In Man of La Mancha, playwright Dale Wasserman takes a more meta approach to the source material, Miguel de Cervantes's Don Quixote, originally published in the early 1600s. The fictionalized author Cervantes is the main character of the show. While in prison during the Spanish Inquisition, he is forced to act out parts of Don Quixote for the other inmates. This story-within-a-story of Don Quixote's musical misadventures — rife with love, chivalry, and of course, four-armed giants — unfurls into something more transcendent: a beacon of hope in a dire world.
Director Julia Rodriguez-Elliott's adaptation of Man of La Mancha is set in a contemporary prison to challenge the audience with a world both recognizable and filled with foreboding. Under the collective power of the characters' imaginations, prison walls dissipate into a modern-day triumph that defies all odds.