My Sunday afternoon was spent going up to NSMT to see Zorba. I found out at the last minute that Olympia Dukakis and her husband Louis Zorich had dropped out of the show. Scheduling problems was the given reason. Between the lines I read; a better paying gig came up and was taken. At first I was disappointed, but after going to the show, I don't know how Olympia could have played the role.
Anita Gillette took her place and was outstanding as Mme. Hortense. She played an aging and lonesome woman who has seen and been involved with many, many men. She had to sing and dance, which she did with ease, as well as act the frumpy old lady.
Ron Holgate [ ZORBA ] comes to the rescue. He woos Hortence[ it didn't take much wooing ], beds her, and later marries her in the eyes of God. Which made her a happy bride. Ron is an accomplished stage actor. His credits are numerous. He did not disappoint me with his performance, although the accent was a bit on the heavy side. His voice and stage demeanor made him a believable Zorba.
Franc D'Ambrosio [ NIKOS ] played his role very well. He has a magnificent voice, and he has been around the stage for a long time. Six years as Erik, in The Phantom of the Opera could be considered a long time. His bio is long and full, movies, t.v. and stage.
Glory Crampton [ WIDOW ] the love interest for Nikos does not have the opportunity to sing enough in the show. A lovely looking girl to go with a lovely voice.
Raymond Jaramillo McLeod [ MANOLAKO ] is an impressive figure on the stage. The size of his body and voice are huge.I saw Ray as Juan Peron, and was elated when his name popped up in the playbill.
Dimitri Christy [MAVRODANI ] is another actor whose presence on the stage is powerful. His part will not endear him to the audience, but they will have to recognize his talent.
Natalie Toro [ LEADER ]. This role is that of a narrator of sorts. She wanders in and out of the story explaining it with song. Natalie has a great voice, and is a lovely girl to look at. She played Evita in the national tour, and also sang Memories in Cats.
The supporting players were talented as was the ensemble. NSMT does not put out bad shows. You may not like everything they do, but you must admit that they do things well. Scenery is always a problem with a theatre in the round, but not here. A few of the memorable songs were. NO BOOM BOOM [ very funny ] THE BUTTERFLY, and THAT'S A BEGINNING [ a big dramatic song ].
I am not going to put this show at the top of my favorites list, but I did enjoy it. If it comes around again in a year or two I will be there with my credit card in my hand. Over all it was worth the long ride I had to see it. The price of a seat at NSMT will never make you sell the kids, as one in New York and Boston will do. The cost is one of the best values in the entertainment business..