|Man of La Mancha|
|Basis||I, Don Quixote (teleplay) by Dale Wasserman and Don Quixote (novel) by Miguel de Cervantes|
|Productions||1965 Goodspeed Opera House (tryout) |
1968 West End
2019 West End Revival
|Awards||Tony Award for Best Musical |
Tony Award for Best Score
Man of La Mancha is a 1965 musical with a book by Dale Wasserman, music by Mitch Leigh, and lyrics by Joe Darion. It is adapted from Wasserman's non-musical 1959 teleplay I, Don Quixote, which was in turn inspired by Miguel de Cervantes and his 17th-century novel 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 Don Quixote. Wasserman complained repeatedly about people 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 Impossible Dream", the principal song in the show, 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, Estonian, Japanese, Korean, Bengali, Gujarati, Uzbek, Bulgarian, Hungarian, Serbian, Slovenian, Swahili, Finnish, Chinese, Ukrainian, Turkish, 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 performed 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. The New York Public Library at Lincoln Center, Billy Rose Collection, has a rare tape of this broadcast.
Years after this television broadcast and after the original teleplay had been unsuccessfully optioned as a non-musical Broadway play, director Albert Marre called Wasserman and suggested that he turn his play into a musical. Mitch Leigh was selected as composer, with orchestrations by Carlyle W. Hall. Unusually for the time, this show was scored for an orchestra with no violins or other traditional orchestral stringed instruments apart from a double bass, instead making heavier use of brass, woodwinds, percussion and utilizing flamenco guitars as the only stringed instruments of any sort.
The original lyricist of the musical was poet W. H. Auden, but his lyrics were discarded, some of them considered too overtly satiric and biting, attacking the bourgeois audience at times. Auden's lyrics were replaced by those of Joe Darion.
The musical first played at the Goodspeed Opera House in Connecticut in 1965. Rex Harrison was to be the original star of this production, but although Harrison had starred in a musical role in the stage and film versions of My Fair Lady, the musical demands of the role of Don Quixote were too heavy for him.
After 22 previews, the musical opened off-Broadway at the experimental thrust-stage ANTA Washington Square Theatre in Greenwich Village on November 22, 1965. The show moved to Broadway to the Martin Beck Theatre on March 20, 1968, then to the Eden Theatre on March 3, 1971, and finally to the Mark Hellinger Theatre on May 26, 1971, for its last month, a total original Broadway run of 2,328 performances. Musical staging and direction were by Albert Marre, choreography was by Jack Cole, and Howard Bay was the scenic and lighting designer, with costumes by Bay and Patton Campbell.
Richard Kiley won a Tony Award for his performance as Cervantes/Quixote in the original production, and it made Kiley a bona fide Broadway star. Kiley was replaced in the original Broadway run by first Jose Ferrer on Broadway and in the 1966 National Tour, and then by operatic baritone David Atkinson. Atkinson also performed Cervantes/Quixote in the 1968 National Tour and for all of the matinee performances in the 1972 Broadway revival, which also starred Kiley.
The original cast also included Irving Jacobson (Sancho), Ray Middleton (Innkeeper), Robert Rounseville (The Padre), and Joan Diener (Aldonza). John Cullum, Hal Holbrook, and Lloyd Bridges also played Cervantes and Don Quixote during the run of the production. Keith Andes also played the role.
The musical was performed on a single set that suggested a dungeon. All changes in location were created by alterations in the lighting, by the use of props supposedly lying around the floor of the dungeon, and by reliance on the audience's imagination. More recent productions, however, have added more scenery.
The original West End London production was at the Piccadilly Theatre, opening on April 24, 1968, and running for 253 performances. Keith Michell starred, with Joan Diener reprising her original role and Bernard Spear as Sancho.
The play has been revived on Broadway four times:
In the film Man of La Mancha (1972), the title role went to Peter O'Toole (singing voice dubbed by Simon Gilbert), James Coco was Sancho, and Sophia Loren was Aldonza.
Hal Linden played Quixote in the show's 1988 U.S. National tour, and Robert Goulet played Quixote in the 1997–98 U.S. National tour.
A studio-made recording of the score was released in 1996, conducted by Paul Gemignani and starring Plácido Domingo as Quixote, Mandy Patinkin as Sancho, Julia Migenes as Aldonza, Jerry Hadley as the Priest and Samuel Ramey as the Innkeeper.
In 2014, Man of La Mancha featured as part of the Stratford Festival in Stratford, Ontario, Canada.
