|Aside from being inspired by Cervantes' novel, the musical was most directly influenced by Dale Wasserman's TV play which involves the plot of Cervantes in the prison. The show opened on November 22, 1965, and was so popular that on March 20, 1968, it was transferred to the Martin Beck Theatre. It won 5 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Composer/Lyricist, and Best Actor (Richard Kiley). It changed theatres twice more before closing on June 26, 1971.
It was revived on Broadway in 1972, 1977 and 1992, and has played in many other countries around the world, with productions in German, Hebrew or Japanese, Icelandic, Gujarati, Uzbekistani, Magyar, Slovenian, Swahili, Finnish, Ukrainian and nine distinctly different dialects of the Spanish language.
The current New York revival opened on December 5, 2002 at the Martin Beck Theatre, and stars Brian Stokes Mitchell as Cervantes/Don Quixote. The show was also seen in 2002 in Australia and Japan.
The 1972 film version of the musical featured Peter O'Toole, Sophia Loren, and James Coco.