The company of the current Man Of La Mancha National Tour, which opens in Elmira NY tomorrow, Tuesday, March 18, mourns the loss of its beloved composer and spiritual leader, Mitch Leigh, who passed away over the weekend.
Director Jeffrey B. Moss today said “On behalf of all the actors who have been privileged to sing the songs of Mitch Leigh and the directors lucky enough to have staged those songs – and his shows, I offer a heartfelt thank you for the inspired work he has left us.
Musical Supervisor Cherie Rosen, who also worked on the last two Broadway revivals of La Mancha, added “Mitch was a unique man, one of those larger than life types! I learned a lot from him. He used to come to all of our orchestra rehearsals in each new city. He often conducted the Overture on opening nights and the trumpet players would be nervous because they had never seen him conduct… It was very special.”
Man Of La Mancha is a remarkable show and one of the great theater successes of our time. This play-within-a-play is based on Cervantes’s Don Quixote, telling the poignant story of a dying old man whose ‘impossible dream’ takes over his mind. Against all odds, a man sees good and innocence in a world filled with darkness and despair. Man Of La Mancha won five Tony Awards including Best Musical, along with the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical and the Outer Critics Circle Award
Man Of La Mancha played for 2,328 performances in New York at the ANTA Washington Square Theatre and on Broadway at the Martin Beck, Eden and Mark Hellinger Theatres starring Richard Kiley and Joan Diener. Kiley and Diener repeated the success at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre in 1972, and the show has since been revived on Broadway several times, most recently at the Martin Beck Theatre with Brian Stokes Mitchell in the title role. The show played for 253 performances in London at the Piccadilly Theatre.