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LTC concludes season with 'Man of LaMancha'

SUBMITTED PHOTO: TRIUMPH PHOTOS  - Pictured are, from left, Pam Mahon as Aldonza the alluring tavern maid, Leif Norby, in the dual role of Cervantes and Don Quixote and Joey Cote, as Sancho Panza, his faithful manservant in Man of LaMancha opening April 29 at Lakewood Center for the Arts.

“The Impossible Dream,” carries a message of courage and the search for truth as Lakewood Theatre Company concludes its 63rd season with the award-winning musical, “Man of LaMancha.”

The story of an inspired, slightly batty, knight on a quest is directed by Greg Tamblyn with musical direction by Alan D. Lytle. The production features prominent Portland musical theater actors Leif Norby, in the dual role of Cervantes and Don Quixote, Joey Cote as Sancho Panza, his faithful manservant, and Pam Mahon, as Aldonza, the beautiful tavern maid who catches the hero’s eye.

Performances begin April 29 and continue through June 12 on the Headlee Mainstage at Lakewood Center for the Arts in Lake Oswego. The musical, by Dale Wasserman, is based on the life and work of Don Miguel de Cervantes y Saavedra. Music is by Mitch Leigh and lyrics are by Joe Darion.

Its song hits, “The Impossible Dream,” “Dulcinea,” “Little Bird” and “The Quest” are well-lauded classics. The original production ran more than five years on Broadway and received five Tony Awards including Best Musical of the Year, as well as Best Musical by the New York Drama Critics’ Circle, The Outer Circle, The Variety Poll and Saturday Review. “Man of LaMancha” takes place in the late 16th century in a prison deep beneath the streets of Seville. Into a group of rogues awaiting sentencing by the Spanish Inquisition for various crimes and misdemeanors is thrown an itinerant poet, failed playwright, wounded soldier and unfortunate tax collector, Miguel de Cervantes and Sancho Panza. To avoid immediate sentencing before a kangaroo court by his fellow prisoners — and to save his latest manuscript from being tossed into the fire — Cervantes proposes he present his defense in the form of a charade to illustrate the adventures of a most famous and legendary hero.

When Sanchez sets the stage using props from a trunk and items scavenged from the prison, Cervantes transforms himself into a country squire known as Alonso Quijana. Quijana is so taken with the knights of legend that he bids farewell to sanity and claps on a suit of armor to pursue his impossible dreams as the “dauntless knight known as Don Quixote de La Mancha.”

He persuades fellow prisoners to join him in the act and take on the roles of an innkeeper (Stacey Murdock) and his wife (Susan Overcast), a kindly country priest, the mock trial’s prosecutor (Ron Harman) and a cynic called The Duke (Corey Brunish). There’s also, of course, barmaid Aldonza, whom Quixote imagines to be the “fair virgin” Dulcinea.

Featured players include Dan Bahr as the Barber, Malia Tippets as Antonia, Joe Theissen as Pedro, and Sam Mowry as the voice of the Captain. Other members of the ensemble include Ryan Monaghan, Bruce Lawson, William Shindler, Jeremy Southard, Jeremy Garfinkel and Larry James Taylor.

Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sundays. There also will be two Wednesday performances at 7:30 p.m. May 11 and 25. At the May 11 show, there will be a wine tasting at 6:30 p.m., compliments of World Class Wines. And, for ages 25-35, there is a special promotion for a $25 ticket that day. (Use the code WOW25 and bring your ID). Tickets are $37 for adults and $35 for seniors. Other discounts are available for students and groups.

Lakewood Center for the Arts is located at 368 S. State St. in Lake Oswego. For more information and tickets, call the box office at 503-635-3901 or order online at www.lakewood-center.org.