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December 21: Dreaming the Impossible Dream

Lawrence Bush
December 21, 2016
Dale Wasserman, who grew up in a Wisconsin state orphanage from age 9, spent his adolescence as “a self-educated hobo, riding the rails and alternately living on top of buildings ... in downtown Los Angeles,” and went on to write Man of La Mancha and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, an adaptation of Ken Kesey’s novel, for Broadway and the international stage, died at 94 on this date in 2008. Wasserman wrote more than thirty television dramas as well as several film screenplays, and was a Tony and Emmy Award-winner. He got his start in theater as a lighting designer. He worked for Sol Hurok and traveled with the Katherine Dunham Dance Company before turning to writing and achieving his enduring success. Man of La Mancha “happened by pure accident, actually. I was in Spain writing a movie when I read in a newspaper that I was there for the purpose of researching a dramatization of ‘Don Quixote.’ That was a laughing matter, because like most people on earth, I had not read ‘Don Quixote.’”--Dale Wasserman

​​​​Lawrence Bush edited Jewish Currents from 2003 until 2018. He is the author of Bessie: A Novel of Love and Revolution and Waiting for God: The Spiritual Explorations of a Reluctant Atheist, among other books. His new volume of illustrated Torah commentaries, American Torah Toons 2, is scheduled for publication this year.