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Understanding the method to the madness in 'Man of La Mancha' | Center Stage

The 1960s musical based on the 1600s story still finds new life with audiences today.

LANCASTER, Pa. — Based on the 17th Century book Don Quixote, one of the most popular musicals of the last 60 years might not always be completely understood.

 At least not according to cast members of the production at the Fulton Theatre. They say you'll see something new time.

"When I talk to people who think they know the show, I don't think they actually know the show," said Randy Jeter said, who plays the titular character, Don Quixote, in Man of La Mancha. "People have to do their research to know, this is the Spanish Inquisition. They're in lock down right now."

While the musical is known for its songs and the eternal optimism of Quixote, understanding the darker side is key to see what the character wants to get across.

"Life isn't always roses and petals, you have to be able to muster up the energy to create a better situation for yourself," Jeter said. "We have to see life, as he says it, not as it is, but as the way it ought to be."

The same holds true for the actor behind Quixote's sidekick, Sancho Panza, says. In fact, he believes that we still face similarities to when the original book was written in 1605.

"Our dreams change, our goals change, life changes all the time," Jonathan Arana said. "But even in 1500s Spain, we're all still facing the same challenges. 1500s Spain, written in the 1960s and a post-COVID world."

Whether it's from the iconic songs like The Impossible Dream, or the humor, Arana hopes the audience questions their own impacts after hopefully seeing this show from a new perspective.

"It's about what are you doing with your own life that you are bringing good into this world? Are you bringing hope? Are you bringing joy? Are you bringing grace into the world," Arana questions.

Man of La Mancha runs at the Fulton Theatre now through June 12th.

Across the rest of our area, Oyster Mill Playhouse continues the run of its comedic tale of five insane days rewriting Gone with the Wind in Moonlight and Magnolias. That show ends May 29th.

Little Theatre of Mechanicsburg opens Come Blow Your Horn this weekend.

Coming up in June, the Hanover Little Theatre ends its 73rd season with Spreading it Around.

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