Broadway Theatre, (10/16/1983 - 9/02/1984)

First Preview: Oct 05, 1983
Opening Date: Oct 16, 1983
Closing Date: Sep 02, 1984
Total Previews: 14
Total Performances: 362

Category: Musical, Revival, Broadway
Setting: Piraeus; a Crete village; Hortense's Inn and garden; The Widow's house; the church square; the mine entrance.

Opening Night Production Staff

Theatre Owned / Operated by The Shubert Organization (Gerald Schoenfeld: Chairman; Bernard B. Jacobs: President)

Produced by Barry & Fran Weissler and Kenneth-John Productions (Kenneth D. Greenblatt: President; John J. Pomerantz: Executive Vice President); Associate Producer: Alecia Parker

Based on the novel by Nikos Kazantzakis; Book by Joseph Stein; Lyrics by Fred Ebb; Music by John Kander; Musical Director: Randolph Mauldin; Music orchestrated by Don Walker; Dance arrangements by Thomas Fay

Directed by Michael Cacoyannis; Choreographed by Graciela Daniele; Additional choreography by Theodore Pappas

Scenic Design by David Chapman; Costume Design by Hal George; Lighting Design by Marc B. Weiss; Sound Design by T. Richard Fitzgerald; Hair Design by Steve Atha; Make-Up Design by Steve Atha

General Manager: National Artists Management Company; Company Manager: Robert H. Wallner

Production Stage Manager: Peter Lawrence; Stage Manager: Jim Woolley

Musical Supervisor: Paul Gemignani; Music Contractor: John Monaco; Music Preparation Supervisor: Mathilde Pincus and Victor Jaroway; On Stage Bouzouki: Foti Gonis; Dumbeg: Eddie Kochak; Bouzouki: Angelo Saridis; Accordion: Charles Sauss; Percussion: David Tancredi

Casting: Howard Feuer and Jeremy Ritzer; General Press Representative: Fred Nathan & Associates; Advertising: Lawrence Weiner and Associates; Dance Captain: Jim Litten; Photographer: Martha Swope

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Opening Night Cast

Anthony QuinnZorba
Lila KedrovaMadame Hortense
Chip CorneliusVassilakas
Suzanne CostallosAthena
Michael DantuonoManolakas
Frank DeSalKonstandi
Turkish Dancer
Russian Admiral
Angelina FiordellisiMarika
Tim FlavinAnagnosti
Karen GiombettiMaria
Cafe Whore
Charles KarelMavrodani
Peter KevoianKatapolis
Raphael LaMannaConstable
Peter MarinosMarinakos
Rob MarshallMarsalias
Taro MeyerThe Widow
John MineoThanassai
French Admiral
Panchali NullDespo
Aurelio PadronMimiko
Richard Warren PughYorgo
Italian Admiral
Thomas David ScalisePavli
Debbie ShapiroThe Woman
Paul StraneyPriest
English Admiral
Susan TerryKatina
Pamela TrevisaniSophia
Robert WestenbergNikos

Swings: Jim Litten and Danielle R. Striker

Standby: Chip Cornelius (Manolakas), Suzanne Costallos (Madame Hortense), Michael Dantuono (Nikos), Angelina Fiordellisi (The Woman), Charles Karel (Zorba), James Lockhart (Mavrodani, Zorba), John Mineo (Mimiko) and Susan Terry (The Widow)

Awards and Nominations

Tony Award®

winner 1984 Best Featured Actress in a Musical [winner] 

Lila Kedrova

Drama Desk Award

winner 1984 Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical [winner] 

Lila Kedrova

Theatre World

winner 1984 Award [recipient] 

Robert Westenberg


music by John Kander; lyrics by Fred Ebb

ACT 1 Sung By
Life IsThe Woman and Company
The First Time Zorba
The Top of the HillThe Woman and Company
No Boom BoomMadame Hortense, Admirals, Zorba and Nikos
Vive La DifferenceAdmirals
Mine SongCompany
The ButterflyThe Widow, Nikos and The Woman
Goodbye, CanavaroMadame Hortense, Zorba and Nikos
GrandpapaZorba, The Woman and Company
Only Love Madame Hortense
The Bend of the RoadThe Woman
Only Love (Reprise) The Woman
ACT 2 Sung By
Woman Zorba
Why Can't I Speak/That's a BeginningThe Widow, Nikos and The Woman
Easter DanceCompany
Miner's DanceThe Men
The CrowThe Woman, Crows and Monks
Happy BirthdayMadame Hortense
I Am FreeZorba


New York Daily News: "Quinn's 'Zorba' is close to magnificent"

Whatever one may think about the musical 'Zorba,' and there is a good deal to be said both for and against it, there is no denying that the revival that came to the Broadway last night is striking, better than the original 1968 production, and that Anthony Quinn is little short of magnificent in the role he created on film almost 20 years ago.

