theatre."

Tickets for Man of La Mancha at Act II Playhouse are $28- $39. Discounts are available for subscribers, students, group of 10 or more, and seniors (65+). Tickets are available online at http://www.act2.org, by calling the Act II box office at (215) 654-0200, or in person at 56 E. Butler Ave. in Ambler.

The original 1965 Broadway production of Man of La Mancha ran until 1971 for a total of 2,328 performances. It was written by Dale Wasserman, with lyrics by Joe Darion and music by the recently deceased Mitch Leigh. Its most well-known song is the stirring anthem, "The Impossible Dream," an American standard that has been covered by such artists as Frank Sinatra, Aretha Franklin, Placido Domingo, Elvis Presley, Andy Williams, and The Temptations.

The creative team for Man of La Mancha includes scenic designer Maura Roche, costume designer Alisa Sickora Kleckner, sound designer Mark Valenzuela, and lighting designer James Leitner.

This is the second classic musical produced in Act II's history; My Fair Lady played in Ambler in 2012 to sell-out crowds.

"After My Fair Lady, I wanted to find another classic musical that could be adapted to our intimate venue," Braithwaite said. "I realized Man of La Mancha had everything our audiences would enjoy: a great story, a beautiful score, and a powerful message about hope overcoming despair."

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