A Noise Within (ANW), celebrating its 25th Anniversary Season, presents Man of La Mancha by Dale Wasserman, music by Mitch Leigh and lyrics by Joe Darion, and based on Cervantes’ Don Quixote. ANW Artistic Director Julia Rodriguez-Elliott directs. La Mancha performs March 26-May 21, 2017.

“Though many often associate Man of La Mancha with elaborate set pieces and fanciful costumes,” says Rodriguez-Elliott, “Its earliest stagings were sparse, encompassing the spirit of a rag-tag band of prisoners putting on a play with found objects. The play celebrates the power of make believe, and I want to go back to those roots. This production is fueled by an almost childlike sense of ‘play’ – where an ordinary object can seamlessly become a horse simply because we endow it as such.”

“My goal is to evoke that magical, improvisational quality we have as children but is often lost as adults. The modern-day setting – a bleak, destitute ‘holding tank’ for prisoners – is intentional. Reminiscent of third-world prisons and military detention centers, and populated with empathetic characters, I want this La Mancha to feel personal to our audiences. The stakes are real, and I want the transformation from hardened criminals to true believers to be palatable to our audiences.”

“This is a real-world fairy tale: despite the dire circumstances, through the power of art, these prisoners have the ability to transform their claustrophobic existence into the vastness of Cervantes’ vision.”

Julia Rodriguez-Elliott references this quote by Pablo Picasso: “We artists are indestructible; even in a prison, or in a concentration camp, I would be almighty in my own world of art, even if I had to paint my pictures with my wet tongue on the dusty floor of my cell.”

“La Mancha is about the power of imagination – and how important it is onstage and in our own lives. It’s a play that truly represents the transformative power of the theatre; a perfect way to end our 25th Anniversary season,” says Rodriguez-Elliott.

The Man of La Mancha cast includes Geoff Elliott as Don Quixote, Kasey Mahaffy as Sancho Panza, Cassandra Marie Murphy as Aldonza, Cassie Simone as Antonia/Fermina, Jeremy Rabb as Padre, Gabriel Zenone as Innkeeper/Governor, Cynthia Marty as Innkeeper’s Wife/Maria, with ensemble members Tyler Miclean, Jordan Goodsell, Andrew Joseph Perez, Michael Uribes, Mario Arciniega, and Marissa Ruiz.

A Noise Within is located at 3352 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena. For tickets or more information call (626) 356-3100 or visit www.anoisewithin.org.