Although it has been touring since the first of the year, this is no tired road-show revival come to breathe its last in New York. It has been superbly staged by Michael Cacoyannis, who directed the movie, "Zorba the Greek," and the supporting players are generally excellent.

Quinn, I was astonished to realize, has not been seen on Broadway since 1962's "Tchin-Tchin." He surely belongs here, for while he is no singer (fortunately, he has little actual singing to do), his hearty account of the vibrant vagabond Zorba is an enormously skillful characterization in terms of pure acting. He takes full command of the Broadway's stage in a performance that keeps growing upon you and ends triumphantly.

With him once again, as she was in the motion picture, is Lila Kedrova as the faded French demimondaine who boards Zorba and his American "boss" in Crete, which is the story's principal setting. She is a fluttery, kittenish delight. And Robert Westenberg, the young American who hired Zorba to reopen an abandoned mine he has inherited, DOES sing well, and act well, too, in addition to being both handsome and personable. Debbie Shapiro, threading the action as the Chorus, comments and incites in fine, full voice. Taro Meyer is winsome as the ill-fated native girl, or young widow, the Greek-American Niko (Westenberg) becomes attached to.

In all respects, this was a most ambitious musical with a strong, if occasionally diffuse, book by Joseph Stein, who also wrote "Fiddler on the Roof," a rich score by John Kander and intelligent lyrics by Fred Ebb. In fact, this is the most ambitious of all the Kander-Ebb musicals, and therein lies one of the evening's chief difficulties. Sticking close to the story, and carefully avoiding anything in the nature of a hit song, they sometimes approach the operatic style that "Zorba" probably requires for complete fulfillment. For the violence of the peasant life on Crete - the knifing to death of the young widow for spending a night with Niko and exchanging her black mourning garb for red, and the native woman's plundering of Madame Hortense's (Kedrova's) apartment once she has died - suggests the emotional climate of a "Cavalleria Rusticana," at the very least. Zorba's carefree acceptance of fate can't lighten the story sufficiently to overcome its harshness - that is, until the engaging finish as the two men part.

Of course, much the same thing could be said of the Kander-Ebb "Cabaret," but the atmosphere was more lurid there and the songs more deliberately tuneful. "Zorba" really stretched the pair's talents too far, though it was an admirable try with many affecting musical moments, such as Zorba's plaintive "Women" and Hortense's "Happy Birthday."

There is probably a mite too much drifting in and out of arches in Cacoyannis' occasionally self-conscious staging, but his eye for both the full stage picture and the telling detail is superb. It is an unusually artful example of musical staging. Graciela Daniele's dance numbers are fluid, energetic, and authentic-looking, though of course the climactic duet between Zorba and Niko, however brief, is the undeniable high spot in this regard.

Stein's book has its dull stretches, David Chapman's scenery looks fine in spite of all its travels, and so do Hal George's costumes. The lighting, by Marc B. Weiss, is also apt.

"Zorba" is a large-scaled, grand - I was about to say "grand opera" - musical, one to be admired despite its shortcomings, and one unmistakably worth seeing if only for Quinn's majestic portrayal of a lovable rascal.

New York Daily News

New York Post: "Quinn comes to Broadway & it's Zorba the Great!"

Go and see Zorba. There are times when a photograph tells it all. On the cover of the Playbill is a picture of Anthony Quinn as Zorba, that particular Greek. It's an emblematic picture, and it tells you just about all you need to know about the musical. Quinn is staring out, both nervous and confident.

A man. A mensch. Important that, because he happens to be playing, in effect, the half-brother of Tevye from Fiddler on the RoofZorba itself, the Broadway musical of 15 years ago, written by the Fiddler's fiddler, Joseph Stein, was a spin-off. As I recall it, only a minority of critics, but including myself, thought it actually spun.

