Zorba’s wild spirit springs into Breck
BRECKENRIDGE – If you can’t relate to Zorba the Greek, maybe you don’t belong in Summit County.
“Zorba” tells the story of two men – one who lives in his head, and one who lives through his heart – who change each other’s lives forever.
“What’s important (in the end) is really kind of telling, especially for those of us who choose to live in Summit County,” actor Michael Amouck said.
Zorba celebrates life with the vitality of a young child facing new adventures and the wisdom of an elder who, having seen it all, realizes there are no big deals.
“Zorba’s whole philosophy as a person is the less you have, the freer you are,” Amouck said. “He teaches Nikos to open his heart and live a little – not look before you leap every time – and (Nikos teaches him) you have to hang onto a few things.”
“He has a zest for life, and he imparts to (Nikos) that life is to live, and enjoyment is not to be delayed,” said actress Pat Tjaden, who plays a townsperson.
The story begins when Nikos, a single professor, leaves America to reopen an inherited mine in Crete. When he stumbles upon Zorba, the two men strike up a friendship that takes them through love, loss – and celebration.
“It’s a nice little emotional roller coaster,” Amouck said. “Unlike your typical Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, Zorba shakes you up a little bit.”
“(Zorba imparts) the best way to live is to live as fully as you can, because that’s all you really have,” said Glen Graber, who plays Zorba. “(He teaches Nikos) “Life goes on. We had this moment, and we will have other moments. Everything that happens happens for the first time. Live in the here and now.'”
“I think it’s a real tear-jerker, but I also think it will be really uplifting at the end,” Tjaden said. “I always joke, Zorba was a Buddhist because he believes in living every moment to the fullest and never being tired no matter how many times you’ve done something. (It’s about) living with your soul and not your head.”
True to Zorba’s character, the performance of “Zorba” explodes with enthusiasm and spirit. With music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb, both of whom wrote “Cabaret,” the play swells with up-tempo songs and dances. The music has a Greek flair, laden with fire and spirit.
“The music is very different,” Tjaden said. “It has a very unusual beat, and it’s all flats. It has this cultural twist to it. The music is very emotional.”
“Zorba” is the biggest production of the season, brimming with about 30 chorus members and several main characters.
“It’s a large-scale production,” said actor Frank Landy, who plays a townsperson. “This is really going to be high-level stuff. It’s probably a level above what you see in community performances.”
Presented by the Backstage Theatre and the town of Breckenridge, “Zorba” springs to life at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and runs through Sunday, Sept. 1, at the Riverwalk Center.
Tickets range from $16 to $20 and may be purchased by calling the Riverwalk Center box office at (970) 453-3187. Proceeds benefit arts programs for students in the Summit School District.
– When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 29 to Sunday, Sept. 1
– Where: Riverwalk Center, Breckenridge
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