The Shakespeare Theatre Company produced Man of La Mancha as part of their 2014–2015 season. The production starred Anthony Warlow as Quixote and Amber Iman as Aldonza/Dulcinea.
In 2019, the play received a West End revival with a production at the London Coliseum. Kelsey Grammer starred as Cervantes/Quixote, Danielle de Niese and Cassidy Janson as Aldonza/Dulcinea, Peter Polycarpou as Sancho, and Nicholas Lyndhurst as the Governor/Innkeeper.
In the late sixteenth century, failed author-soldier-actor and tax collector Miguel de Cervantes has been thrown into a dungeon by the Spanish Inquisition, along with his manservant. They have been charged with foreclosing on a monastery. Their fellow prisoners attack them, eager to steal the contents of the large trunk Cervantes has brought with him. However, a sympathetic criminal known as "the Governor" suggests setting up a mock trial instead. Only if Cervantes is found guilty will he have to hand over his possessions. A cynical prisoner, known as "the Duke," charges Cervantes with being an idealist and a bad poet. Cervantes pleads guilty, but then asks if he may offer a defense, in the form of a play, acted out by him and all the prisoners. The "Governor" agrees.
Cervantes takes out a makeup kit and costume from his trunk, and transforms himself into Alonso Quijano, an old gentleman who has read so many books of chivalry and thought so much about injustice that he has lost his mind and set out as a knight-errant. Quijano renames himself Don Quixote de La Mancha, and goes off to find adventures with his "squire", Sancho Panza. ("Man of La Mancha (I, Don Quixote)")
Don Quixote warns Sancho that they are always in danger of being attacked by Quixote's mortal enemy, an evil magician known as the Enchanter. Suddenly he spots a windmill, mistakes it for a four-armed giant, attacks it, and receives a beating from the encounter. Quixote decides that he lost the battle because he was never properly knighted. He then mistakes a rundown inn for a castle and orders Sancho to announce their arrival by blowing his bugle.
Cervantes talks some prisoners into assuming the roles of the inn's serving wench and part-time prostitute Aldonza, and a group of muleteers who are propositioning her. Aldonza fends them off sarcastically ("It's All The Same"), but eventually deigns to accept their leader, Pedro, who pays in advance.
Don Quixote enters with Sancho, asking for the lord of the castle. The Innkeeper (played by The Governor) humors Don Quixote as best he can. Quixote sees Aldonza and declares that she is his lady, Dulcinea, to whom he has sworn eternal loyalty ("Dulcinea"). Aldonza, used to rough treatment, is first flabbergasted and then annoyed at Quixote's kindness, and is further aggravated when the Muleteers turn Quixote's tender ballad into a mocking serenade.
Meanwhile, Antonia, Don Quixote's niece, has gone with Quixote's housekeeper to seek advice from the local priest, who realizes that the two women are more concerned with the embarrassment Quixote's madness may bring them than with his actual welfare ("I'm Only Thinking of Him").
Cervantes chooses "the Duke" to play Dr. Sanson Carrasco, Antonia's fiancé, a man just as cynical and self-centered as the prisoner who is playing him. Carrasco is upset at the idea of marrying into the family of a madman, but the priest convinces Carrasco that it would be a worthy challenge to use his abilities to cure his prospective uncle-in-law. Carrasco and the priest set out to bring Don Quixote back home ("I'm Only Thinking of Him [Reprise]").
Back at the inn, Sancho delivers a missive from Don Quixote to Aldonza courting her favor and asking for a token of her esteem. Aldonza provides the requested token: an old dishrag. She asks Sancho why he follows Quixote, but he can come up with no explanation other than "I Really Like Him". Alone, Aldonza ponders Quixote's behavior and her inability to laugh at him ("What Do You Want of Me?"). In the courtyard, the muleteers once again taunt Aldonza with a suggestive song ("Little Bird, Little Bird"). Pedro makes arrangements with her for an assignation later.
The priest and Dr. Carrasco arrive, but cannot reason with Don Quixote. Quixote becomes distracted by a barber who passes by the inn, wearing his shaving basin on his head to ward off the sun's heat ("The Barber's Song"). Quixote threatens the barber with a sword and snatches the basin, declaring it is the "Golden Helmet of Mambrino", which makes its wearer invulnerable. Dr. Carrasco and the priest leave, with the priest impressed by Don Quixote's view of life and wondering if curing him is really worthwhile ("To Each His Dulcinea").
