BOXMusical shines from dungeon

By Christina Killion Valdez

Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN

Out of darkness come dreams in the musical production of "Man of La Mancha" by the Commonweal Theatre Company.

The play within a play by Dale Wasserman, Joe Darion and Mitch Leigh is set in a dungeon where Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes awaits a hearing with the Spanish Inquisition. It’s there that Cervantes tells the story of Don Quixote, a "mad" knight who tries to "right the unrightable wrongs" of the world.

"The story really appeals to me and the company because of the whole idea of the dreamer and his faith in dreams and how that carries him through tough times," said Hal Cropp, the show’s director and artistic director at the Commonweal.


Carried throughout the story is the award-winning music of the original Broadway production.

Based on a production of "Sweeney Todd" in New York, the cast of "La Mancha" creates the music live on stage using keyboards, recorders, accordions, drums, symbols and maracas as well as rhythmic work with furniture and props.

"It has a real gritty feel and different feel," Cropp said.

The elaborate dungeon setting also captures the despair of the victims of the inquisition, he said, adding, "It allows the story to open up with a very dark surrounding that resonates incredibly well."

Commonweal founder Eric Bunge plays the quixotic dreamer Cervantes/Don Quixote. Three Commonweal apprentices, Bradley Kastendick, Kimberly Maas and David Harmann, are joined by Rick Nance and David Hennessey playing multiple roles. Stef Dickens and Stella Burt switch off playing Don Quixote’s love interest, Aldonza, and Troy Iverson is his faithful sidekick, Sancho Panza.

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If you go

What: "Man of La Mancha"


When: June 21—Oct. 25. Performances at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Mondays with matinees at 1:30 p.m. Previews at 7:30 p.m. June 13, 14, 19, 20 and 1:30 p.m. June 14, followed by talk-backs with the cast and director.

Where: Commonweal Theatre, 208 Parkway Ave. N. in Lanesboro.

Tickets: $25, available online or by calling 1-800-657-7025. Discounts for students, groups and Fillmore and Houston county residents. Previews are $15.

Note: ASL interpreted performance Sept. 7. Tickets are half-price for those needing interpreter services.


Commonweal Theatre Company

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