The lights on Broadway will be dimmed on Wed., March 19 in memory of composer Mitch Leigh, best known for writing the music for the classic show Man of La Mancha. He passed away on Sun., March 16 at the age of 86. The lights will go down for one minute at 7:45 p.m.
Man of La Mancha won six 1966 Tony Awards including Best Musical and Best Composer (Leigh) and Lyricist (Joe Darion). Based on Cervantes’ Don Quixote, the musical ran for 2,328 performances and has been revived on Broadway four times, twice with the original star Richard Kiley (1972 and 1977), then with Raul Julia (1992) and Brian Stokes Mitchell (2002). The 1972 film version starred Peter O’Toole and Sophia Loren. The show’s signature number “The Impossible Dream” has been recorded by numerous artists including Frank Sinatra, Andy Williams, Johnny Mathias, Tom Jones and Elvis Presley.
Leigh was also nominated for his direction of the revival of The King and I in 1985 and he produced the 1983 revival of Mame starring Angela Lansbury. He wrote the music for several Broadway shows in the 1970s including Cry for Us All, Home Sweet Homer and Sarava, and the incidental music for Too True to Be Good and Never Live Over A Pretzel Factory in the early 1960s.
“Mitch Leigh was a multi-faceted talent whether he was composing, directing, or producing for Broadway or Madison Avenue,” said Charlotte St. Martin, executive director of the Broadway League. “Our thoughts go out to his family, friends, and fans of his work.”