Paul Schoeffler to Star in MAN OF LA MANCHA at TUTS; Full Cast Announced!


Theatre Under The Stars (TUTS) has announced the cast for the five-time Tony Award winning masterpiece Man of La Mancha, running Feb. 26 - March 10 at the Hobby Center for The Performing Arts.

Taking the stage as Don Quixote will be veteran stage performer Paul Schoeffler. He counts Rock of Ages, Beauty and the Beast, Peter Pan, Nine and Victor/Victoria among his several Broadway appearances. He has appeared internationally in Assassins, and he toured nationally as Javert in LES MISERABLES, Sheldrake in Promises/Promises and Captain Hook in Peter Pan. He has also made several appearances in the off-Broadway and regional theatre circuit with roles including Hilaire Jussac in Can-Can and Marco the Magnificent in Carnival!. TUTS audiences also will remember Schoeffler from his appearances as Philippe in Phantom and Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady. Playing opposite him is Michelle DeJean, who will return to the TUTS stage as the beautiful but rough bar maid Aldonza. A graduate of TUTS' Humphreys School of Musical Theatre, she boasts the recent TUTS credits of The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas, White Christmas and Urban Cowboy. DeJean's other theatre highlights include Broadway's Chicago and national tours of Jesus Christ Superstar, West Side Story and Oliver!.

Sancho Panza, Quixote's devoted and loveable sidekick, will be portrayed by Josh Lamon. His Broadway work includes performing in Elf: The Musical, Into the Woods and Hair. Lamon appeared in the national tours of Wicked and Hair, which earned him the Helen Hayes Award Outstanding Supporting Actor in 2011. Making his TUTS debut as the dubious but supportive Innkeeper is Tom Robbins. His recent Broadway appearances include Newsies The Musical, The Lion King and Once Upon a Mattress, and he toured nationally with LES MISERABLES.

Laurent Giroux will depict The Padre. He has toured nationally with The Light in the Piazza and Zorba as well as appeared on Broadway in Ambassador, Two Gentlemen of Verona, Pippin and Chicago. Bruce Winant will play the unyielding foe Dr. Carrasco. Winant's Broadway credits include La Cage Aux Folles, Ragtime and Miss Saigon. He lists both Phantom and Chigaco among his national tours.

Completing the cast are Ceasar F. Barajas, Phillip Michael Baskerville, Michael Brian Dunn, Julia Krohn, Elyse Langley, Maegan McConnell, Shaun R. Parry, Spencer Rowe, Eadie Scott, Matthew Steffens, Michael Tapley, Jessica Vosk, Kristin Warren and Marguerite Willbanks.

TUTS' newly minted Artistic Director Bruce Lumpkin will captain the creative team as the director. His previous work at TUTS includes Irving Berlin's White Christmas, Miss Saigon, Funny Girl and Grand Hotel. Lumpkin previously worked on several Broadway titles including Grand Hotel, My One and Only, Nine, Stepping Out, and The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas. Additionally, Mr. Lumpkin co-directed Grand Hotel on London's West End and served on the creative team for the national tours of Dr. Doolittle and Nine. He received the Barrymore Award for Best Director and Best Musical for his revisionist look at Cabaret.

The other half of a true husband-and-wife team, Lumpkin's wife, Michelle Gaudette, will join the creative team as choreographer for Man of La Mancha. Gaudette's last time to choreograph for TUTS was when Lumpkin directed 2010's Miss Saigon. Gaudette has performed internationally throughout her career, and she toured nationally in Will Rogers Follies. She also performed for 9 years as a member of the Radio City Rockettes in New York City.

A second husband-and-wife team will also work on Man of La Mancha. Marley Wisnoski will make her debut with TUTS as assistant director, and Jeff Wisnoski will serve as the fight choreographer. Prior to this show, the Wisnoski family spent several years working in London's fringe theatre scene, and Jeff previously choreographed the fight scenes for TUTS' presentation of Camelot.

Thom Culcasi will serve as the musical director and conductor. Culcasi last worked at TUTS in 2010's Miss Saigon. Joining on the creative team are sound designer Kit Bond and lighting designer Greg Hirsch.

Man of La Mancha is written by Dale Wasserman with music by Mitch Leigh and lyrics by Joe Darion.

Tickets (starting at only $24) are available on-line at, by phone at (713) 558-TUTS (8887), outside the Houston area at (888) 558-3882, or in person at the Theatre Under The Stars Box Office, located at 800 Bagby at Walker, Monday - Friday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m., and Saturday - Sunday 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. An audio described performance is available Sunday, March 10 at 2 p.m.; open captioning is available Sunday, March 10 at 7:30 p.m. The Hobby Center is wheelchair accessible. Discounts are available for groups of 15 or more. Group tickets may be purchased by calling (713) 558-8888 or via email at

Theatre Under The Stars (TUTS) is Houston's acclaimed nonprofit musical theatre company whose mission is to enrich life through the experience of quality musical theatre and to positively impact lives beyond the stage through innovative education & community engagement programs. Currently TUTS engages more than 200,000 people annually through productions at Sarofim Hall and Zilkha Hall at the Hobby Center and at Miller Outdoor Theatre. TUTS was the first theatrical organization in Houston to perform free to the public when it was founded in 1968 at Miller Outdoor Theatre in Hermann Park and is the only Houston arts organization that has performed there free to the public every year since the theatre opened. Founded by Frank M. Young and currently under the direction of President and CEO John C. Breckenridge and Artistic Director Bruce Lumpkin, TUTS has produced more than 300 musicals including many local, national and world premieres such as Kopit and Yeston's Phantom, Disney's Beauty and the Beast, Jekyll & Hyde, and Irving Berlin's White Christmas as well as critically acclaimed re-inventions of classics Cabaret and LES MISERABLES. Through its membership in the Independent Presenters Network, TUTS has helped bring Bombay Dreams, 9 to 5, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Spamalot, Legally Blonde, Ragtime, Curtains and The Color Purple to Broadway and ultimately back to Houston audiences.

In support of TUTS' mission, TUTS' Education & Community Engagement programs provide instruction and stage experience for more than 48,000 Houstonians annually. The Humphreys School of Musical Theatre (HSMT) offers technique-driven classes for all ability levels and ages, ranging from four to adult. Through The River Performing and Visual Arts Center (The River), TUTS provides an accessible and inclusive arts education for individuals of all abilities that will enhance their development into confident, balanced individuals. TUTS Education & Community Engagement provides extended on-site programming as well as off-site programming for children in schools, hospitals and other community-based sites. TUTS' community partnerships include collaborations with the Houston Independent School District and Region IV school districts, the YMCA of Greater Houston, M.D. Anderson Children's Cancer Center, Texas Children's Hospital and Shriner's Hospital - Houston, among several other Houston-area organizations. TUTS also annually presents the Tommy Tune Awards, honoring the best and brightest in Houston's high school musical theatre programs.

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Photo Credit: Claire McAdams

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