On Aug. 20, composer Mitch Leigh attended a production of his Man of La Mancha in Madrid, Spain, invited there by the producer, Luis Ramirez. Leigh told reporters he was totally impressed by the production. "It's marvelous as an opera! I'm sure that it will become a great success when it arrives on Broadway," said Leigh. "I've had photographs taken with all these artists because they have really impressed me."
Leigh's hope is to bring La Mancha to Broadway's Marquis Theatre for five weeks at some unspecified time in the future. If the move occurs, Man of La Mancha would be the first American musical in Broadway history performed in a language other than English.
Leigh added, "It's a very unique case on Broadway; presenting Man of La Mancha in Spanish, the language of Cervantes. I have done various inquiries to test for an interest in a version like this, and I have seen that it awakens a great interest, even among the English-speaking public." When asked about changes introduced in the Spanish version -- symphonic instruments have been added to the original score's woodwinds), Leigh pointed out that, "If one wants to go on living, one must evolve. Before when we composed, we would start by a series of music themes. Once created, we would hire writers and lyricists to make up the text and the story line. I was the first to do this backwards with Man of La Mancha."
Lastly, Leigh mentioned that Paloma San Basilio, who plays the roles of Aldonza and Dulcinea in Madrid, had astonished him "not only by her magnificent voice, but also by her magnificent interpretation."
A spokesperson at NY's League of American Theatres & Producers (Aug. 27) said he had no knowledge of La Mancha's interest in the Marquis, which will host the Cathy Rigby tour of Peter Pan from mid-November 1998 to early January 1999. -- By Carlos Lorenzo