Man of La Mancha Launch

Man of La Mancha promotional poster

Yesterday I had the privilege of attending the press launch for Man of La Mancha the Musical at the London Coliseum. The launch was attended by four of the show’s stars, Kelsey Grammer of TV’s “Fraiser” who will be playing the starring role of Cervantes/Don Quixote, Danielle de Niese who is primarily an opera singer and Cassidy Janson who will be sharing the role of Aldonza/Dulcinea due to Niese’s busy opera schedule and Nicholas Lyndhurst of TV’s “Only Fools and Horses” who will be portraying a few smaller roles. Also in attendance was co-producer Michael Linnit who has spent the better part of 20 years trying to bring Man of La Mancha back to the West End, the only other production having been in 1968.

For those of you that don’t know the musical well it is a play within a play at the start of which we see the author of Don Quixote, Miguel de Cervantes, and his man servant awaiting trial from the Spanish Inquisition. Cervantes then acts out the story of his unfinished novel Don Quixote as his defence, transforming himself into Alonso Quijano. Quijano mistaken believes himself to be a knight errant and renames himself Don Quixote embarking on a fantastical adventure with his faithful servant Sancho Panza, currently uncast.

Though the director Lonny Price, who previously directed “Sunset Boulevard” at the London Coliseum, was unable to attend co-producer Michael Linnit gave us a little insight in to the show stating that it will be a faithful reproduction of the script but with a reimaging of the set, staging etc. We were also given a sneak preview of press shots and a recording of probably the show’s most well known song “The Impossible Dream” performed by Grammer and Janson. This was followed by a Q&A session with the four stars where all four of them seemed very excited about the production. Both Niese and Janson are not at all worried about sharing the role of Aldonza/Dulcinea and are in fact looking forward to the different approaches they will take with the character. While Grammer is aware that having the responsibility of singing such a well know song such as “The Impossible Dream” needs to be approached with the respect that a song that’s been recreated by so many people deserves. Both Lyndhurst and Niese are looking forward to getting into the rehearsal room as that’s the part they both really enjoy while Janson is looking forward to working with Lyndhurst and Grammer who she is a big fan of!

At the heart of this wonderful musical is the story of a man wishing and striving for a better world against all odds while at the same time reminding us what it is to be really human. When asked what “dream the impossible dream” means to him, Grammer put it very succinctly. “I’m living it! But it is human nature to reach, to try no matter how it turns out”.

Man of La Mancha the Musical is on at the London Coliseum from the 26th of April for 6 weeks only and if the passion of one of the producers and the cast is anything to go by this will be a show not to be missed.

Review by Alexandria Wharram

To book tickets for Man of La Mancha and find out more visit their website.

If you like this article you might also like my review of Chess and Notre Dame De Paris both at the Coliseum and Big Fish starring Kesley Grammer.

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