Samiksha Jaiswal (Editor)

Man of La Mancha

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Lyrics  Joe Darion
First performance  1965
Lyricist  Joe Darion
Book  Dale Wasserman
Playwright  Dale Wasserman
Composer  Mitch Leigh
Man of La Mancha t0gstaticcomimagesqtbnANd9GcRf5tVv99QSa9qFMi

Basis  I, Don Quixote (teleplay) by Dale Wasserman and Don Quixote (novel) by Miguel de Cervantes
Productions  1965 Goodspeed Opera House1965 BroadwayInternational productions1968 West End1972 Broadway revival1972 Film1977 Broadway revival1992 Broadway revival2002 Broadway revival
Awards  Tony Award for Best MusicalTony Award for Best Score
Adapted from  Don Quixote, I, Don Quixote
Musicals  Fiddler on the Roof, My Fair Lady, Kiss Me - Kate, Guys and Dolls, South Pacific

Man of la mancha mitch leigh dale wasserman joe darion theater orchester biel solothurn

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.

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, the 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 21 previews, the musical opened at the experimental thrust-stage ANTA Washington Square Theatre in Greenwich Village on November 22, 1965. The show moved uptown 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 New York run of 2,329 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:

  • 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.
  • 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 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. The two have brought all their possessions with them into the dungeon. There, they are attacked by their fellow prisoners, who instantly set up a mock trial. If Cervantes is found guilty, he will have to hand over all his possessions. Cervantes agrees to do so, except for a precious manuscript that the prisoners are all too eager to burn. He asks to be allowed to offer a defense, and the defense will be a play, acted out by him and all the prisoners. The "judge", a sympathetic criminal called "the Governor", agrees.

    Cervantes takes out a makeup kit from his trunk, and the manservant helps him get into a costume. In a few short moments, Cervantes has transformed 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 now believes that he should go forth as a knight-errant. Quijano renames himself Don Quixote de La Mancha, and sets out to find adventures with his "squire", Sancho Panza. ("Man of La Mancha (I, Don Quixote)")

    Don Quixote warns Sancho that the pair are always in danger of being attacked by Quixote's mortal enemy, an evil magician known as the Enchanter. Suddenly he spots a windmill. Seeing its sails whirling, he mistakes it for a four-armed giant, attacks it, and receives a beating from the encounter. He thinks he knows why he has been defeated: It is because he has not been properly dubbed a knight. Looking off, he imagines he sees a castle (it is really a rundown roadside inn). He orders Sancho to announce their arrival by blowing his bugle, and the two proceed to the inn.

    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. Fending them off sarcastically ("It's All The Same"), she eventually deigns to accept their leader, Pedro, who pays in advance.

    Don Quixote enters with Sancho, upset at not having been "announced" by a "dwarf". The Innkeeper (played by The Governor) treats them sympathetically and humors Don Quixote, but when Quixote catches sight of Aldonza, he believes her to be the lady Dulcinea, to whom he has sworn eternal loyalty ("Dulcinea"). Aldonza, used to being roughly handled, is flabbergasted, then annoyed, at Quixote's strange and kind treatment of her, 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 the knight's madness may bring than with his welfare ("I'm Only Thinking of Him").

    The mock-trial's prosecutor, a cynic called "The Duke", is chosen by Cervantes 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 having a madman in his prospective new family but the padre cleverly convinces him that it would be a challenge worthy of his abilities to cure his prospective uncle-in-law, so he 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. Instead, Aldonza tosses an old dishrag at Sancho, but to Don Quixote the dishrag is a silken scarf. When Aldonza asks Sancho why he follows Quixote, he can come up with no explanation other than "I Really Like Him". Alone, Aldonza ponders the Knight's behavior and her inability to laugh at him ("What Do You Want of Me?") In the courtyard, the muleteers once again taunt her with a suggestive song ("Little Bird, Little Bird"). Pedro makes arrangements with Aldonza for an assignation later.

    The priest and Dr. Carrasco arrive, but cannot reason with Don Quixote, who suddenly spots a barber wearing his shaving basin on his head to ward off the sun's heat ("The Barber's Song"). Quixote immediately snatches the basin from the barber at sword's point, believing it to be the miraculous "Golden Helmet of Mambrino", which will make him 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").

