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cropped-lia-chang_photo-by-garth-kravits-r1Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Chatting with Talia Thiesfield, Aldonza in The Ivoryton Playhouse’s Production of MAN OF LA MANCHA, September 7 – October 2

Talia Thiesfield

Talia Thiesfield

Talia Thiesfield is starring as Aldonza opposite David Pittsinger as Don Quixote in The Ivoryton Playhouse’s production of MAN OF LA MANCHA, Wednesday, September 7th – Sunday, October 2th. Opening night is Friday, September 9th.

MAN OF LA MANCHA will be helmed by David Edwards, choreographed by Todd Underwood and will feature musical direction by Paul Feyer.

Written by Dale Wasserman, with music by Mitch Leigh and lyrics by Joe Darion, MAN OF LA MANCHA is the Winner of 5 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and is based on Cervantes’ masterpiece Don Quixote, The musical tells of the adventures of a delusional Spanish knight who sallies forth on a quest to restore chivalry to the world, and to claim his lady love.

Ms. Thiesfield has appeared Off-Broadway in Marie Christine;  regionally in LMNOP (Goodspeed Musicals), Venice (Center Theatre Group), Smokey Joe’s Café, Violet & Measure For Measure (CT Rep), Romeo & Juliet, Nine, Seven Guitars; and in Los Angeles in Denis Leary’s Rescue Me Comedy TourCoachella Music Festival (w/ The Kills), and Stephen Schwartz – Making Good (Ford Amphitheatre, dir. Billy Porter). She has appeared on the TV shows “Limitless,” “Veep,” “Manhattan Love Story,” and  “The Following”. She has a BFA in Acting from the University of Connecticut, and an MFA from the University of California Irvine.

Below is my interview with Talia.

Lia: You are starring as Aldonza, a major role in a classic musical. How do you feel about that responsibility and tackling such iconic material?
Talia: It truly is an honor. As cliché as that may sound, it’s true! Roles like Aldonza, Evita, Fantine…these iconic female roles are so special to us because they represent the strength and perseverance inherent in all women.  They tell stories of women who endure and thrive through harrowing struggles and find dignity in their brokenness.  That resonates a lot with me, so I think this is going to be a very cathartic experience.  My intention is to move the audience with Aldonza’s story more so than with just a pretty song.

Lia: What does it mean to you to be playing on your home turf?
Talia: Oh, I love going back to Connecticut. I grew up there, my family is still there…it’s great. And I couldn’t be going back at a better time. I love CT in the Fall.

Lia: How do you plan on balancing your studying for the role, and your usual inclination to socialize with your cast mates?
Talia: I’ve actually been stressing out about this! I’m such a social person and I love hanging out and laughing into the wee hours.  But that definitely needs to be kept to a minimum this time around.  Taking on a heavy role such as this will require me to spend more nights in with a cup of tea, and fewer nights out with a glass of wine!  Once we get into our run and in the swing of things, I’m sure I’ll be more comfortable hanging out, but during the rehearsal process I’ll probably be a bit of a hermit.

Lia: What else have you been working on?
Talia: While rehearsing and performing in Man of La Mancha, I will simultaneously be participating in this year’s NBC Diversity Showcase where I will have the opportunity to perform for major network and industry executives.

I recently had the pleasure of working on some of my favorite TV shows like HBO’s VEEP and LIMTLESS on CBS.  I also recently recorded the Sony Masterworks world premiere soundtrack for Polkadots: The Cool Kids Musical (by Douglas Lyons, Melvin Tundstall III, and Greg Borowsky) after originating the role for the preliminary workshops, demos, and presentations. Coincidentally, Polkadots premiered an educational run of the show with Ivoryton Playhouse only four months ago!

UCONN Today: All the World’s a Stage for Alumna Talia Thiesfield

The cast of MAN OF LA MANCHA also features Amy Buckley as Antonia, David Edwards as Dr. Carrasco, Brian Michael Hoffman as Sancho, Matthew Krob as Padre, Melissa McLean as Housekeeper/Maria and James Van Treuren as Governor/Innkeeper. Brian Binion, Ryan Cavanaugh, AJ Hunsucker, James Ludlum, Conor McGiffin, Stephen Mir round out the ensemble.

The creative team includes scenic design by Daniel Nischan, lighting design by Marcus Abbott, sound design by Tate Burmeister and costume design by Liz Cipollina, with James Joseph Clark as Stage Manager.

Performance times for MAN OF LA MANCHA are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2pm; evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30pm, Friday and Saturday at 8pm.

Tickets are $50 for adults, $45 for seniors, $22 for students and $17 for children and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860.767.7318 or by visiting our website at (Group rates are available by calling the box office for information.) The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.

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