Impossibly dreamy

To many theatregoers, the time is nigh to ‘right the unrighteable wrong’ …

Later this month, after more than 40 years away from the London stage, the Tony-award-winning musical Man of La Mancha returns in a powerful collaboration with the English National Opera, with Kelsey Grammer (Dr Frasier Crane to many) in the lead role at the London Coliseum.

Inspired by the 17th century novel Don Quixote, Dale Wasserman, Joe Darion and Mitch Leigh’s classic Broadway musical is famed for its “charm, gallantry and delicacy of spirit” and has endured, having enjoyed four revivals in New York. Its score contains one of theatre’s most recognisable songs in The Impossible Dream as well as Man of La Mancha (I, Don Quixote) and A Little Gossip.

Man of La Mancha sees Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes performing a play based on his Don Quixote to a group of prisoners awaiting a hearing. 

The musical premiered in Connecticut in 1965, before opening on Broadway in 1968. Directed by Albert Marre, it ran for 2,328 performances across six years. Richard Kiley won a Tony Award for his performance in the central role while the show also won awards for best musical and best original score.

Man of La Mancha went on to transfer to London’s West End, opening at the Piccadilly Theatre in April 1968. The production starred Keith Michell and Joan Diener, and ran for 253 performances.

In 1972, Peter O’Toole and Sophia Loren starred in a film adaptation of the musical, which also had choreography from renowned British choreographer Gillian Lynne.

You will not be surprised to hear that The Record Album has lovely vinyl musical recordings of the original Broadway cast, the London stage version from 1968, a mono box set of words and music from the same production (MCA MUC 123/4), plus a copy of the film soundtrack from 1972.

Man of La Mancha opens at the London Coliseum on April 26 and runs to June 8. If you can’t wait or can’t get tickets, you can still enjoy it through The Record Album.