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Lonny Price Will Direct 'Re-Imagined' KISMET in Santa Barbara


A note from the team acknowledges 'profound cultural responsibility'.

Lonny Price Will Direct 'Re-Imagined' KISMET in Santa Barbara

According to an Equity casting notice, Lonny Price will direct a production of Kismet this October at the Granada Theatre in Santa Barbara, California. With Broadway producer Ken Davenport attached as Executive Producer, the production will be presented in collaboration with the Santa Barbara Symphony and State Street Ballet.

MENASA performers are encouraged to audition, and the team included a note on 'cultural responsibility' in the breakdown:

KISMET takes place in a fictionalized 11th Century Baghdad in a fantasy world of the Arabian Nights. KISMET tells a story with imaginary characters who belong to their own universe with its own laws and logic. This story, and all its characters, locations, and allusions, are the result of the authors' admiration of the literary heritage of the MENASA cultures. This extraordinary heritage abounds in themes that blend tragic with comic, reality with illusion, prose with poetry, and we are deeply indebted to the literature that inspired this story and the characters in it. And further, we acknowledge our profound cultural responsibility in the re-imagination of those respected and beloved cultures that inform this fantasy.

A piece in the Montecito Journal indicates that the production might update some of the original dialog.

Kismet is a musical adapted by Charles Lederer and Luther Davis from the 1911 play of the same name by Edward Knoblock, with lyrics and musical adaptation (as well as some original music) by Robert Wright and George Forrest. The music was mostly adapted from several pieces composed by Alexander Borodin. The story concerns a wily poet who talks his way out of trouble several times; meanwhile, his beautiful daughter meets and falls in love with the young caliph. The musical was first produced on Broadway in 1953 and won the Tony Award for best musical in 1954. It was also successful in London's West End and has been given several revivals. A 1955 film version was produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

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