The marquees of Broadway theatres were dimmed on March 19 at 7:45 PM for one minute in memory of composer, director and producer Mitch Leigh, who passed away March 16 at age 86. The lights were also dimmed at that same moment, during the Jackson Chamber of Commerce’s General Membership Meeting held that same evening at the Metedeconk National Golf Club, in honor of Mitch Leigh.
Mitch Leigh, was not only a Tony Award winning composer, he was a man who envisioned a dream, one that he knew was possible and one that would develop right here in Jackson Township named “Jackson Twenty-One Village”. The following is quoted from from Mr. Leigh’s Jackson Twenty-One website:
What’s the story behind JACKSON Twenty-One? A dreamer named Mitch Leigh:
I was born in Brownsville, Brooklyn. I dreamed of getting out. I dreamed of going to college. I joined the army, got the G.I. Bill and went to Yale.
I dreamed of Broadway. I won a Tony for composing Man of La Mancha and The Impossible Dream. I directed and produced The King and I starring Yul Brynner.
I began to dream of developing a green village where you breathe clean air, where the tap water is pure, and where hundreds of acres remain natural.
JACKSON Twenty-One is designed for really nice people of all ages who love sports and the arts. We’ll get the best in the business to provide sports facilities. We’ll have an experimental theater and IMAX surrounded by studios for all the arts. There will be a village green with a restaurant row. Facing the green will be beautiful shops, offices and apartments. And there will be seven completely different neighborhoods to choose from!
Mitch Leigh pursued that dream for over 20 years. He became an active member and supporter of the Jackson Chamber of Commerce and a very good friend to Jackson Township,
His passion and hard work may have seemed impossible to some, but not to Mitch. He knew he wouldn’t live forever (although some of us thought that he could – Invincible). His dream lives on and is in the final stages of planning before beginning development. He made sure that the Jackson Twenty-One Village project would go on. The Jackson 21 “Welcome Center” is being erected at Glory’s Corner, at the intersection of Routes’ 527 & 526 in Jackson.
Mitch Leighs survivors include his wife of 42 years, the former Abby Kimmelman; their children, Rebecca and David; a son from his first marriage, Andy and his dear friend and Assistant Tom Bovino.
Mr. Bovino has inheritied the same passion as Mitch to see this project to fruition. Tom spoke on behalf of Mitch and Jackson Twenty-One at the Jackson Chamber membership meeting on March 19th. His passion for the project and his sadness at the loss of his dear friend was clearly evident but he was certain of one thing: Jackson-Twenty-One will continue to be a work in progress until completion.
For those who wish to send a note of condolence or other correspondence to Mr. Leigh’s family please send to:
Mitch Leigh Company ** 200 East 69th Street ** New York, New York ** 10021
Mitch Leigh , in his televised commercial for Jackson Twenty-One, stated ” If you’re not a nice person, please don’t call”. Mitch was the ultimate nice person and his favorite quote was “NEXT”. So here’s to you Mitch, and may your dream always be ”NEXT” on our agenda.