Theater Preview: ZORBA (Musical Theatre Guild)

Post image for Theater Preview: ZORBA (Musical Theatre Guild)

by Frank Arthur on November 1, 2018

in Theater-Los Angeles


It only seemed natural that Michael Cacoyannis’s 1964 film, Zorba the Greek, about a happy-go-lucky fisherman on the isle of Crete, should one day become a musical. It took John Kander and Fred Ebb (Cabaret, Chicago, Kiss Of The Spider Woman and many more) to make this a reality, with Joseph Stein (Fiddler on the Roof, The Baker’s Wife) writing the book, also based on Nikos Kazantzakis’s novel.

The show, now titled Zorba, debuted on November 17, 1968, at the Imperial Theater in New York, where it played 305 performances, with Herschel Bernardi in the title role under the direction of Harold Prince. The musical was nominated for eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical (it was up against Hair, Promises, Promises and 1776 — the latter rightfully won). Boris Aronson won for his scenic design. In 1983, the vibrant musical made a sensational comeback when it opened on October 16, with Anthony Quinn reprising the role he had played in the movie, directed again by Cacoyannis.

Now, Musical Theatre Guild, the winner of the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Margaret Harford Award for sustained excellence in the theatre, continues their 23rd Anniversary season with this haunting musical. With an awesome cast and orchestra, the one-night-only concert will take place at Glendale’s historic Alex Theatre on Sunday, November 11, 2018 at 7:00 PM.

You’ll meet the exuberant and passionate Zorba as he befriends a fledgling American writer who confronts his own life choices when he falls in love with a local widow. “Life is what you do while you’re waiting to die” (earthy, practical and ultimately true) is bluntly sung at the top of show, but the musical is hardly a downer. Certainly it’s dark in the vein of Kander & Ebb’s other musicals, but it has an uplifting, indomitable spirit — and some awesome dance numbers. Opa!

Direction – Alan Bailey
Musical Direction – Brad Ellis
Choreography – Cheryl Baxter-Ratliff
Production Supervisor – John Massey

Musical Director Brad Ellis (TV’s Glee and Gilmore Girls)
talks about the brilliant score of  Zorba.
(Click Brad’s photo above to see video.)

Musical Theatre Guild
Alex Theatre | 216 Brand Blvd. in Glendale
plays Sunday, November 11, 2018 at 7pm
for tickets, call 818.243.2539 or visit MTG

{ 1 comment }

Gayle Shapiro November 12, 2018 at 12:30 am

I saw the show tonight. I loved everything about it. The music, the dancing, the singing… The characters all came to life in front of my eyes.

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