Quixote still wishes to be officially dubbed a knight: he plans to stand vigil all night over his armor in the inn's courtyard, and then have the Innkeeper (whom he mistakes for a nobleman) grant him knighthood the following morning. Aldonza encounters Quixote in the courtyard and confronts him; Quixote does his best to explain the ideals he follows and the quest he is on ("The Impossible Dream"). Pedro enters, furious at being kept waiting, and slaps Aldonza. Enraged, Don Quixote takes him and all the other muleteers on in a fight ("The Combat"). Don Quixote has no martial skill, but by luck and determination – and with the help of Aldonza and Sancho – he prevails, and the muleteers are all knocked unconscious. But the noise attracts the attention of the Innkeeper, who tells Quixote that he must leave. Quixote apologizes for the trouble but reminds the Innkeeper of his promise to dub him knight. The Innkeeper does so ("Knight of the Woeful Countenance").
Quixote then declares that he must comfort the wounded muleteers, because chivalry requires kindness to one's enemies. Aldonza, impressed, says that she will help the muleteers instead. But when she comes to them with bandages, they beat her, rape her, and carry her off ("The Abduction"). Quixote, unaware of this, contemplates his recent victory and new knighthood ("The Impossible Dream" – first reprise).
At this point, the Don Quixote play is brutally interrupted when the Inquisition enters the dungeon and drags off an unwilling prisoner to be tried. The Duke taunts Cervantes for his look of fear, and accuses him of not facing reality. This prompts Cervantes to passionately defend his idealism.
The Don Quixote play resumes ("Man of La Mancha" – first reprise). Quixote and Sancho have left the inn and encounter a band of Gypsies ("Moorish Dance") who take advantage of Quixote's naiveté and steal everything they own, including Quixote's horse Rocinante and Sancho's donkey Dapple. Quixote and Sancho are forced to return to the inn. Aldonza also shows up at the inn, bruised and ashamed. Quixote swears to avenge her, but she tells him off, flinging her real, pitiful history in his face and blaming him for allowing her a glimpse of a life she can never have. She begs him to see her as she really is but Quixote can only see her as his Dulcinea ("Aldonza").
Suddenly, another knight enters. He announces himself as Don Quixote's mortal enemy, the Enchanter, in the form of the "Knight of the Mirrors". He insults Aldonza, so Quixote challenges him to combat. The Knight of the Mirrors and his attendants bear huge mirrored shields, and as they swing them at Quixote ("Knight of the Mirrors"), the glare blinds him. The Knight taunts Quixote, forcing him to see himself as the world sees him: a fool and a madman. Don Quixote collapses, weeping. The Knight of the Mirrors removes his helmet – he is really Dr. Carrasco, returned with his latest plan to cure Quixote.
Cervantes announces that the story is finished, but the prisoners are dissatisfied with the ending. They prepare to burn his manuscript when he asks for the chance to present one last scene. The governor agrees.
Quixote is back at home, and has fallen into a coma. Sancho tries to cheer him up ("A Little Gossip"), and Alonso opens his eyes. He is now sane: he gives his name as Alonso Quijano and thinks his knightly career was just a dream. However, he feels close to death, and asks the priest to help him make out his will. Aldonza suddenly forces her way into the room. She has come to visit Quixote because she can no longer bear to be anyone but Dulcinea. When he does not recognize her, she sings a reprise of "Dulcinea" and tries to help him remember the words of "The Impossible Dream." Suddenly, he remembers everything and rises from his bed, calling for his armor and sword so that he may set out again ("Man of La Mancha" – second reprise). But it is too late – in mid-song, he cries out and falls dead. The priest sings "The Psalm" (Psalm 130 in Latin) for the dead. Sancho is distraught at his friend's death. Aldonza tries to comfort him, saying that Alonso Quijano may be dead but Don Quixote lives on. When Sancho addresses her as Aldonza, she replies, "My name is Dulcinea."
The Inquisition enters to take Cervantes to his trial, and the prisoners, finding him not guilty, return his manuscript. It is his (as yet) unfinished novel, Don Quixote. As Cervantes and his servant mount the staircase to go to their impending trial, the prisoners, led by the girl who played Dulcinea, sing "The Impossible Dream" in chorus.
|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|
|1978||Drama Desk Award||Outstanding Actor in a Musical||Richard Kiley||Nominated|
|2003||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|
|Drama Desk Award||Outstanding Revival of a Musical||Nominated|
|Outstanding Actor in a Musical||Brian Stokes Mitchell||Nominated|
|2004||Grammy Award||Best Musical Show Album||Nominated|