Call him, "Man Of La Tokyo!"
Umm...maybe that's not such a good idea, but on Nov. 21, the Japan Musical Award Committee will indeed honor Dale Wasserman, librettist of Man Of La Mancha.
This is the fourth annual Award, with last year's going to Stephen Sondheim (for a look at last year's event, please see the news story, "Pacific Makes Overtures To Sondheim.") Prior winners were Chita Rivera and Harold Prince. Winners are selected by a panel of 12 actors, critics and theatre writers from Japan.
As for Wasserman's bio, we'll let him tell it in his own words (taken from the 1997 touring Playbill of La Mancha):
"I was born. That seems fairly certain, but where or when less so. By profession, I'd describe myself as a showbiz hobo, having made the jump from road kid to theatre pro at the age of 19. I've been a stage manager, lighting designer, producer and director. In the midst of directing an unspeakable Broadway musical, I walked, feeling that I couldn't possibly write worse stuff than I was directing. Writing was difficult due to a woeful lack of education... I succeeded as a writer by lucking into the Golden Age of television, and thereafter segued into plays and movies. I have written around 70 works for television, two dozen stage plays and musicals, and 17 feature films. "Once I did time in an executive suite at MGM as a producer-writer. Upon being sprung I wrote One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest...and also an opus for television called "I, Don Quixote," in which the lines, "To dream the impossible dream, to fight the unbeatable foe..." first appeared... I wrote Man Of La Mancha because I believed it. It is my most personal play."
Other works by Wasserman include Beggar's Holiday and Montparnasse, which will debut in Japan. He also has two new plays: Enchanted Island and How I Saved The Whole Damned World.
The Nov. 21, 5:30-8:30 PM, ceremony takes place at the Algonquin Hotel on West 44th St. For more information call (212) 265-1612.
Twelve Japanese theatre critics and theatre professionals, led by Kazuto Ohira, managing director of the Japan Musical Award Committee, chose Wasserman for the award, which honors outstanding achievement on Broadway, and the development and growth of the Japanese musical industry.
-- By David Lefkowitz