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Leigh, Mitch [Mitchnick, Irwin ]locked

Leigh, Mitch [Mitchnick, Irwin ]locked

  • Paul R. Laird

(b Brooklyn, NY, Jan 30, 1928). American composer, producer, and director. After earning a BA and MA from the Yale School, where he studied with paul Hindemith , he worked as a jazz musician and from 1954 wrote music for television and commercial jingles, such as “Nobody doesn’t Like Sara Lee.” In 1957 Leigh formed the company Music Makers as a focus for these efforts. He wrote incidental music for two plays, Too Good to be True (1963) and Never Live over a Pretzel Factory (1964), and then composed with the lyricist Joe Darion the score for the Broadway hit Man of La Mancha (1965). Their Tony Award-winning score includes spirited “Spanish” gestures and songs that effectively describe characters and situations. The show itself, which won a Tony Award for Best Musical, ran 2328 performances and has remained popular. Leigh also wrote the scores for Cry for us all (1970), Home Sweet Homer (1976), Sarava (1979), Chu Chem (1989), and Ain’t Broadway Grand (1993), all of which were unsuccessful. He eventually turned to directing and producing, including revivals of Mame (1983), The King and I (1985, with Yul Brynner), Man of La Mancha (1992 and 2002), and the revue The Gershwins’ Fascinating Rhythm (1999).

Bibliography

  • W. Carlson: “Advertising: Composer with a Commercial,” New York Times (26 June 1966)
  • D. Wasserman: The Impossible Musical (New York, 2003)