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Ormond Beach Observer Thursday, Mar. 28, 2019 1 year ago

Ormond Beach residents star in 'Man of La Mancha' at Daytona Playhouse

Dreaming the impossible dream...
by: Jarleene Almenas Associate Editor

The Daytona Playhouse hopes its audiences will dream Impossible Dream with Miguel de Cervantes as "Man of La Mancha" graces the stage for the next three weekends. 

The classic tale about Don Quixote, told in a musical format with a live orchestra, will feature Earl Levine as Cervantes and Quixote, and Michael Nunn as Sancho, as Don Quixote seeks knighthood and to save Aldonza, played by Ormond Beach resident Kelly Rivera. It is a play within a play, with Cervantes telling the story of Don Quixote to fellow prisoners while he waits a hearing with the Spanish Inquisition.

“I think it takes you by surprise because it’s slightly comedic throughout and then it takes this serious, very philosophical tone that has a true message that you don’t expect," Rivera said.

This was her stepfather's favorite show. Having grown up in theater, she said she wanted to do something special for him. As she listened to the score, and saw how a role in this musical would combine all her singing and acting training, she knew this was something she wanted to be a part of.

“I actually fell in love with the role while revisiting it even though I knew it as a kid," Rivera said.

The musical will be Ormond Beach resident the first time Roger Danforth Sr. acts onstage. He said it's his debut. He used to be an usher at the Playhouse, and now he's starring as one of the guards in "Man of La Mancha."

“It’s very exciting," Danforth Sr. said. "I get to meet a lot of very interesting people, a lot of unique personalities and just an extended family, more or less.”

He's not the only one that was drawn to the stage for this production. While Ormond Beach resident Tom Hansen has been directing for a number of years, this will be the second time in 17 years he's been onstage. It's his favorite show, he said. Hansen saw the original 1965 production with Richard Kiley.

“I’ve listened to the album like a thousand times," Hansen said. "I could probably sing all Aldonza’s songs.”

The play also showcases a range of ages between the actors, Hansen said. He's the eldest at 71 years old, and Mainland High School junior Joshua Lingo is the youngest at 16.

For Lingo, this is not his first exposure to Don Quixote. He studied "Man of La Mancha" in his Spanish class last year. It ended up being the subject material for his final exam, which he passed. 

“Now, thanks to this musical, I’m able to go to college," said Lingo, since passing a language class is a requirement for graduation.

Ormond Beach resident Dawn Sauer said "Man of La Mancha" touches you as a person. She said she loves being at the Playhouse, both and off-stage. In this production, she's playing a housekeeper.

“It starts to be like a family," she said.

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