Monday, April 27, 2015


Broadway opening: November 11th, 1968 - Run: 305 performances

Directed by Harold Prince - Book by Joseph Stein - Based on the Novel by Nikos Kazantzakis - Choreography by Ronald Field - Orchestrations by Don Walker

Cast: Herschel Bernardi (Zorba), Maria Karnilova (Mme. Hortense), John Cunningham (Nikos), Carmen Alvarez (Widow), Richard Dmitri (Pavli), Lorraine Serabian, Jerry Sappir, Al Hafid, Angelo Saridis

The plot: A young man named Nikos arrives at Crete to open an old mine that he has inherited, taking Zorba, an old man who loves life, with him. There, Nikos meets a beautiful Widow, with whom the young Pavli is obsessed and Zorba meets Mme. Hortense, an aging courtesan who falls in love with him. One day Pavli sees Nikos embracing the Widow and kills himself; his family decides to revenge his death by stabbing the Widow. Soon Nikos and Zorba discover that the mine is too old to be of any use. Hearing that Hortense is very sick the two men go to her and Zorba marries her just before she dies. Facing their grief Nikos and Zorba dance and each one follows his destiny.

Awards: Tony Award for Best Scenic Design. Drama Desk for Outstanding Lyrics, Costume Design and Set Designer.

Awards Nominations: Tony for Best Musical, Actor (Herschel Bernardi), Actress (Maria Karnilova), Featured Actress (Lorraine Serabian), Director, Costume Desing and Choreography

Tracks: Life Is - The First Time - The Top of the Hill - No Boom Boom - The Butterfly - Goodbye, Canavaro - Grandpapa (Zorba's Dance) - Only Love - The Bend of the Road - Entr'acte - Y'Assou - Why Can't I Speak - The Crow - Happy Birthday - I Am Free

On 1983 a revival production opened on Broadway and ran for 362 performances.

Directed by Michael Cacoyannis - Choreography by Graciela Daniele

Cast: Anthony Quinn (Zorba), Lila Kedrova (Mme. Hortense), Robert Westenberg (Nikos), Taro Meyer (Widow), Thomas David (Pavli), Debbie Shapiro, Panchali Null, Suzanne Costallos, Angelina Fiordellisi, Theresa Rakov

Awards: Tony for Best Featured Actress (Lila Kedrova). Drama Desk for Featured Actress (Lila Krdeova). Theatre World for Robert Westenber

New Tracks: Mine Song - Woman - That's a Beginning

Photos by Martha Swope / New York Public Library

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