GOOD MORNING BROADWAY FANS! It’s just us at New York Broadway Tours once again waking you up to the sounds and powerhouse performances of the Great White way on our TOP 40 TONY AWARDS COUNTDOWN. We are only 24 days till the 72nd Annual Tony Awards. Are you ready for more performances?
At # 24 on our countdown is another ultimate musical classic. This unique musical uses the play within a play format following a group of prisoners (led by a real life famous Spanish writer) putting on a play in prison telling the show of the adventures of a crazy but good hearted Knight who fights windmills that are seen as dragons to save a prostitute who turns out is a noblewoman. This is of course the classic… MAN OF LA MANCHA. Based on Miguel de Cervantes’ 17th Century novel DON QUIXOTE and Dale Wasserman’s 1959 teleplay I, DON QUIXOTE, the musical features a score by Mitch Leigh and Joe Darion along with a book by Wasserman.
From the 2003 telecast, Tony Award winner Brian Stokes Mitchell as “Don Quixote” (along with Tony nominee Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as “Aldonza”) perform the musical’s iconic signature song THE IMPOSSIBLE DREAM.
MAN OF LA MANCHA was originally conceived as a non musical teleplay for CBS back in 1959. The initial title was technically going to be called MAN OF LA MANCHA. However at the time, writer Dale Wasserman feared that the audience would not understand the title before changing it to I, DON QUIXOTE. The teleplay was scene by an estimated audience over 20 million people but was failed to wow a TV audience. The cast featured…
Lee J Cobb as “Miguel de Cervantes” / “Don Quixote” ,
Colleen Dewart as “Dulcenia” / “Aldonza”,
and Eli Wallach as “Sancho”.
Several years later, acclaimed director Albert Marre called and requested Wasserman to give the teleplay a second chance by turning into a full scale Broadway Musical. Wasserman decided to give it a try hiring composers Mitch Leigh and Joe Darion on board and director Albert Marre. In addition, the name title I, DON QUIXOTE was swapped back to the initial name MAN OF LA MANCHA.
Following a world premiere at the Goodspeed Opera House in 1965, MAN OF LA MANCHA had its New York premiere Off Broadway at the ANTA Washington Square Theatre. The Off Broadway run did so well, it was transferred to Broadway’s Martin Beck Theatre (now the Al Hirschfeld Theatre) and later moving to the Eden Theatre and the Mark Hellinger Theatre (now the Times Square Church) running for 2,328 performances. The cast consisted of…
Richard Kiley (later Gideon Singer, Charles West, John Cullum, Jose Ferrer, Hal Holbrook, and more) as “Miguel de Cervantes” / “Don Quixote” ,
Joan Diener (later Carolyn Maye, Gaylea Byrne, Bernice Massi, and Maura K. Wedge) as “Dulcenia” / “Aldonza”,
and Irving Jacobson (later Edmond Varrato, Rudy Tronto, Titos Vandis, and Tony Martinez) as “Sancho”.
The original production was nominated for 7 Tony Awards in 1966 winning 5 including Best Musical and Best Leading Actor in a Musical (for Richard Kiley).
The show went on to became a worldwide hit with productions everywhere (including London’s West End) and was translated into every major language. The show was revived on Broadway 4 times.
The first Broadway revival happened in 1972 playing the Vivian Beaumont Theatre (part of Lincoln Center Theater) for 140 performances. It featured the 3 original principals from the original 1965 production reprising their roles. We are talking about once again….
Richard Kiley as “Miguel de Cervantes” / “Don Quixote” ,
Joan Diener as “Dulcenia” / “Aldonza”,
And Irving Jacobson as “Sancho”.
The 1972 revival did not receive any Tony nominations or wins that year.
The second Broadway revival happened in 1977 playing Broadway’s Palace Theatre for only 124 performances. This cast consisted of…
Richard Kiley once again reprising his roles of “Miguel de Cervantes” / “Don Quixote” ,
Emily Yancy as “Dulcenia” / “Aldonza”,
and original production replacement Tony Martinez reprising the role of “Sancho”.
This second revival also did not get any Tony nominations or wins that year either.
The third Broadway revival happened in 1992 playing Broadway’s Marquis Theatre for 108 performances. This cast consisted of….
Raul Julia (later Laurence Guttiard) as “Miguel de Cervantes” / “Don Quixote” ,
Official: Sheena Easton (also the original leading lady Joan Diener serving as the alternate and later replacement) as “Dulcenia” / “Aldonza”,
And once again original production replacement Tony Martinez reprising the role of “Sancho”.
The 1992 revival did not also get any Tony nominations or wins either.
The fourth and most recent Broadway revival of MAN OF LA MANCHA happened in 2002 returning to the show’s original Broadway home…. The Martin Beck Theatre (as we said before now the Al Hirschfeld Theatre). Under the direction of Jonathan Kent, this revival played 304 performances. This cast consisted of…
Tony Award winner Brian Stokes Mitchell as “Miguel de Cervantes” / “Don Quixote” ,
Tony Award nominee Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio (later Marin Mazzie reuniting Mitchell after doing Ragtime and Kiss Me Kate together) as “Dulcenia” / “Aldonza”,
and Ernie Sabella as “Sancho”.
This recent revival was nominated for 3 Tony nominations for Best Revival of a Musical, Best Leading Actor in a Musical (for Brian Stokes Mitchell), and Best Leading Actress in a Musical (for Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio). However, it lost all of the categories.
In addition to its success on the stage, MAN OF LA MANCHA was also was released as a musical movie. The film was released in 1972 from United Artist. The cast featured…
Peter O’Toole (with Simon Gilbert doing the singing) as “Miguel de Cervantes” / “Don Quixote”,
Sophia Loren as “Dulcenia” / “Aldonza”,
and James Coco as “Sancho”.
The reviews of the film were mixed but it went on to receive The Academy Award for Best Original Score and 2 Golden Globes for Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comey (for Peter O’Toole) and Best Supporting Actor (for James Coco).
MAN OF LA MANCHA is a show continued to be performed everywhere in community, regional, opera houses, and even in concert halls.
Doesn’t this musical make you want to take THE QUEST?
Brian Stokes Mitchell performs “The Impossible Dream (The Quest)” with Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio on the 57th Annual Tony Awards, June 8, 2003
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