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Mitch Leigh, ‘Man of La Mancha’ Composer, Dies at 86
NYT ^ | 3/16/2014 | Anita Gates

Posted on 03/16/2014 4:09:20 PM PDT by Borges

One day in 1964, a New York advertising-jingle composer in his early 30s received an unlikely job offer.

The composer, Mitch Leigh, the Brooklyn-born son of a Jewish furrier from Ukraine, had no theater experience to speak of. All he had ever done was compose incidental music for a couple of short-lived Broadway comedies — “Too True to Be Good” (1963) and “Never Live Over a Pretzel Factory” (1964). Now he was being asked to write the music for a new show that was going to try out at the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, Conn. A few numbers about quests and wine and beautiful women. So Mr. Leigh gave it a shot.

The show, “Man of La Mancha,” opened in New York the next year and ran until 1971, a total of 2,328 performances. It won five Tony Awards, including best composer and lyricist (Mr. Leigh and Joe Darion) and best musical. Richard Kiley remained throughout the entire run in the dual role of Don Quixote, a doddering gentleman knight with a grand imagination, and Quixote’s creator, the Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes.

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: broadway; composer; impossibledream; manoflamancha; mitchleigh; obituary; theimpossibledream

1 posted on 03/16/2014 4:09:20 PM PDT by Borges
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To: Borges

That was a great theme song. I have never seen the play so I assume that is what it was.


2 posted on 03/16/2014 4:12:00 PM PDT by yarddog (Romans 8: verses 38 and 39. "For I am persuaded".)
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To: Borges
RIP to the Knight of the Woeful Countenance.

-PJ

3 posted on 03/16/2014 4:12:33 PM PDT by Political Junkie Too (If you are the Posterity of We the People, then you are a Natural Born Citizen.)
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To: Revolting cat!

4 posted on 03/16/2014 4:13:16 PM PDT by a fool in paradise (The Texas judge's decision was to pave the way for same sex divorce for two Massachusetts women.)
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To: Borges

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RfHnzYEHAow


5 posted on 03/16/2014 4:16:44 PM PDT by Kirkwood (Zombie Hunter)
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To: yarddog

The lyrics were written by Joe Darion:

To dream ... the impossible dream ...
To fight ... the unbeatable foe ...
To bear ... with unbearable sorrow ...
To run ... where the brave dare not go ...
To right ... the unrightable wrong ...
To love ... pure and chaste from afar ...
To try ... when your arms are too weary ...
To reach ... the unreachable star ...

This is my quest, to follow that star ...
No matter how hopeless, no matter how far ...
To fight for the right, without question or pause ...
To be willing to march into Hell, for a Heavenly cause ...

And I know if I’ll only be true, to this glorious quest,
That my heart will lie will lie peaceful and calm,
when I’m laid to my rest ...
And the world will be better for this:
That one man, scorned and covered with scars,
Still strove, with his last ounce of courage,
To reach ... the unreachable star ...


6 posted on 03/16/2014 4:23:09 PM PDT by lightman (O Lord, save Thy people and bless Thine inheritance, giving to Thy Church vict'ry o'er Her enemies.)
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To: a fool in paradise

I admit, I did have to suffer through it (the silly Broadway show), as an employee benefit of no value whatsoever.


7 posted on 03/16/2014 4:25:30 PM PDT by Revolting cat! (Bad things are wrong! Ice cream is delicious! We reserve the right to serve refuse to anyone!)
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To: lightman

Thank you. The lyrics are the better part of the song.


8 posted on 03/16/2014 4:27:15 PM PDT by yarddog (Romans 8: verses 38 and 39. "For I am persuaded".)
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To: Revolting cat!

He also composed the Sara Lee jingle...”Nobody doesn’t like Sara Lee”


9 posted on 03/16/2014 4:32:03 PM PDT by Borges
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To: Borges

Saw the revival years ago at Lincoln Center with the original cast. Oh, that magnificent set with the giant lowered staircase! Excellent book, moving story and some nice music. Who can forget a Jewish Sancho Panza?

More misadventures!


10 posted on 03/16/2014 4:32:19 PM PDT by miss marmelstein (Richard Lives Yet!)
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To: Borges

Saw on Broadway. The music is lovely. The moral point of the story to me was to hold onto your ideals in the face of adversity.

Much beautiful music in it. I miss the days when this country aimed higher in entertainment. I really thought Sophia Loren a perfect choice for Dulcinea/Aldonza

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2eK7joszR0


11 posted on 03/16/2014 4:32:57 PM PDT by Beowulf9
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To: Borges

RIP.


12 posted on 03/16/2014 4:33:10 PM PDT by fieldmarshaldj (Resist We Much)
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To: Borges

That explains a lot. Or some of it.


13 posted on 03/16/2014 4:34:40 PM PDT by Revolting cat! (Bad things are wrong! Ice cream is delicious! We reserve the right to serve refuse to anyone!)
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To: yarddog

With each passing year they seem more and more autobiographical.


14 posted on 03/16/2014 4:40:53 PM PDT by lightman (O Lord, save Thy people and bless Thine inheritance, giving to Thy Church vict'ry o'er Her enemies.)
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To: Borges

R.I.P., Mr. Leigh. Man of La Mancha was one of the greatest Broadway musicals ever.


15 posted on 03/16/2014 4:45:52 PM PDT by Sans-Culotte (Psalm 14:1 ~ The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”)
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To: Beowulf9

I saw it on Broadway too on a class trip (actually a choir trip) in 1970. What an experience!


16 posted on 03/16/2014 4:49:00 PM PDT by FrdmLvr ("WE ARE ALL OSAMA, 0BAMA!" al-Qaeda terrorists who breached the American compound in Benghazi)
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To: Borges
RIP and Memory Eternal.

Best Best musical and story ever.

17 posted on 03/16/2014 5:16:30 PM PDT by MarMema ("If Americans really wanted Obamacare, you wouldn't need a law to make them buy it." Ted Cruz)
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To: Borges

From the article: But he had one stipulation {for his real estate development], as he made clear in his television commercials — in which he starred, looking a bit like Quixote — and other promotions: “If you’re not a nice person, don’t call.”

I remember those ads! LOL, I had no idea who he was.

RIP Mr. Leigh, you wrote one song that will live forever, that’s a tremendous accomplishment.


18 posted on 03/16/2014 6:21:37 PM PDT by jocon307
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To: Borges
I've never managed to catch the musical. But this music also inspired one of the most memorable TV episodes of my youth:

Gomer Pyle, USMC - The Impossible Dream

I link to the long version, which includes the equally good setup to the song. Although Wiki tells me Gomer had sung on the show before I think this was the first I'd ever heard him sing. Awesomely mind boggling!

19 posted on 03/17/2014 12:59:19 AM PDT by JohnBovenmyer (Obama been Liberal. Hope Change!)
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To: JohnBovenmyer
Gomer Pyle, USMC - The Impossible Dream

Corrected the link.

20 posted on 03/17/2014 1:01:57 AM PDT by JohnBovenmyer (Obama been Liberal. Hope Change!)
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To: JohnBovenmyer

I would have expected a high tenor out of Mr. Gaw-Lee. It’s a mezzo baritone.


21 posted on 03/17/2014 1:19:59 AM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Embrace the Lion of Judah and He will roar for you and teach you to roar too. See my page.)
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To: Borges

I was in two different companies of this show (in the 1970s) and still have the scar tissue to prove it. It was a very physical show and I got the crap beat out of me. I wore basketball knee and elbow pads under my costume.


22 posted on 03/17/2014 6:29:55 AM PDT by Wordkraft (Remember who the Collaborators are.)
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