Fairfield Warde High School will present three performances of the Tony Award-winning musical "Man of LaMancha" next weekend in the school auditorium. Performances are planned this Friday through Saturday in the auditorium of the high school, corner of Melville Avenue and Knapps Highway.
Set during the Spanish Inquisition, the comedic tragedy features a play within a play, and its best-known song is the ballad "The Impossible Dream."
Among the other songs are "Dulcinea" and "Little Bird, Little Bird."
The plot focuses on the writer Miguel de Cervantes, author of the 17th century masterpiece "Don Quixote," who is thrown into a Seville dungeon and charged with offenses against the Church. His fellow prisoners stage a mock trial, and the "court" agrees to let him present his defense in the form of a play based on his unfinished manuscript of "Don Quixote."
Cervantes and his man-servant don costumes and become the insane Don Quixote and his sidekick Sancho Panza; other prisoners take the roles of other characters.
In the play within the play, Quixote and Sancho take to the road in a quest to battle all evil -- including an offensive windmill. At a seedy inn, Quixote meets Aldonza, the inn's wretched serving girl, and he sees in her nothing but perfection. He names her his lady Dulcinea and swears to honor her forever.
The wench, however, will have nothing of it and condemns Quixote for his refusal to see her -- and life -- as it really is. It is only at the end of the stories -- both Quixote's and Cervantes' -- that she and the others come to understand that within Quixote's lunacy is the only truth worth living.
In Warde's production, Johnny Shea plays the lead role of Cervantes/Don Quixote, with Connor Frawley as Sancho and Diana Barlaam as Aldonza/Dulcinea. Also featured are Lindsey Reuter, Emily Wood, Eric Regan, Zach Roberge, Cara Brundage, Bailey Kenny and Cassidy Tarcazli.
The musical opened on Broadway in 1965 and won five Tony Awards, including Best Musical and best original score. Its original six-year run included more than 2,300 performances. There have been two Broadway revivals.
The musical was first performed in Connecticut in 1964 at the Goodspeed Opera House in Chester. It moved from there to Broadway.
"MAN OF LA MANCHA" AT WARDE
What: Award-winning musical staged by Fairfield Warde High School students
Where: Warde auditorium
When: at 8 p.m. Friday, May 4; at 8 p.m. Saturday, May 5, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 6
Tickets: $10, available at the door only