Do you know that feeling when your heart quickens and pounds because a theatrical experience has touched you to your very core? I can honestly say that the first time I experienced theater with that power, it was while watching Man of La Mancha. There is something so profoundly hopeful in hearing a tale where the giving of love is not about selfish expectation, but about respecting and honoring others; that in seeking to be pure in our hopes and dreams, we can succeed in our quest to make this world a truly better place.
I heard our Executive Producer and Artistic Director, David Armstrong, say that the writers of Les Misérables were deeply influenced by Man of La Mancha as they approached their work on that now iconic score. Hearing that thought, it made perfect sense to me. Both shows are steeped in worlds where the inhabitants are confronted on all sides by the “real” world trying to dash their idealistic goals, and both shows motivate us, the audience, to believe that aspiring to our “impossible dream” is a route to change for good.
Sharing an intensity of purpose, the two shows are very different in scope: Les Misérables allows us to feel the yearning and passion of the oppressed through the strength of a dense, anthemic score, often voiced by a full bodied chorus. The yearning and passion of Man of La Mancha is, for me, presented in an even more impactful way – through its intimacy. An intimacy that touches and inspires us as individuals. It is that intimacy which empowers audiences to leave the theater knowing that, wherever the wild winds of fortune carry us, we will continue to pursue “the unreachable star.”
By CONNIE CORRICK, School Programs Manager