Man of La Mancha

Written by Dale Wasserman
Music by Mitch Leigh    Lyrics by Joe Darion
Original Production Staged by Albert Marre
Originally Produced by Albert W. Selden
and Hal James

The great American musical that won five Tony Awards® on Broadway will inspire you and lift your spirits!

Opera News praises Man of La Mancha for its “warmth and wit,” “full-bodied, Spanish-tinged score,” and “genuine dramatic depth,” but you will love it for how it makes you feel.

Author Miguel de Cervantes is about to go before the Spanish inquisition. In this play-within-a-play, he invites his fellow prisoners to “enter into his imagination.” Assuming the character of Don Quixote, he engages them all in a tale of chivalry, undoing wrongs, and bringing justice to the world. With songs like “The Impossible Dream,” it remains one of the most enduring—and endearing—works of American musical theater.

Sung in English with text projected above the stage.

Download the Keller Auditorium seating map.


Cervantes/Don Quixote

Jason Howard

Sancho Panza
Reggie Lee


Tara Venditti

Aaron Short

Kate Farrar

AnDee Compton

Duke/Dr. Carrasco
Ryan Thorn

Damian Norfleet

David Warner

Joseph Michael Muir
José Rubio
Joel Walker
Feliciano Tencos-Garcia
Anders J Tobiason
Timothy Lafolette

Dru Rutledge

Captain of the Inquisition
Tim Blough

Beth Madsen Bradford


George Manahan


Alan Paul

Lighting Designer
Robert Wierzel

David Marquez

Sound Designer
Kai Harada

Plot & Program Notes

Man of La Mancha was the first true “concept musical,” in that the over-arching idea or theme is almost more important than the narrative. It was an enormous success with both audiences and critics when it first appeared on Broadway, winning won five Tony Awards ®, including “best musical.”

Like the great lyric works of Rodgers and Hammerstein, Jerome Kern, George Gershwin, and Stephen Sondheim, Man of La Mancha has entered the operatic canon, and is now regularly performed by opera companies who can do justice to its stirring dramatic melodies sung by fully trained lyric voices, accompanied by a full orchestra.

The piece is inspired by Miguel Cervantes’ great novel Don Quixote, but librettist Dale Wasserman framed his tale as a play within a play, and included the character of Cervantes himself. We first meet him in prison, where he is awaiting trial by the Spanish Inquisition. Cervantes presents the story of Don Quixote to his fellow prisoners, who in turn participate in telling the tale, enacting its many colorful roles.

With credits including numerous principal roles at the Royal Opera House, Paris Opera, Chicago Lyric Opera, and more, Welsh baritone Jason Howard is recognized as one of the UK’s leading performers on the international operatic stage. He has received global acclaim for not only his operatic roles, but also his Broadway roles. Howard will make his Portland Opera debut as Don Quixote. Tara Venditti is making her Portland Opera debut as Aldonza, the object of Don Quixote’s reverential love. From the Royal Opera House to Glimmerglass, Venditti is praised for both her beautiful, rich voice and her stage presence alike.

Music Director George Manahan will conduct a score that the Chicago Tribune credits with the “unusual rewards” of “not the typical violin sections but a percussive-heavy combination of brass, woodwinds and flamenco-style guitars.”

Director Alan Paul is the Associate Artistic Director of The Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, DC (Recipient of the 2012 Regional Theater Tony Award). In 2014, he received a Helen Hayes nomination for Best Director for Man of La Mancha.