Antonios Banderas takes on Zorba

«Zorba the Greek» is making a Broadway comeback – this time with the likes of Antonio Banderas. Attending the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival recently, where he presented «El camino de los ingleses,» a film he directed, the Spanish actor announced that the musical, based on the movie directed by Michael Cacoyannis, which, in turn, was based on the book by Nikos Kazantzakis, is going to be revived on stage. Not a Broadway novice, Banderas has met with success on New York stages, his last appearance in a leading role was in the musical «Nine,» a production based on Federico Fellini’s «8 1/2» – director Rob Marshall is about to release his own version for the silver screen. As for Banderas, the Spaniard spoke about his desire to return to the theater, which as he pointed out remains his principal work; essentially, Banderas noted, he considers himself more of a theater actor than a cinema actor. Besides the celebrated book, the film and the musical, «Zorba the Greek» has also been made into a ballet. In the case of the musical, it came after the movie’s success in 1964, when celebrated songwriting duo John Kander and Fred Ebb (creators of classics such as «Cabaret» and «Chicago») came up with the stage version. The production’s debut took place on November 16, 1968, starring Herschel Bernardi and Maria Karnilova – the show ended after a run of some 305 performances, in August 1969. «Zorba the Greek» was nominated for 8 Tonys, eventually winning for best direction. The musical’s second staging came in 1983, in a production directed by Cacoyannis and starring the film’s leading actors, namely Anthony Quinn and Lila Kedrova. This time round, its stage run went up to 362 performances, beginning in October 1983 and ending in September 1984. As a pre-existing work, the production wasn’t eligible for multiple Tonys, though Kedrova did ultimately win the Tony award for her performance.

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