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Man of La Mancha

Man of La Mancha
Playbill Man of La Mancha.jpg
Original Playbill
Music Mitch Leigh
Lyrics Joe Darion
Book Dale Wasserman
Basis I, Don Quixote (teleplay) by Dale Wasserman and Don Quixote (novel) by Miguel de Cervantes
Productions 1965 Goodspeed Opera House
1965 Broadway
International productions
1968 West End
1972 Broadway revival
1972 Film
1977 Broadway revival
1992 Broadway revival
2002 Broadway revival
Awards Tony Award for Best Musical
Tony Award for Best Score

Man of La Mancha is a 1964 musical with a book by Dale Wasserman, lyrics by Joe Darion, and music by Mitch Leigh. It is adapted from Wasserman's non-musical 1959 teleplay I, Don Quixote, which was in turn inspired by Miguel de Cervantes and his seventeenth-century masterpiece Don Quixote. It tells the story of the "mad" knight, Don Quixote, as a play within a play, performed by Cervantes and his fellow prisoners as he awaits a hearing with the Spanish Inquisition. The work is not, and does not pretend to be, a faithful rendition of either Cervantes' life or of Don Quixote. Wasserman complained repeatedly about taking the work as a musical version of Don Quixote.

The original 1965 Broadway production ran for 2,328 performances and won five Tony Awards, including Best Musical. The musical has been revived four times on Broadway, becoming one of the most enduring works of musical theatre.

The principal song, "The Impossible Dream", became a standard. The musical has played in many other countries around the world, with productions in Dutch, French (translation by Jacques Brel), German, Hebrew, Irish, Japanese, Korean, Icelandic, Gujarati, Uzbek, Bulgarian, Hungarian, Serbian, Slovenian, Swahili, Finnish, Ukrainian and nine distinctly different dialects of the Spanish language.

Man of La Mancha was first performed at the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, Connecticut in 1965, and had its New York premiere on the thrust stage of the ANTA Washington Square Theatre in 1965.

Man of La Mancha started as a non-musical teleplay written by Dale Wasserman for CBS's DuPont Show of the Month program. This original telecast starred Lee J. Cobb, Colleen Dewhurst (who replaced Viveca Lindfors), and Eli Wallach, and was not performed on a thrust stage, but on a television sound stage. The DuPont Corporation disliked the title Man of La Mancha, thinking that its viewing audience would not know what La Mancha actually meant, so a new title, I, Don Quixote, was chosen. The play was broadcast live on November 9, 1959, with an estimated audience of 20 million. Unfortunately, due to the production being staged in the early days of videotape, and due to the inferiority of kinescopes, no footage of this production survives.

Year Award Ceremony Category Nominee Result
1966 Tony Award Best Musical Won
Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical Richard Kiley Won
Best Direction of a Musical Albert Marre Won
Best Original Score Mitch Leigh and Joe Darion Won
Best Choreography Jack Cole Nominated
Best Scenic Design Howard Bay Won
Best Costume Design Howard Bay and Patton Campbell Nominated
Year Award Ceremony Category Nominee Result
1978 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Actor in a Musical Richard Kiley Nominated
Year Award Ceremony Category Nominee Result
2003 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Revival of a Musical Nominated
Outstanding Actor in a Musical Brian Stokes Mitchell Nominated
Tony Award Best Revival of a Musical Nominated
Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical Brian Stokes Mitchell Nominated
Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio Nominated
2004 Grammy Award Best Musical Show Album Nominated

