Man of La Mancha, the show that introduced "The Impossible Dream" to the world (and lounge singers everywhere), was the hit of the 1965 Broadway season. Richard Kiley is magnificent in his career-defining performance as th... more »e deluded wannabe knight Don Quixote. His leading lady Joan Diener sings the role of the kitchen wench Aldonza with just the right balance of dignity and vulgarity. Irving Jacobson turns in a fine comic performance as the Don's faithful squire, Sancho Panza. The score, with music by Mitch Leigh and lyrics by Joe Darion, was revolutionary in its time. The orchestra had no violins--just brass, woodwinds, percussion, and flamenco guitars. Man of La Mancha is one of Broadway's most inspiring musicals and it well deserves its high reputation. --Michael Simmons« less
Man of La Mancha, the show that introduced "The Impossible Dream" to the world (and lounge singers everywhere), was the hit of the 1965 Broadway season. Richard Kiley is magnificent in his career-defining performance as the deluded wannabe knight Don Quixote. His leading lady Joan Diener sings the role of the kitchen wench Aldonza with just the right balance of dignity and vulgarity. Irving Jacobson turns in a fine comic performance as the Don's faithful squire, Sancho Panza. The score, with music by Mitch Leigh and lyrics by Joe Darion, was revolutionary in its time. The orchestra had no violins--just brass, woodwinds, percussion, and flamenco guitars. Man of La Mancha is one of Broadway's most inspiring musicals and it well deserves its high reputation. --Michael Simmons
"This is one of the all time best musicals. The music and lyrics have yet to be rivaled by any other musical. There is not one bad song. The cast does a magnificent job. When one hears Richard Kiley sing, he does so with such feeling that it makes one weep. Whether it be " Man of La Mancha', "Dulcinea", or "The Impossible Dream", one cannot help but be affected. Juxtapose his songs to the earthy "It's All the Same' and "Aldonza" or to the light and whimsical "I Like Him" and "A Little Gossip", and no wonder the show was such a long running hit. Every song is terrific!Having been fortunate enough to have seen "Man of La Mancha" when it was on broadway, I can attest to the powerful effect that the music had on the audience. This is a wonderful recording that brings back memories. It was a memorable cast, and this CD is a memorable recording which no music collection should be without, as it is positively glorious!"
A legendary recording of a legendary show
Mark D. Lincoff | Hollywood, Florida | 12/19/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Man of La Mancha was three years off-Broadway, before it connected enough with audiences to move onto the Great White Way. After that, it became one of the longest running musicals of the 1960's, and with good reason. The story, based on the first chapter of the Don Quixote tales, shows a deranged knight wannabe in love with a shop-worn, embittered prostitute. By his love, she learns to see the value in her own life, and of dreams. The score is nothing short of magnificent, yielding several standards, most notably "The Impossible Dream," which has been overdone by mediocre lounge singers. In the hands of Richard Kiley -- himself a good singer at best, it takes on new meaning. That meaning is the crux of the show. On stage, the majority of the story is told through song (though there IS a book, unlike many more recent musicals). The Cast album captures the veracity of the original performances. Orchestrated lushly (yet without a string section), and sung admirably by the principles, this recording is a stirring reminder of a show that left most audiences weak and weeping. The late, great Richard Kiley never had a role better suited to his intense talent. Joan Diener (a principle singer in the original Broadway cast of Kismet) balances the inherent beauty of her character with the anger and disgust at the directions in which her life has turned. When she angrily sings "Aldonza," in a last-ditch attempt to force Cervantes to see her as she really is, the performance is breath-taking. One can only imagine the impact she must have had in person. Irving Jacobson gives a delightful -- if sometimes unintelligible -- comic turn as squire Sancho. The album is tightly produced and expertly sung by all, without ever stooping to the slickness so often indulged in by cast albums of more recent shows. Whether a souvenier of an unforgettable night in the theater, or a rendering of a phenomenal score, the Original Cast album of "Man of La Mancha" is never to be underrated -- or forgotten."
5 stars are not enough
Stephen H. Orel | NYC | 05/12/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When I was a kid we had an 8-track in the station wagon and exactly two tapes: this, and the soundtrack to Oliver. And yet twenty-some years later, I still love this music, every note of it. Has a more stirring show tune than Man of La Mancha ever been written? Or a more evocative overture? Does anybody else remember when "The Impossible Dream" was a sort of theme song for the 1969 Mets? Don't we all know someone for whom the line "why do you live in that dream that you're in/covered with glory and rusty old tin" seemed to have been written? and to think they added that song in tryouts.
Buy the 2001 remastering if you can; it has eliminated annoying echoes (a very vinyl-like artifact) that plagued the earlier cds (which were wonderful anyway, especially at the price). The new version also has informative liner notes."
An impossibly perfect dream!
Matthew Murray | New York City, NY USA | 07/27/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Has there ever been a better cast assembled for a musical? Maybe, but judging by this disc, not many. Richard Kiley is in great voice, and brings endless energy and life to all his songs, while Joan Diener is a lusty and heart-breaking Aldonza. The rest of the supporting cast is every bit as good, bringing humor and drama to their roles in all the right places. Though a fair amount of material has been left out, and there were a few lyric changes for recording purposes, this is an almost perfect recording, and absolutely essential for any cast recording collection."