‘LaMancha’ is a special play for director

Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill gives her complete attention to any production about to be staged at Capita

Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill gives her complete attention to any production about to be staged at Capital Repertory Theatre in Albany, but this month’s show is something really special.

“My father died of cancer when I was 14, and I had finished reading this book while he was fighting the disease,” she said, referring to Miguel de Cervantes’ novel, “Don Quixote,” the book that the musical “Man of La Mancha” is based on.

“There was something remarkable about the book and it really hit me personally. We were still hoping when it was beyond hope. I was captivated by the heart and the imagination of the story, and it has stayed with me all these years.”

“Man of La Mancha” begins Friday night at Capital Rep, and along with deciding to direct the show herself, Mancinelli-Cahill also persuaded Broadway veteran and Hoosick Falls native Kevin McGuire to play the lead character. The founder of The Theatre Company at Hubbard Hall in Cambridge in 1998, McGuire left there in 2008 and has been busy lately working between New York City and Columbus, Ohio.

Related story

For a related story on this show, click here.

“Kevin and I have known each other for years, but we had never worked together before,” said Mancinelli-Cahill. “I’m so happy our schedules worked out. He’s a very talented, interesting person, and if he had just walked into one of our New York City auditions, we would consider him a very high-caliber guy. The people he’s worked with and assisted on Broadway is remarkable. He’s one of our local heroes, but he really has an incredible pedigree.”

While New York City talent is one of the big reasons Capital Rep continues to be the premier venue for locally produced stage productions, it is not the only reason.

‘Man of La Mancha’

WHERE: Capital Repertory Theatre, 111 N. Pearl St., Albany

WHEN: Friday through Dec. 17; performance times are 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday; 3 and 8 p.m. Saturday; and 7 p.m. Sunday; check with the theater for special matinees

HOW MUCH: $70-$40

MORE INFO: 445-7469, www.capitalrep.org

“We have so many talented local people in our area,” said Mancinelli-Cahill. “I feel so lucky to have so many of these wonderful people, men and women, around me and working with me.”

There are 17 actors in the cast of Capital Rep’s production of “Man of La Mancha” and even more people working backstage and behind the scenes. Many of them, like choreographer Sue Cicarelli Caputo, musical director Adam Jones, stage manager Liz Reddick and fight choreographer David Bunce, are essential parts of Mancinelli-Cahill’s creative team who live and work in the Capital Region.

Hard worker

“Sue is the salt of the earth and one of the hardest workers I know,” Mancinelli-Cahill said of Caputo, a Clifton Park native who has also performed at Capital Rep as well as the New York State Theatre Institute and Fort Salem Theatre.

“The director has to make the scenes work, but I’m always in awe of what the choreographer does. She’s got to know the steps when she shows up at rehearsal, and Sue and I have been working on this since the summer. I think we’re a pretty good pair in terms of how we think dramatically.”

Roman Tatarowicz (set design), Anna Lacivita (costumes), David Thomas (sound) and Stephen Quandt (lighting) are all based in New York City, as are the two other acting leads in the show, Robert Anthony Jones as Sancho and Anne Fraser Thomas as Aldonza.

But many of the supporting roles are being performed by some of the Capital Region’s most familiar performers, including Shannon Rafferty as Antonia, Joe Phillips as the barber, David Sutton as the padre, Brendan Brierley as Jose, Erin Waterhouse as Maria and Breanna Stangel as the belly dancer.

Freddy Ramirez, who played Bernardo in Barrington Stage Company’s 2007 production of “West Side Story,” also adds some sparkle to the cast as the captain of the muleteers, and just recently moved to the Capital Region.

“He is an incredibly talented individual,” Mancinelli-Cahill said of Ramirez. “He bought a house in Troy because he discovered he can still work down in New York when he wants to but live out of the city and do plenty of work around here.”

Jeffrey Funaro, who plays Anselmo, and Emily Mikesell, who plays the housekeeper, both live downstate but should be familiar to many area theater fans. Funaro has performed at the Mac-Haydn Theater in the past, and Mikesell was at the Lake George Dinner Theatre this summer. Both also play instruments during the show.

“Jeffrey blew us away at his audition, and Emily is also a remarkable musician as well as being a great actor,” said Mancinelli-Cahill. “We only have two musicians in our pit, our musical director Adam Jones and our guitarist Doug Esmond, so to have two actors in the cast who can also play guitar and violin, the trumpet and clarinet, is amazing.”

Categories: Life and Arts

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