Most actors have roles that they dream about tackling, and talented singer and actor Ryan Hardiman
gets to tackle one of his favorites, as Man of La Mancha
takes the stage at Huntington's City Hall Friday at 8 p.m., with Ryan tackling the title role as Don Quixote and also doing double duty as Cervantes
, the author of that famous book.
Ryan took the time to take part in an e-interview to talk about the show:Q: This show has been at the top of your "want" list for a while - what makes it so special for you? Ryan:
I know a show has impact if it can affect me anytime, anywhere. I remember mowing the lawn last summer while listening to the soundtrack to Man of La Mancha
... the ending is so emotional and stirring that I just burst into tears in my yard. So embarrassing.Man of La Mancha
has been on my wish list forever. It didn't look like anyone would ever produce it locally, and I understand it hasn't been done in Huntington in over 30 years. That boggled my mind, because it is such a classic, and to me, it's at the TOP of the list of classics.
This is a beautiful story of a man who sees all of the madness and pain in the world and rejects reality in an effort to change the world for the better. The show is set in a prison where Cervantes
and his manservant have been deposited to await their trial before the Spanish Inquisition. The other prisoners immediately try to steal or destroy their possessions, including the original manuscript for Don Quixote De La Mancha
In a desperate effort to save the only copy of his novel, Cervantes convinces them to allow him to plead his case by means of enacting a play. Then unfold the adventures of Don Quixote as a show within a show. This is an ingenious gimmick in that the whole play takes place in the prison, and the prisoners take on roles in the story, using the contents of the prison and of Cervantes' theatrical trunk.
This show makes you believe anything is possible. The world seems so corrupt and unjust today, and even though I think most of us would like to change things, it feels to me as if we're all caught in a machine... It seems that the way of the the world is set in stone and there's not really anything one person can do to overcome it. Man of La Mancha
shows us that one person can make a difference. We can refuse to accept a life of wickedness and injustice. We can choose too see life as it ought to be, forge a different path, and inspire others to join us.
I'm drawn to certain shows very strongly, and some not at all. This is one of my all time favorite shows. I'm so glad that 5th Avenue Theatre Company chose to produce Man of La Mancha
. I feel very lucky to have been chosen for this role, and I'm honored and excited to share the stage with this cast. My daughter, Chloe, has just moved here from Baltimore, and we get to be in this show together, which makes it even more special. I so appreciate Eddie Harbert, Maxine Loudermilk
and everyone else involved in making this possible.Q: You're tackling a double role here, as Cervantes and Don Quixote - does that make the role more challenging or more fun?Ryan:
The double role is challenging, not only because of the vocals and acting, but because it requires me to flip characters and keep the show moving. I take on the voice, mannerisms and posture of Don Quixote when acting the scenes, but then the scene changes and I snap back into the character of Cervantes, setting the next scene, handing costume pieces and props to the prisoners, or reacting to the looming threat of the inquisition.
In reality, though, ALL of the actors onstage have multiple roles. They each have their role as prisoner and another when they are playing parts in the story of Don Quixote. Some even have triple and quadruple roles, because they play more than one character in the story.Q: Why would you recommend this show to our readers?Ryan:
Audiences will experience an inspiring, beautiful story, told with humor and tenderness. The music is infectious and ranges from stirring anthems, beautiful ballads and comical tunes. The original 1965 Broadway production ran for 2,328 performances and won five Tony Awards and the musical has been revived numerous times, becoming one of the most enduring works of musical theatre.
The best known songs include "Impossible Dream," "Dulcinea," Little Bird" and "I, Don Quixote (Man of La Mancha)" but all of the songs are great! There's not one weak song in the show, and it's so hard not to get them stuck in your head. The cast is strong, with a lot of familiar faces including Marina Jurica
and Dave Benton
from WSAZ, and theatre veteran Mike Murdock
, all of whom are extremely talented. The unit set, designed by Todd Preston
, is impressive with a staircase that is lowered into the prison.
I think it is a good choice for families as well. (We even have a school performance of this one.) The movie, starring Peter O'Toole
and Sophia Loren
, was rated PG, and there is nothing in the show that wasn't in the film. This is a show that will make people feel good, and renew hope.Q: Tell us the dates, times and place for the show.Ryan: Man of La Mancha
presented by 5th Avenue Theatre Company, runs Friday and Saturday, Oct. 16-17 at 8 p.m., with a Sunday matinee on Oct. 18 at 2:30 p.m., and returns for a final weekend Oct. 23-24 at 8 p.m. with a matinee Oct. 25 at 2:30 p.m.
The show is staged at the Jean Carlo Stephenson Auditorium in Huntington City Hall, 800 5th Ave., Huntington. Reserved seating Tickets: $10 Adults / $8 Children 12 and under. Reservations and info: 304-696-5522
(you are not paying with a credit card over the phone, they will simply hold seats for you and you'll pick them up and pay for tickets when you arrive before the show. Calling in advance just ensures that you'll get good seats.) Thanks, Ryan!