Musical comedy on stage at Northwestern

“Man of La Mancha,” a musical based on Cervantes’ classic novel “Don Quixote,” will be presented by Northwestern College theatre Feb. 14, 15 and 20–22 at 7:30 p.m.; there will also be a 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday, Feb. 22. The musical comedy will be presented in the England Theatre.

Northwestern theatre professor Jeff Barker is directing the production with support from music professor Dr. Tim McGarvey, who is conducting the orchestra. Set in the 16th century in the La Mancha region of Spain, the musical’s main action takes place in a prison where Cervantes has coaxed his fellow prisoners into participating in a drama he has written.

The drama’s lead character, Don Quixote, thinks he is a knight. He and his “squire” sidekick, Sancho, embark on a fanciful adventure, hilariously turning windmills into villainous giants, shaving basins into golden helmets, and the serving wench Aldonza into the virtuous Lady Dulcinea. The musical’s principle song, “The Impossible Dream,” has become a pop standard about the importance of pursuing one’s quest—whether real or imagined.

Northwestern’s “Man of La Mancha” production will explore the chasm between reality and illusion through the use of stylized projections contrasting what is in Quixote’s head with the scenes unfolding on stage.

Seniors Jackson Nickolay, Hovland, Minn., and Rachel Hanson, Cedar Falls, Iowa, will play Don Quixote and Aldonza. Jacob Christiansen, a junior from Omaha, has the role of Sancho. The 13-member cast also includes Kaleigh Schildhouse, a junior from Sioux Center, in roles as a landlady and one of the prisoners.

During the run of the show, art that explores “Man of La Mancha” themes such as idealism and madness will be exhibited in the DeWitt Theatre Arts Center lobby. The third annual Orange City Arts Council Artists’ Showcase will include works by artists from the region; jurors selecting art for the show are artists Rein and Margo Vanderhill, Alton.

The art exhibit is free and open to the public. Tickets for the “Man of La Mancha” musical are $7 for adults and $4 for students. The DeWitt Theatre box office opens Feb. 3 for Theatre Patrons; it is open Feb. 4–22 for the general public.

Musical tickets can be reserved by visiting the box office between 4 and 9 p.m. Monday through Friday or between noon and 5 p.m. on Saturday. The box office can also be reached by phone, 712-707-7098, or e-mail,