  • 1972 – with Richard Kiley as Cervantes/Quixote, running for 140 performances
  • 1977 – with Richard Kiley as Cervantes/Quixote, Tony Martinez as Sancho Panza and Emily Yancy as Aldonza/Dulcinea, running for 124 performances
  • 1978 – with Richard Kiley as Cervantes/Quixote, Tony Martinez as Sancho Panza and Suzyn Waldman as Aldonza/Dulcinea, running for 192 performances
  • 1979 – with Richard Kiley as Cervantes/Quixote, Tony Martinez as Sancho Panza and Suzyn Waldman as Aldonza/Dulcinea, running for 240 performances
  • 1992 – with Raúl Juliá as Cervantes/Quixote and Sheena Easton as Aldonza/Dulcinea, running for 108 performances. Easton was replaced, late in the run, by Joan Diener.
  • 2002 – with Brian Stokes Mitchell as Cervantes/Quixote, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as Aldonza/Dulcinea, and Ernie Sabella as Sancho Panza, running for 304 performances; Marin Mazzie took over as Aldonza (Dulcinea) on July 1, 2003. This production featured Scenic and Costume Design by Paul Brown, Lighting Design by Paul Gallo, Sound design by Tony Meola and Projection design by Elaine J. McCarthy.
  • "Overture"
  • "Man of La Mancha" – Don Quixote, Sancho
  • "Food, Wine, Aldonza!" – Muleteers
  • "It's All the Same" – Aldonza
  • "Dulcinea" – Don Quixote
  • "I'm Only Thinking of Him" – Antonia, Padre, Housekeeper
  • "We're Only Thinking of Him" – Antonia, Carasco, Padre, Housekeeper
  • "The Missive" – Sancho
  • "I Really Like Him" – Sancho
  • "What Does He Want of Me?" – Aldonza
  • "Little Bird, Little Bird" – Muleteers
  • "Barber's song" – Barber
  • "Golden Helmet of Mambrino" – Don Quixote, Sancho & Barber
  • "To Each His Dulcinea" – Padre
  • "The Impossible Dream" – Don Quixote
  • "The Combat (instrumental)" – orchestra
  • "The Dubbing" – Innkeeper, Aldonza & Sancho
  • "Knight of the Woeful Countenance" - Innkeeper
  • "Little Bird, Little Bird (reprise)" leading into an instrumental entitled...
  • "The Abduction" – Muleteers
  • "The Impossible Dream (reprise)" – Don Quixote
  • "Man of La Mancha (reprise)" – Don Quixote
  • "Moorish Dance (instrumental)" – Moors
  • "Aldonza" – Aldonza
  • "Knight of the Mirrors (choreographed instrumental sequence)" – orchestra
  • "A Little Gossip" – Sancho
  • "Dulcinea (reprise)" – Aldonza
  • "The Impossible Dream (reprise)" – Aldonza & Don Quixote
  • "Man of La Mancha (reprise)" – Don Quixote, Aldonza & Sancho
  • "The Psalm" – Padre
  • "Finale Ultimo: The Impossible Dream (reprise)" – Company
  • A French adaptation premiered at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées on December 11, 1968. Belgian singer-songwriter Jacques Brel translated the songs and played the lead (the only time he ever adapted songs written by other writers or appeared in a stage musical). Joan Diener reprised her role as Aldonza (this time singing in French). It was recorded and issued in 1968 as the album L'Homme de la Mancha.
  • Another French version based on Brel's translation was produced in Liège in 1998 and 1999 with José van Dam in the lead role.
  • In March 2012, French baritone David Serero performed the lead of role of Don Quixote in a new production, produced by himself, in Paris and Deauville.
  • Korean production first opened on Haeorum Theater of the National Theater of Korea in 2005, under the name Don Quixote. Ryu Jung-han and Kim Seong-ki starred as the main character.
  • On 2007 production, this time staged in its original name, Jo Seung-woo and Jung Sung-hwa starred as Quixote/Cervantes. They reprised their roles a year later and in 2010.
  • Multiple stars played the titular role in the 2012 production, including Hwang Jung-min (who had to step down due to him directing and starring in a production of Sondheim's Assassins, and was replaced by Ryu Jung-han), Seo Bum-suk, and Hong Kwang-ho.
  • Jung Sung-hwa and Jo Seung-woo played the main character in 2013 production.
  • On 2015 production, marking the tenth anniversary of the musical's first performance in Korea, Jo and Ryu returned in the lead role.
  • The first Spanish production opened in 1966 in Madrid, Spain, starring as Aldonza and the great Spanish baritone as Quixote/Cervantes. A cast album was released by Columbia Records featuring four songs, all except the last sung by Sagi-Vela: "The Impossible Dream", "Dulcinea", "Little Bird", and "What Do You Want From Me".
  • The first Mexican production ran 1969–1970 at Teatro Manolo Fábregas, with Mistral reprising her acclaimed Aldonza, Claudio Brook as Quixote/Cervantes, and Oscar Pulido as Sancho. The best-selling cast recording was issued by MCA/Decca on LP, and was later re-issued on CD by Honda Music International.
  • José Sacristán and Paloma San Basilio starred in an acclaimed Madrid revival, El Hombre de la Mancha, in 1998. A 2-disc cast album was issued by EMI-Odeón, recorded live at Teatro Lope de Vega.
  • In the 2004 production, the musical opened in the Teatro Caldedrón (Madrid). The production was also on tour throughout Spain, finishing in Barcelona.
  • The first Swedish production opened September 1, 1967 at Malmö Stadsteater (now Malmö Opera). Starring in the three lead roles were Lars Ekman, Maj Lindström and K G Lindström.
  • A Cantonese production entitled "The Heroic Spirit of a Warrior" opened in 1982 in Hong Kong, starred Yiu Tsang-Pak as the leading role. Another Cantonese production with a new title "Sleepwalking Knight of La Mancha" opened in Hong Kong in 2004, with Yiu Tsang-Pak returning as the leading role. The book was re-translated by Rupert Chan.
  • The first Mandarin Chinese production of the musical opened Dec. 2015 in Shanghai, China, starring Kain Liu as Don Quixote/Cervantes. This production used "I, Don Quixote" as title, and was directed by American director Joseph Graves. In May 2016, the show premiered in Beijing with Kain Liu repeating the title role.


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