2017-2018 is an exciting time for downtown Amarillo. Anchored by the Globe-News Center for the Arts and fueled by the opening of the new Embassy Suites convention hotel, new restaurants, retail spaces and parking, Amarillo is being transformed into a destination for arts lovers from around the region.
To celebrate this transformation, Amarillo Opera has mounted a season highlighting the very best that Texas has to offer.
Our spring production, Man of La Mancha, stars Texas City native Ron Raines in the role of Don Quixote. Raines, who graduated from Nacogdoches High School in Nacogdoches, Texas, has had a stellar career on stage spanning decades.
Dividing his time between the stage, screen and recording studio, Ron Raines has established himself as one of Broadway's most venerable leading men. Raines recently thrilled Broadway audiences with his Tony Award nominated performance as Ben Stone in the much-heralded revival of Sondheim's Follies. In 2014, Raines appeared on Broadway as the iconic Daddy Warbucks in the revival of Annie, Joseph Pulitzer in Disney's hit musical Newsies, and Isidor Straus in the critically acclaimed Lincoln Center revival of Maury Yeston's Titanic.
Additional performances on Broadway include Billy Flynn in Chicago, Gaylord Ravenal in Show Boat, and Nick Longworth in Teddy & Alice. Raines' prolific career includes appearances nationally and internationally in productions of South Pacific, Annie, Kiss Me, Kate, Can-Can, Brigadoon, Oklahoma!,
The King and I, Carousel, The Pajama Game, Guys and Dolls, A Little Night Music, Kismet, and Man of La Mancha.
On screen, his 15-year tenure as Alan Spaulding on CBS' Guiding Light earned him three Emmy Award and Soap Opera Digest Award nominations. His singing has been featured in four PBS Great Performances national telecasts and an Evening at Pops! telecast with Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops. Last season, Raines guest-starred on the hit CBS' dramas Person of Interest and Elementary.
A prolific discography includes nearly thirty recordings, among them successful solo albums Broadway Passion and So In Love With Broadway; thirteen complete cast recordings, and the Grammy Award nominated 2012 recording of Sondheim's Follies with Bernadette Peters, Elaine Paige, Jan Maxwell and Danny Burstein.
Raines has appeared with virtually every major symphony and pops orchestra, with San Francisco Opera, Dallas Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Santa Fe Opera, New York City Opera, Michigan Opera Theater, Opera Pacific, Opera Theater of Saint Louis, and in 2014 joined the roster of the Metropolitan Opera for Susan Stroman's new production of The Merry Widow.
Synopsis of Man of La Mancha
Based on The Adventures of Don Quixote, by Miguel the Cervantes y Saavedra, Man of La Mancha is a comic tragedy of mankind's struggle to better both himself and the world in which he lives. When Cervantes started writing he intended a satirical burlesque of the then fashionable novels of chivalry; gradually the author's sympathies changed, and the novel developed into a deeper, broader and more compassionate account of the adventures of and eccentric idealist in a hostile, greedy and cynical world, which leads the reader to the conclusion that if Don Quixote is a fool it is because the world does not live up to his ideals. This feeling is perfectly reflected in this beautiful musical version of the story.
As with all the best allegorical tales, the oppressive mood of the fight against eternal evil is heightened by the sometimes comic, sometimes dramatic attempts of the hero to right all the wrongs of the world, and although his efforts at times seem puny and pathetic, the audience is left in no doubt as to the purity of intent that he instils into his self-imposed crusade.
At times both inspiring and thought provoking, the story is both very entertaining and very moving, and will warm the heart of everyone whose spirits were ever raised by the prospect of a victory by the underdog against all the odds.
The score is a musical delight, and contains one of the most moving moments in musical theatre as Don Quixote relates his personal credo in "The Impossible Dream".
Tax collector, soldier, author Miguel de Cervantes and his man, Sancho, are cast into the prison common room by the Spanish Inquisition because they foreclosed on a church in default with its taxes. The thieves and robbers in the prison are quick to descend upon the new arrivals and ravish their possessions.
Cervantes concedes everything but a carefully wrapped package of papers that he begs of the prisoners he should be allowed to win back by convincing them that it is of value only to himself.
The prisoners agree and assist him in dramatizing the fantasies of Cervantes' classic character, Don Quixote. As the knight-errant he tilts at windmills and champions an unwilling harlot named Aldonza. To Quixote's "touched" mind she is the fair maiden Dulcinea, and through his kind words and attention she begins to believe in a better way of life. Together with Sancho they band together to rout the muleteers' attempt to torment Aldonza. For his valor Quixote persuades the lord of the castle (the innkeeper) to knight him. It is following this dubbing that the muleteers catch Aldonza alone and brutally assault her. Meanwhile, Quixote's family has sent the daughter's fiancé Dr. Carrasco, to bring Quixote back to his senses and his home. Posing as the Knight of Mirrors, Carrasco succeeds.
Reality is so inhumane that the old man is soon near death. Aldonza has found his home to beg forgiveness for her ingratitude. As Don Quixote, he has brought beauty and warmth to her life for the first time. The old man rallies to Quixote's idealism, but his frail body succumbs in his last moment of triumph. Moved by his story, the prisoners vote that the tale of Don Quixote shall live. They return the manuscript just as Cervantes is called before the Inquisition.
A cast of nationally and internationally acclaimed artists (including Mikki Sodergren as Aldonza, Michael J. Farina as Sancho, Brent Reilly Turner as the Padre, Sarah Beckham Turner as Antonia) will work with a supporting cast of regional singers (including Zeke Lewis as Dr. Carrasco, Candace Carpenter as The Housekeeper, Eric Macias as The Barber, Job Najera as Pedro, Clay Stribling as The Innkeeper, Jesse Melson as Anselmo, and Diana Barr as Maria, The Innkeeper's Wife), orchestra members, and theatrical technicians in a virtual master/apprentice working environment to bring Man of La Mancha to life at the Globe-News Center for the Performing Art.
The project will be led by Amarillo Opera’s Principal Guest Conductor Andy Anderson, who debuted with the company in 2008 conducting Carlisle Floyd’s Cold Sassy Tree and returned to conduct The Pirates of Penzance in the Spring of 2016. Our director is Dean Anthony, the accomplished actor/singer turned director who is a perennial favorite with our regional artists.