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Santa Clarita Regional Theatre presents "Man of La Mancha"

Posted: February 28, 2008 8:57 p.m.
Updated: April 30, 2008 5:03 a.m.
James Horan as Don Quixote sings "Dulcinea" to Aldonza (Lori D'Itri) in "Man of La Mancha," opening Saturday. James Horan as Don Quixote sings "Dulcinea" to Aldonza (Lori D'Itri) in "Man of La Mancha," opening Saturday.
James Horan as Don Quixote sings "Dulcinea" to Aldonza (Lori D'Itri) in "Man of La Mancha," opening Saturday.
There is a wealth and bounty of riches in the theatres of Santa Clarita during these next two weeks.
The Repertory East Playhouse will open on Friday, March 7 with the Pulitzer-Prize winning play, "Wit," through April 5.

But not to be missed this weekend is "Man of La Mancha" opening Saturday for a limited run at the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center at College of the Canyons.

This is the second production of the season for the Santa Clarita Regional Theatre and the first time "Man of La Mancha" has ever played in the Santa Clarita Valley.

Bringing a new level of professionalism to the local theatre scene, the role of Cervantes/Don Quixote will be played by James Horan, who is appears as a special guest artist with the permission of Actors' Equity. Horan has a vast and varied résumé as an actor in film, television, and on the stage. Fans know him from "General Hospital" and "All My Children" and his appearances on prime time television include roles in "Charmed," "Highlander," "Baywatch" and "Walker, Texas Ranger." Horan also guest-starred on "Star Trek - The Next Generation," "Voyager," "Deep Space Nine" and "Enterprise." Some of his films include a featured role as Confederate Colonel Arthur Cummings in the Civil War epic "Gods and Generals," and starring or co-starring roles in "The Haunting of Sea Cliff Inn" and "Scannercop."

Some of Mr. Horan's many theatre credits include several musicals, most memorably, the role of the Phantom in a U.K. tour of "Phantom of the Opera," Richmond in "Richard III" with Rene Auberjonois and Orestes in"Elektra" at San Diego's Old Globe Theatre. In addition, he has been seen on national commercials and his voice has been heard on radio and television commercials as well as animated series and CD-ROM games.

The rest of the cast includes CTG and Repertory East Playhouse regular George M. Chavez as Sancho Panza. Chavez recently starred in the Regional Theatre's production of Disney's "Beauty and the Beast."

Others in this cast include Michael Davies (Governor/Innkeeper), Brent A. Denison (Captain of the Inquisition), Sean Goodman (Padre), and Kamber Moen, Kelly Bader (Antonia), Rebecca Coombs (Fermina), Erik Klein, Marlow Weisman and Joe Aboulafia who also appeared in "Beauty and the Beast."
Appearing for the first time with the SCRT are Lori D'Itri as Aldonza/Dulcinea, Jarod Scott as Carrasco/the Duke and Nicholas Laemmer as Anselmo. The rest of the cast includes Carla Bambo, Loren Burghout, Caleb DiPaola, Joshua DiPaola, Kristie Hoefflin, John Morris and Edward A. Nason.

According to its online biography, "Man of La Mancha" started life as a non-musical teleplay written by Dale Wasserman for CBS. Inspired by Miguel de Cervantes' 17th century masterpiece, it tells the story of the "mad" knight, Don Quixote, as a play within a play, performed by Cervantes and his fellow prisoners as he awaits a hearing with the Spanish Inquisition.

Years after the original television broadcast and after the original teleplay had been unsuccessfully optioned as a non-musical Broadway play, director Albert Marre suggested that Wasserman turn his play into a musical. Mitch Leigh was selected as composer and Joe Darion came on board as lyricist. The original 1965 Broadway production ran for 2,329 performances, and won five Tony Awards. Since then, largely due to the larger than life performance by its star, Robert Goulet, the musical has become one of the most enduring works of musical theatre.

"Man of La Mancha" is co-directed by TimBen Boydston and Patti Finley, with original choreography by Musette Caing of the SCV Ballet Company.

Finley said she is really excited to finally recreate this version of the musical.

"My ex-husband, Ray Middleton, was the original Innkeeper/Governor on Broadway and I was at the theatre nearly every night," Finley said. "I love this show, know it well and think one of the reasons it has been such a hit all over the world, is that it shows the triumph of the human spirit."

Boydston feels it is a timeless play that resonates with all people.

"Man's spirit and imagination can help him rise above any adversity. This play shows that, while you might put a man in chains, his spirit remains free."

"Man of La Mancha" opens for a limited engagement on Saturday at 8 p.m., with additional performances on Sunday, March 2 and 9 at 2 p.m., Friday and Saturday, March 7 and 8 at 8 p.m., and Saturday, March 8 at 2 p.m. for a total of six performances. You won't want to miss this exciting theatrical event, so make your reservations now! On opening night, there will again be the opportunity to become part of the First Nighters' Club. For $100 per person, you will enjoy dinner and drinks at the home of Dave and Doreen Barsky in the exclusive Woodlands Estates; then take a quick trip across Valencia Boulevard to the Performing Arts Center where you will be seated in the Golden Circle to experience the excitement of opening night. Don't miss "Man of La Mancha." For tickets, call the box office at (661) 799-2702.


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