Man of La Mancha starring Davis Gaines at VPAC

Man of La Mancha is one of the most powerful productions ever created for the musical theater. It is a story told from a Spanish Inquisition jail cell by author Cervantes about Don Quixote, the Man of La Mancha in pursuit of the impossible dream. The songs include the classic “The Impossible Dream,” which needs to be sung by an extraordinary performer in the lead. Fortunately, there’s Davis Gaines.

Gaines fills the title role in a must-see performance at the Valley Performing Arts Center’s production May 5 to 7, on the campus of California State University, Northridge, home to the magnificent VPAC entertainment complex.

Davis Gaines as Don Quixote
(photo credit: Musical Theatre West)

Noted for his long-running performances in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera, on Broadway, Los Angeles and in San Francisco, Davis Gaines’ credits from Broadway and national companies make up a treasure trove of great musicals. And he is excited to reprise his Ovation Award-winning role as Don Quixote in “The La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts & McCoy Rigby Entertainment” production of Man of La Mancha at VPAC.

Gaines explained, “Besides having the opportunity to visit the beautiful Valley Performing Arts Center in Northridge, this production will be made up of one of the most talented group of actors with whom I’ve had the pleasure of working. All consummate actors, great singers and storytellers. We are guided by the vision of our terrific director, Glenn Casale, who urges us to find the truth at the core of this classic musical and to tell the story with honesty and simplicity. It really is a story for the ages and the themes still resonate, especially in the world in which we are living today.”

The director Glenn Casale is best known for his Tony nominated Best Revival on Broadway, Peter Pan starring Cathy Rigby. It was filmed by A&E and garnered two Emmy Awards. In addition, the cast of Man of La Mancha features Nikki Crawford as Aldonza, Roland Rusinek as Sancho, and Rich Hebert as Padre. The acclaimed Man of La Mancha has the book by Dale Wasserman, lyrics by Joe Darion, music by Mitch Leigh, musical direction by Jeff Rizzo, and choreography by Patti Colombo.

After playing the role five years ago, Gaines said he is looking forward to “re-visiting” Don Quixote. “I remember it being one of my favorite roles of all time and can’t wait to dive in again, especially with a different perspective and a new production and vision for the show.”


Gaines revealed it is a challenging role on many levels. “I play two different characters, Cervantes and Quixote, and it requires switching back and forth, throughout, as Cervantes ‘acts out’ the story of Quixote with the help of his fellow prisoners. I’m on stage most of the show, driving much of the action and the story, so it can be intense and requires great focus and stamina. But then, of course, I also get to sing one of the most recognized and best loved songs of all time, ‘The Impossible Dream.’ You can’t get much better than that!”

Man of La Mancha has the message of hope as we follow our impossible dreams, but Gaines believes there another message in the timely story.

Gaines said, “I believe Quixote teaches us to treat everyone with respect and kindness, to see the world ‘not how it is, but how it should be’ and to be ‘just to all men and courteous to all women.’ I think one of my favorite lines of Quixote is his response to Aldonza’s question–‘Why do you do these ridiculous things?’ He answers simply, ‘I hope to add some measure of grace to the world’”

“The La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts & McCoy Rigby Entertainment” production of Man of La Mancha starring Davis Gaines has four performances May 5 to 7 at the Valley Performing Arts Center (VPAC). Afterwards the show will be presented from June 2 to 25 at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts in La Mirada, California.

“We are delighted to welcome Davis Gaines back to VPAC surrounded by this stellar cast in Man of La Mancha and I can’t think of a more exciting way to have him once again grace the VPAC stage” said Thor Steingraber, Executive Director of VPAC. The Valley Performing Arts Center is located on the campus of California State University, Northridge (CSUN), 18111 Nordhoff Street, Northridge, CA 91330.

For VPAC tickets for Man of La Mancha, May 5 to 7, call 818-677-3000 or visit


Margie Barron has written for a wide variety of outlets including Gannett newspapers, Nickelodeon, Tiger Beat and 16 Magazine, Fresh!, Senior Life, Production Update, airline magazines, etc. Margie is also proud to have been half of the husband & wife writing team Frank & Margie Barron, who had written together for various entertainment and travel publications for more than 38 years.