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There are certain performances the bind a performer and a character forever, and that was certainly the case with Richard Kiley playing the title character in "Man of La Mancha." Whenever I listen to the final track of this original cast album, when Aldonza reprises "The Impossible Dream" and begs the the dying man to remember his quest and Don Quixote struggles to his feet one final time, it always brings a tear to my eyes. There are few moments from Broadway that I can listen to that have such as an effect ("Is Anybody There" from "1776," "Memories" from "Cats," and when Mary finds the door to the garden at the end of Act I of "The Secret Garden" are the others).

This is a powerful musical, surprisingly adult in its treatment of the characters and the subject matter: Joan Diener's "Aldonza" is powerfully brutal in its depiction of her wretched life. Richard Kiley singing "The Impossible Dream" is obviously a Sixties Broadway standard, but there are other memorable songs as well: Quixote's "Dulcinea," the Muleteers "Little Bird, Little Bird" and the funny/beautiful harmonious medley "The Barber's Song/Golden Helmet."

This reworking of Cervantes in "Man of La Mancha" is interesting, because although it relies primarily on episodes from Part I of "Don Quixote," its spirit is more in keeping with the tenor of Part II of that classic novel. Consequently, this musical can make for an interesting class discussion for students who have worked through the novel(s). One of the nice touches on this CD is that a couple of lines are added to the spoken introduction to "Man of La Mancha (I, Don Quixote)".

My final word would be that listening to this original Broadway cast album is FAR superior to every watching the absolutely wretched film version let alone even listening to the Soundtrack album. If you love Broadway musicals then you have to have Kiley doing "Man of La Mancha," the same way you have to have Robert Preston doing "The Music Man."
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This is one of the all time best musicals. The music and lyrics are yet to be rivaled by any other musical. There is not one bad track on the entire CD. The cast does an outstanding job. When one hears Richard Kiley sing, he does so with such feeling that he makes one weep. Whether it be "Man of La Mancha", "Dulcinea", or "The Impossible Dream", one cannot help but be moved. Juxtapose those songs to the despairing refrains of "It's All the Same" and "Aldonza" or to the light and whimsical "I Like Him" and "A Little Gossip", and it is no wonder to the discerning listener that the original Broadway show was a long running hit. Every song is terrific!

Having been fortunate enough to have seen "Man of La Mancha" when it was first 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. The original cast was magnificent, and this CD is a memorable recording of their triumph. No music collection should be without this CD. It is positively glorious!
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on April 2, 2001
I used to listen to this soundtrack on LP when I was only ten years old, and would imagine myself on stage as Don Quixote and wowing the crowds. Well, I am a bit older now, but somehow that (impossible) dream endures. I bought this soundtrack on CD only a couple of years back, but was disappointed by the fact that there were no liner notes or photos from the original show. Finally, that mistake has been rectified.
This is one of the best Broadway scores of all time, and it's remastering has been long overdue. I am thrilled to see it in its new remastered format with liner notes, and photographs, as well as a never before released track. (Thankfully, the one thing that has not changed is the Hirschfeld drawing) It's worth it just to hear Richard Kiley and Joan Diener once more. The music to this show is as rousing as that of Bizet's "Carmen". Of special note is how pains were taken to use flamenco inspired music that adds so much more than a generic show tune would have. Enjoy this CD, and see why it endures as one of the best musicals of all time.
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on November 14, 2004
This brilliant stage musical was a vibrant, brutal, confrontational, experimental piece of theatre when it first debuted in the middle of the turbulent 1960s, acknowledging the ceaseless brutality of the world, but suggesting that by living a courageous, engaged, aggressive life, we can stand up to the darkness we encounter. Today, in these times, it is a more important lesson for us all than ever before. In its original incarnation, "The Impossible Dream" (its real title is "The Quest") is a subtly drawn, carefully shaded anthem about living life out loud, about fighting hard even though we can never win -- NOT about being a mindless optimist, as many people present it today. Though the material is excellent, too many productions today (including the recent Broadway revival) fall into the trap of treating it as cute, as optimistic, instead of as a call to arms against the violence and hypocrisy we will never fully defeat.
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on March 7, 2001
As is usually the case, the original Broadway cast version, now in remastered sound, is the best production of this incredibly funny and poignant take off on Don Quixote. Richard Kiley is absolutely magnificent playing the wonderfully crazy Don who in his madness sets out to rid the world of evil. The Impossible Dream is Kiley's song alone, no successor is worthy. Irving Jacobsen is hysterical as Sancho Panza with a Yiddish twist, and the rest of the cast is fine as well.
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on October 25, 2002
This is the original Broadway cast and not the "Phil Spectorized" Peter O'Toole film version, so it is quite alive with passion and vigor that the film lacked. Kiley IS Quixote, and his deep bass is perfect irony with his lanky limbs. The orchestration is a minimalist Spanish guitar, flute and fiddle, so it has feel and breath of Spain. The CD has the full introductory patter that the tape lacked, so I was quite surprised to hear the CD. It has the normal limitations that tape-to-CD transfer has, but we can see the flower in spite of the dirt!
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on August 15, 2002
The review on this page criticizing Joan Diener's performance is pretty awful. Wonder what the motive is here. I recently bought the remastered recording and think her performance is one of the loveliest, most heartfelt ones in Broadway history. Interesting, too, to realize that the play really is her story. I didn't get this when I was 15 and heard the recording for the first time. Definitely worth the investment, if for no other reason than to hear Joan Diener as Aldonza.
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on August 8, 2001
If you didn't get the title, then you've never heard the Impossible Dream (from this CD of course). The music is beautiful. Its a different style from most broadway musicals, its more melodic. Richard Kiley is the one true Don Quixote. In other words, no one could ever match his amazing performance. In other words, buy it...you'll love it.
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on March 17, 2001
Man of La Mancha will always have a special place in my heart because it was the first PROFESSIONAL show I saw, for my 16th birthday, at Memorial Hall in Dayton,when it first went on tour. I own the OBC on vinyl, and the OLC with Keith Michell on vinyl. If anyone decides to release that one on CD, put my name at the top of the list. Richard Kiley, who I never had the fortune to see live on stage, was the ultimate Don Quixote, and Joan Diener, is perfect as Aldonza. The comraderie that comes across between Sancho and Quixote on the recording is excellent. There is truly something magical about this recording.
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VINE VOICEon June 6, 2007
I remember reading excerpts from Cervantes' DON QUIXOTE, as a Spanish student, way back in junior high school. The saga of the madman fighting windmills and pursuing his illusions [and delusions] was very sad, but very romantic at the same time. When the musical adaptation, MAN OF LA MANCHA, was brought to the stage in 1965, Richard Kiley (as the title character, Don Quixote) absolutely transfixed the audience with his sensitively heartfelt portrayal of the tragic madman. The plight of Don Quixote, who travels on horseback, with his faithful companion, Sancho Panza (Irving Jacobson), and absolutely lovestruck by kitchen wench Aldonza (Joan Denier), is alternately pathetic and profound. Perhaps one of the best known (and most remade) songs in the repertoire from LA MANCHA, is "The Impossible Dream." Richard Kiley really make it his own, here, and after you hear his version, it's hard to listen to others' versions of it. It's just not the same. Though, this story is anything but joyful, the music will glide through your ears and carry you on a surrealistic journey through attempted triumph and (ultimately) tragedy.
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