I've mentioned a few times in the past how one of my favorite musicals by Kander & Ebb is their little-known Zorba, based on the classic film, Zorba the Greek, of course. It opened in 1968 and had a respectable run of 302 performances, but was a disappointment. (Fifteen years later, the show toured with Anthony Quinn re-creating his iconic role, along with his costar Lila Kedrova and directed by the film's director, Michael Cacyonnis. It also played on Broadway for 362 performances.)
As I noted, one of the problems the original show had was the mis-perception that it was just a remake of Fiddler on the Roof. A story set in Eastern Europe, about peasants, that starred Herschel Bernardi -- who had replaced Zero Mostel in Fiddler on the Roof -- and co-starred Lila Kedrova...who had played Golde in the original Fiddler. But anyone who has seen the film of Zorba the Greek knows that the two stories are nothing alike. And hurting the show over time is that it's not one that has been done much by community theaters and schools. A shame, because it's really a wonderful show, with a great, thoughtful, interesting, smart, and tuneful score.
I didn't see the original Broadway version above, but did see the revival with Anthony Quinn and thought the show was terrific. He can't sing a lick, but his stage presence was magical.
I like both cast albums for different reasons. The Herschel Bernardi version is beautifully sung. The Anthony Quinn version is bursting with character.
Here's a song from the original cast. It's Herschel Bernardi as Zorba singing about one of his many philosophies of life, "The First Time."
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
Feedspot Badge of Honor