published Thursday, July 11th, 2013

Jason Ross stars in 'Man of La Mancha' — July 11-Sept. 27

Lauren Marshall-Murphy, Greg Pendzick and Jason Ross, from left, star in "Man of La Mancha," opening today at the Cumberland County Playhouse.
Lauren Marshall-Murphy, Greg Pendzick and Jason Ross, from left, star in "Man of La Mancha," opening today at the Cumberland County Playhouse.
Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

IF YOU GO

What: "Man of La Mancha"

When: July 11-Sept. 27

Where: Cumberland County Playhouse, 221 Tennessee Ave., Crossville, Tenn.

Admission: $25 adults, $24 seniors, $12 children

Phone: 931-484-5000

Website: www.ccplayhouse.com

A gallant knight. His faithful servant. A damsel in distress.

This summer, Cumberland County Playhouse in Crossville, Tenn., invites entry to the dramatic yet funny world of writer Miguel de Cervantes as he weaves his knightly tale and transforms into Don Quixote in "The Man of La Mancha."

The musical, inspired by Cervantes' 17th-century masterpiece "Don Quixote," is set in a prison in 1930s Spain during the Spanish Civil War. As the idealistic, perhaps foolish, Cervantes waits to be tried by Franco's fascist regime, he weaves the story of the "mad" knight, Quixote. His fellow prisoners function as both audience and characters in this play within a play.

Baritone Jason Ross portrays Cervantes/Quixote, hilariously paired with tenor Gregory Pendzick as his faithful servant, Sancho.

Memorable songs from the Tony Award-winning score include "The Impossible Dream" and "Man of La Mancha" as well as the tender "Dulcinea," with which Ross' knight courts soprano Lauren Marshall, playing the common wench Aldonza.

As Quixote sallies forth into battle, Ross leads the cast of prisoners, guards, wenches, muleteers and even noble steeds in a journey from a harsh, unjust world to one of idealism, sacrifice and faithfulness. On this quest, he battles 16th-century windmills, dances with gypsies and woos his "lady" as he imagines becoming a valiant knight.

In featured roles are Quinn Cason, John Dobbratz, Daniel Black, Kathryn Berman, Lindy Pendzick and Carol Irvin, supported by a company of Playhouse resident professionals and interns. The show is directed by Britt Hancock, a veteran of multiple national tours, with music from maestro Ron Murphy and the CCP theater orchestra. John Fionte has created the prison setting. Leila Nelson is assistant director/choreographer.

"Man of La Mancha" is rated PG-13 for stage violence. It opens today, July 11, and runs through Friday, Sept. 27. Show times vary.

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