    Meanwhile, Quixote asks the Innkeeper to dub him knight. The innkeeper agrees, but first Quixote must stand vigil all night over his armor. Quixote asks to be guided to the "chapel" for his vigil, and the Innkeeper hastily concocts an excuse: the "chapel" is "being repaired". Quixote decides to keep his vigil in the courtyard. As he does so, Aldonza, on her way to her rendezvous with Pedro, finally confronts him, but Quixote gently explains why he behaves the way he does ("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 huge 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 has awakened the Innkeeper, who enters and kindly 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 announces he must try to help the muleteers. Aldonza, whom Quixote still calls Dulcinea, is shocked, but after the knight explains that the laws of chivalry demand that he succor a fallen enemy, Aldonza agrees to help them. For her efforts, she is beaten, raped, and carried off by the muleteers, who leave the inn ("The Abduction"). Quixote, in his small room, is blissfully ruminating over his recent victory and the new title that the innkeeper has given him – and completely unaware of what has just happened to Aldonza ("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 a passionate defense of idealism by Cervantes.

    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 proceed to steal everything they own, including Quixote's horse Rocinante and Sancho's donkey Dapple. The two are forced to return to the inn. The Innkeeper tries to keep them out but finally cannot resist letting them back in out of pity. Aldonza shows up with several bruises. Quixote swears to avenge her, but she angrily tells him off, begging him to leave her alone and 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, this time appearing as the "Knight of the Mirrors". He insults Aldonza, and is promptly challenged to combat by Don Quixote. The Knight of the Mirrors and his attendants bear huge shields with mirrors on them, and as they swing them at Quixote ("Knight of the Mirrors"), the glare from the sunlight blinds him. The attacking Knight taunts him, forcing him to see himself as the world sees him – as a fool and a madman. Don Quixote collapses, weeping. The Knight of the Mirrors removes his own helmet – he is really Dr. Carrasco, returned with his latest plan to cure Quixote.

    Cervantes announces that the story is finished at least as far as he has written it, 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, and we are now in Alonso Quijano's bedroom, where he has fallen into a coma. Antonia, Sancho, the Housekeeper, the priest, and Carrasco are all there. Sancho tries to cheer up Quijano ("A Little Gossip"). Alonso Quijano eventually awakens and when questioned reveals that he is now sane, remembering his knightly career as only a vague dream. He realizes that he is now dying and asks the priest to help him make out his will. As Quijano begins to dictate, Aldonza forces her way in. She has come to visit Quixote because she has found that she can no longer bear to be anyone but Dulcinea. When he does not recognize her, she sings a reprise of "Dulcinea" to him 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 suddenly cries out and falls dead. The priest sings "The Psalm" (Psalm 130 in Latin) for the dead. However, Aldonza now believes in him so much that, to her, Don Quixote will always live: "A man died. He seemed a good man, but I did not know him ... Don Quixote is not dead. Believe, Sancho ... believe." When Sancho calls her by name, 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 de la Mancha". 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.

    Musical numbers

  • "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
  • Bulgarian

  • A Bulgarian adaptation for television (Bulgarian: Човекът от Ла Манча / Chovekat ot La Mancha) was released in 1968 directed by Asen Trayanov, starring Kosta Tsonev, Nikola Anastasov, Grigor Vachkov, Konstantin Kotsev, Vasil Mihaylov and Tatyana Lolova.
  • A Bulgarian stage adaptation was realized directed by Grisha Ostrovski.
  • French

  • 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.
  • Hebrew

    A Hebrew-language production was produced by Giora Godik in Tel Aviv, Israel, in 1967.


    A Japanese-language production entitled The Impossible Dream was produced in Tokyo, Japan, where Matsumoto Kōshirō IX (as Ichikawa Somegorō VI) took the lead role.


  • 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.
  • Spanish

  • The first Spanish production opened in 1966 in Madrid, Spain, starring Nati Mistral as Aldonza and the great Spanish baritone Luis Sagi-Vela 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.
  • Swedish

  • 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.
  • Chinese

  • 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.
  • Others

    The musical has been and continues to be produced in many other languages around the world, and in 2012 and 2013 played in Germany, Hungary, Czech Republic, Romania, China, Poland, Dominican Republic, Chile, Russia, and in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Cast albums are available in many languages including Austrian from the 1968 Vienna performance (Der Mann von La Mancha), the 1969 Dutch cast (De Man van La Mancha), the 1969 Peruvian cast (El Hombre de La Mancha), the 1969 German-language Hamburg cast (Der Mann von La Mancha), the 1970 Norwegian cast (Mannen frå La Mancha), the 1997 Polish cast (Człowiek Z La Manchy), the 1997 Czech cast (Muž Z la Manchy), the 2001 Hungarian cast (La Mancha Lovagja), and many others.

    An Austrian version of the musical, in German, was presented on Austrian television in 1994, with Karl Merkatz (playing Cervantes and Quixote at the age of sixty-four) and Dagmar Hellberg in the leading roles.


    2Man of La Mancha
    3It's All the Same


    Man of La Mancha Wikipedia