Man of La Mancha [Original Broadway Cast Recording]

Various Artists

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Man of La Mancha [Original Broadway Cast Recording] Review

by William Ruhlmann

Librettist Dale Wasserman's Man of La Mancha, based on Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra's Don Quixote, with songs by Mitch Leigh and Joe Darion, was the surprise hit of the 1965-1966 Broadway theater season. A low-budget show with a whimsical theme concerning an old man who imagines himself to be a knight, it caught the '60s zeitgeist of idealism in the face of society-rending conflict. "The Impossible Dream (The Quest)," which became a number one easy listening hit for Jack Jones and was recorded by many others, was an anthem for the times that inspired hope where no hope could possibly be justified -- indeed, that was the point. Leigh committed a deliberate anachronism by infusing his score with flamenco elements, but his dependence on acoustic guitars, along with the show's naïve tone, also echoed the currently popular trend for socially conscious folk music. While "The Impossible Dream (The Quest)" was an overpowering hit, the entire score was effective, from the stirring "Man of La Mancha (I, Don Quixote)" to the lyrical "Dulcinea" and the comic "I Really Like Him." Richard Kiley brought a powerful voice and an absolute commitment to the title role, and he was supported by strong theater veterans like Ray Middleton and Robert Rounseville. The work needed to be performed with as much conviction as possible to keep it from its real tendency toward sentimentality, and the cast managed this. The result was five Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Actor, and Best Score, and what at the time was the fourth longest run for a Broadway musical in history. This gold-selling cast album remained in the charts more than three years. The 2001 reissue boasted improved sound, new liner notes, and one brief but stirring orchestral track, "The Combat," as a bonus.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Man of La Mancha
1 The Orchestra / Neil Warner 03:50
2 Irving Jacobson / Richard Kiley 02:44
3 John Aristides / Antony DeVechi / Joan Diener / George Marcy / Muleteers / Shev Rodgers / Eddie Roll 03:00
4 John Aristides / Antony DeVechi / Ensemble / Richard Kiley / George Marcy / Muleteers / Shev Rodgers / Eddie Roll 02:48
5 Eleanore Knapp / Robert Rounseville / Mimi Turque 02:56
6 Joan Diener / Irving Jacobson 02:20
7 Joan Diener 02:13
8 John Aristides / Antony DeVechi / George Marcy / Muleteers / Shev Rodgers / Eddie Roll / Harry Theyard 01:55
9 John Aristides / Gino Conforti / Ensemble / Irving Jacobson / Richard Kiley / Muleteers / Shev Rodgers / Eddie Roll 02:59
10 Robert Rounseville 01:51
11 Richard Kiley 02:22
12 The Orchestra / Neil Warner 01:02 Amazon
13 Joan Diener / Irving Jacobson / Richard Kiley / Ray Middleton 02:01
14 Harry Theyard 01:32
15 Joan Diener / Richard Kiley 03:31
16 Irving Jacobson 01:46
17 Joan Diener / Irving Jacobson / Richard Kiley / Robert Rounseville 05:55 Amazon
18 Entire Cast / Joan Diener / Robert Rounseville 01:48 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick