I remember sitting in the Goodspeed Opera House in Connecticut back in the mid sixties watching the premiere performance of “Man of La Mancha“. The musical, directed by Albert Marre, eventually won him a Best Director Tony when it appeared on Broadway at the ANTA Theatre.
I went to the La Mancha performance not because I knew anything about the show, nor did I know anything about Marre, but because my friend Charlie Leipart was in the cast (it was our summer break from Northwestern University’s Theatre Department.) I discovered, however, what a wonderful musical it was… I couldn’t wait for an Original Cast album to be released.
In 1948, Mr. Marre was a co-founders of the Brattle Theatre in Cambridge, MA, one of the country’s first classical repertory companies. In 1953, he was hired by Lincoln Kirstein to be the first artistic director of the New York City Drama Company at City Center, where he staged Love’s Labour’s Lost, The Merchant of Venice and Shaw’s Misalliance, all in 1953.
The musical classic Kismet came next, and he won a 1954 Donaldson Award for Best Director of a Musical.
Marre introduced Broadway audiences to composer Jerry Herman in 1961, when he staged Herman’s tale of the birth of Israel, Milk and Honey. He wrote the book for the 1970 musical Cry for Us All and the 1975 musical Home Sweet Homer. His final non-La Mancha Broadway credit was the musical Chu Chem in 1989.
- Play review: ‘La Mancha’ a dream (utsandiego.com)