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ZORBA Starring Antonio Banderas Confirmed for Fall 2011

Following many recent reports and quotes from Antonio Banderas himself, producer Barry Weissler has confirmed to the New York Times that his revival of ZORBA is indeed on track for an opening night "by mid-fall 2011".

Director David Leveaux will helm the Broadway revival of ZORBA, starring Antonio Banderas. The news was reported today by Variety. Leveaux directed Banderas in the 2003 Roundabout Theatre Company revival of NINE.

Zorba will be produced by Barry and Fran Weissler. A workshop for the new staging was held last month.

According to Variety, Weissler has said it was too soon to know the production's capitalization costs, but did say that he intends to include a set design that thrusts the playing space beyond a theater's traditional proscenium and into the auditorium.

Last week, stage and screen star Antonio Banderas confirmed his intention to star in the Broadway revival of ZORBA, and hopes to see it open in September, 2011.

The actor tells WENN: "I'm going to have a meeting here (in New York) in order to establish a date for me to come back to Broadway." Banderas adds, "And I hope that if everything goes right, I cross my fingers, that may happen in September 2011 and it will be with the musical Zorba."

In a recent NY Times article, Mr. Weissler discussed the importance of appropriately-sized theatres. The paper reports that " Mr. Weissler, for instance, seeks a theater for next season for his planned revival of the musical “Zorba” that would suit not only a bucolic Mediterranean set design but also the desire of his star, Antonio Banderas, to avoid performing in one of Broadway’s bigger theaters. (Houses range in size from about 600 seats to about 1,900, with 15 having more than 1,300 seats.) “We’d like to build the set out into the audience somewhat, and we have Antonio’s wish to keep the production intimate, so that the audience feels they are on a journey across the cliffs of Crete,” he said."

Michael Riedel of the New York Post previously reported that the revival of "Zorba" will be directed by Gary Griffin, choreographed by Sergio Trujillo and produced by Fran and Barry Weissler. 

UGO MovieBlog interviewed the big screen heartthrob who last appeared on Broadway in NINE about taking on the lead role in adaptation of the 1964 film based on a book by Nikos Kazantzakis, reported the website. Banderas spoke about his desire to return to the stage, remarking in the excerpt below when asked about the big screen adaptation of Nine:

Antonio Banderas: All I can tell you is that for me, Nine was a theatrical experience. Probably the most beautiful time that I spent professionally, not in front of a camera, in America was on that stage of Nine every night, fighting with that character and confronting audiences. And I plan to go back to Broadway very soon.

Jordan Hoffman: Do you have something specific in mind or just a general desire to get back onstage?

Antonio Banderas: I've been offered to do Zorba The Greek. Another piece that has to be revisited. I saw the movie a couple weeks ago and it surprised me. I remember seeing the movie in the '70s at some point, but I didn't completely remember the entire story. I remember it being something more festive, more happy, but when I saw it the other day suddenly I found it a dark movie with ups and downs, like life itself, moments of comedy and moments very dark and very profound. And I love that, the possibility of jumping on the stage again to create a character that has nothing to do with what I did in Nine. So if everything goes on track, I believe I'll be onstage again in a year.

The actor won major critical acclaim on Broadway for his performance in Maury Yeston's musical Nine, based on the film 8½, playing the prime role. Banderas won both the Outer Critics Circle and Drama Desk awards, and was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Actor in a musical for his performance in Nine.

Although Nine marks Banderas' only Broadway appearance to date, he appeared as Che in the film version of Evita and was also in the running to play the title role in the film adaptation of The Phantom of the Opera (before it went to Gerard Butler). A film star in his native Spain before coming to America, he has acted in such films as Desperado, Original Sin, Femme Fatate, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Frida, Shrek 2, and the Spy Kids movies, as well as in the HBO film "And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself." He was more recently seen in the dance film, Take the Lead.

Banderas will next be featured in "Shrek Forever After," the final chapter in the adventures of the beloved ogre, Shrek, and the first of the series to be presented in 3D. It is directed by Mike Mitchell and stars Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz and Antonio Banderas.

In "Shrek Forever After," Shrek, who has already successfully challenged an evil dragon, rescued a beautiful princess and saved his in-laws' kingdom, is faced with the question: What's an ogre to do? Well, if you're Shrek, you suddenly wind up a domesticated family man. Instead of scaring villagers away like he used to, a reluctant Shrek now agrees to autograph pitch forks. What's happened to this ogre's roar? Longing for the days when he felt like a "real ogre," Shrek is duped into signing a pact with the smooth-talking dealmaker, Rumpelstiltskin. Shrek suddenly finds himself in a twisted, alternate version of Far Far Away, where ogres are hunted, Rumpelstiltskin is king and Shrek and Fiona have never met. Now, it's up to Shrek to undo all he's done in the hopes of saving his friends, restoring his world and reclaiming his one True Love.


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