But Quinn. He played the movie on which the musical is somewhat flimsily based. Quinn - not the greatest singer, although his broken, rasping baritone is absolutely fair enough - is an actor of heroic dimension.

Last time - well, the penultimate time, in actual fact - he was on Broadway, the guy stood toe to toe with Laurence Olivier in Anouilh's Beckett. That was no easy achievement - Quinn is not just a pretty movie face. He is an actor of infinite authority. And pain.

Last night at the Broadway Theater, Quinn Zorba came back to New York. It is an identification impossible to resist.

This is a serious musical - it talks about life and death. It even, appropriately I suppose, has a Greek chorus, and it is intended to make a comment of a way of life not commonly encountered in the musical theater.

The musical was originally based on the novel by Nikos Kazantzakis about a young man from Athens with a small inheritance, growing up somewhat suddenly in the Isle of Crete, that Green Jewel in the blue, desperately blue, Aegean Sea.

His tutor, was Zorba. They meet in a cafe in Piraeus. He comes to the boy, Niko and says: "I am Zorba. Take me with you."

Niko - and the rest is his history. The history includes Zorba's wooing the beautifully aging landlady, Hortense, and Niko's love for a young widow. Both loves end in death.

But that is not the story's message. Zorba is a man who lives life at the moment. He tells us the story of an old man who lives as if he were going to live forever - only to top it with the comment that he, Zorba, lives as if he were about to die at once. Zorba - the free spirit; the man or woman we instinctly wish to be.

Joseph Stein's book - which I think is more closely related to the original novel than even the movie version - is beautiful, life assertive and death accepting.

The use of a Greek chorus - here personified by the somberly handsome presence of Debbie Shapiro - is daring, and not always successful. It intrudes, at times, on modern manners.

The music by John Kander goes a bit heavy on the bouzouki, but the lyrics by Fred Ebb are handsomely apt. The songs always sound as if they are about to break into the insidious rhythms of Never on Sunday, by Miko Theodrakis, but they never do, not even on Saturday.

No, the music and lyrics are fair enough, and in both these and Stein's book one often glimpses the shaping hand of Harold Prince, the show's original director.

Now the director is Michael Cacoyannis, who, scarcely by chance, happened to be the director of the Zorba movie. Cacoyannis has not only reassembled his movie star, Quinn, but also gotten Lila Kedrova to repeat, in musical form, her legendary Hortense.

It would have been too much to have expected the reincarnation of the movie's then young stars, Alan Bates and Irene Papas, but the ardently eager Robert Westenberg and the tragically doomed hungry Taro Meyer do very neatly indeed.

But when the chips are down, the story told, and the music faded into the crepuscular obscurity of a Greek seafront tavern, at dusk, it is Zorba that counts.

It was Zorba that counted in the novel, it was Zorba that counted in the movie, and it is Zorba, here and now, standing up to be counted on the stage.

Indeed Miss Kedrova, deliquescently feminine, like a Turkish delight made with some unlikelihood into a Greek of pneumatic proportions and artfully artless smiles, is superb. Whoever imagined she wouldn't be - she can, in her own fluting fashion, even sing.

But Zorba is Zorba and Zorba is Quinn. He is outrageous - even his curtain calls are a sort of calculated effrontery. But he has identified himself so matchlessly with his role that comment upon him as an actor becomes totally irrelevant. However - were I to be permited a comment, I would suggest: "Great!" Or something a little more enthusiastic.

New York Post

Replacement/Transfer Info

The following people are credited as replacements or additions if they were not credited on opening night.

Broadway Theatre

(10/16/1983 - 9/2/1984)
Musical Director: Antony Geralis.

Company Manager: Rheba Flegelman.

Production Stage Manager: Steven Zweigbaum; Stage Manager: Arturo E. Porazzi.

Assistant Conductor: Al Cavaliere.

Dance Captain: John Mineo.


Dean Badolato
French Admiral
Vivian Blaine
During Lila Kedrova's vacation
Madame Hortense (Jan 10, 1984 - Jan 30, 1984)
Randy Hills
Jim Litten
Jeff McCarthy
Kevin McCready
Cynthia Sophiea

Standbys: Cynthia Sophiea (The Woman).

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