Man of La Mancha is a 1965 musical with a book by Dale Wasserman, lyrics by Joe Darion, and music by Mitch Leigh. It is adapted from Wasserman's non-musical 1959 teleplay I, Don Quixote, which was in turn inspired by Miguel de Cervantes and his 17th-century novel Don Quixote. It tells the story of the "mad" knight Don Quixote as a play within a play, performed by Cervantes and his fellow prisoners as he awaits a hearing with the Spanish Inquisition. The work is not and does not pretend to be a faithful rendition of either Cervantes' life or Don Quixote. Wasserman complained repeatedly about people taking the work as a musical version of Don Quixote.
The original 1965 Broadway production ran for 2,328 performances and won five Tony Awards, including Best Musical. The musical has been revived four times on Broadway, becoming one of the most enduring works of musical theatre.
The principal song, "The Impossible Dream", became a standard. The musical has played in many other countries around the world, with productions in Dutch, French (translation by Jacques Brel), German, Hebrew, Irish, Japanese, Korean, Bengali, Gujarati, Uzbek, Bulgarian, Hungarian, Serbian, Slovenian, Swahili, Finnish, Chinese, Ukrainian, Turkish and nine distinctly different dialects of the Spanish language.
Man of La Mancha was first performed at the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, Connecticut in 1965, and had its New York premiere on the thrust stage of the ANTA Washington Square Theatre in 1965.