Mitch Leigh was born and bred in the big city of dreams—where opportunities paint the streets and anything can happen. As a native of Brooklyn, New York, Leigh knew the sky was the limit. As a boy he dreamed of attending college and working on the bright lights of Broadway. But that was only the tip of the iceberg for this dreamer.
After joining the army, Leigh used his G.I. Bill to attend Yale University where he graduated with a Bachelor of Music (1951) and Master of Music (1952). With an education under his belt, his musical career took flight. Leigh started out as a jazz musician, writing various commercials for radio and television.
His big break occurred in 1965 when he teamed up with lyricist Joe Darion and writer Dale Wasserman to create a musical based on the 1959 television show by Dave Wasserman called I, Don Quixote. The musical became a smash hit known as Man Of La Mancha. The original ran on Broadway for 2,328 performances and won five Tony Awards, including Best Musical. And the principal song, “The Impossible Dream” became the song heard ’round the world.
Leigh’s next big show was called Chu Chem, which he produced the music for the play-within-a-play about a scholar and his daughter who journeyed to Kaifeng Fu, China for traces of the Jewish immigrants who had settled there for 800 years. The show opened on Broadway in 1989 and ran for a total of 68 performances.
Over the years, Leigh produced and composed a slew of other musicals including Cry for Us All, Home Sweet Homer, Saravà, The King and I, and Ain’t Broadway Grand!. Leigh also composed the unforgettable jingle “Nobody Doesn’t Like Sara Lee.” In 1957, Leigh established Music Makers, Inc., a radio and television commercial production house. Today, he serves as its creative director.
However, his biggest dream to date is still in the works. Leigh is currently working on a housing development project called Jackson Twenty-One, located in Jackson Township, New Jersey. The goal of Jackson Twenty-One is to create a green village where you breathe clean air, drink pure water and where the land remains untouched and natural. The community is intended for friendly people who enjoy sports and the arts. Jackson Twenty-One will be an all-inclusive community, with a shopping center, grocery store and movie theater. There will also be different neighborhoods to choose from including apartment buildings, townhouses and private housing.
A dreamer named Mitch Leigh created the idea of Jackson Twenty-One. It will be a great place for really nice people to live, work and have fun!