Dale Wasserman (1914-2008) wrote for theater, television and film for more than 50 years and is best known for the musical Man of La Mancha, a multiple Tony Award winner.
He also wrote the stage play One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, based on Ken Kesey’s novel, which has won several Tony Awards. Both shows continue to be produced nationally and internationally with an estimated 300 productions a year.
In January 1979, Dale met Martha Nelly Garza, who became his wife, loyal partner and loving companion. More than once, Dale commented that Martha Nelly was the best thing that ever happened to him (aside from MOLM) and that it was their 30-year partnership that had been the greatest contribution to extending his life and his talents to age 94. Together, they worked on numerous musicals and several new plays which can be found on his website, dalewasserman.com.
On December 21, 2008, Dale Wasserman, with his loving wife at his side, passed away peacefully of natural causes at his home in Paradise Valley, Arizona. Martha N. Wasserman is now the sole Owner/Licensor of Dale’s intellectual properties and spends her life promoting his works all over the world.
Mitch Leigh (1928-2014) was a composer, producer, director, and businessman from Brooklyn.
Pianist Arthur Rubenstein said of Leigh, “He’s the most brilliant composer writing for the musical theater today.” He is best known as the Tony Award-winning composer of Man of La Mancha, for which he also won the Drama Critics Circle Award and the Contemporary Classics Award from the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame for “The Impossible Dream.”
In 1957 he formed Music Makers, Inc., a radio and television commercial production house; with Leigh as its creative director, the agency won every major award within the advertising industry. He was also nominated for a Tony Award for directing Yul Brynner’s farewell tour of The King and I, which he also produced.
In the last decade of his life, Leigh began developing Jackson 21, a community for nice people in Ocean County, NJ. He studied with Paul Hindemith at Yale School of Music, from which he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and he was the first recipient of the Yale Arts Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Musical Composition.
Joe Darion (1917-2001) worked in every field in which words are put to music, from popular songs to works for the concert stage. His opera based on Don Marquis’ immortal characters Archy and Mehitabel was turned into the Broadway musical Shinbone Alley, for which Mr. Darion supplied the book and lyrics. Popular songs for which he has supplied the lyrics, including “Ricochet,” “Changing Partners” and “Midnight Rain,” have sold in the tens of millions. One of the most popular has been “The Impossible Dream,” the hit song from Man of La Mancha, which won Darion the 1965-66 Tony Award for the best lyrics of the Broadway season. He also supplied the lyrics for the Broadway musical Illya Darling, adapted from the film Never On Sunday. Among Mr. Darion’s more serious works, written with Ezra Laderman, are the oratorio operas Galileo and And David Wept, the cantatas A Handful of Souls and The Questions of Abraham, and the mass A Mass for Cain. In addition to the Tony, he received the Drama Critics Circle Award, the Outer Critics Circle Award, the Gabriel Award, The Ohio State Award and the International Broadcasting Award.