Zorbá is a stage musical based on the novel Zorbá the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis.



The setting is Crete in 1924. Nikos, a young student, has inherited a mine which he plans to resurrect to its working state. With his new friend, Zorba, he travels from Piraeus and lodges with a French woman, Hortense. It soon becomes apparent that Zorba and Hortense are attracted to each other and there soon becomes a romantic involvement. Zorba tries to get Nikos interested in a young Widow who brings them lunch but Nikos treads wearily. Zorba is very much his own man and a law unto himself. Nikos has given him money with which to buy supplies to enable them to reopen the mine but Zorba goes off and spends it all on a belly dancer. Hortense, meanwhile is romantically dreaming of marriage with Zorba - and a wedding ring! Despite his misgivings Nikos plucks up his courage and goes to visit the Widow. Their meeting is witnessed by a young man, Pavli, who is somewhat mentally unbalanced. resulting from witnessing the assignation of the Widow and Nikos, Pavli throws himself into the sea.

Next morning, village celebrations are stilled when Pavli's body is washed up onto the shore. Zorba returns to the village with no supplies for the mine, no money and no wedding ring for Hortense. Nikos tells the Widow how much she means to him - and the feelings are reciprocated. But their love comes too late. A member of Pavli's family stabs her to death, blaming her for Pavli's suicide. The bad news does not stop here. A survey of the mine shows that it has been closed too long and that it will be impossible to reopen it. Zorba is a philosophical man, but Nikos cannot understand Zorba's attitude to those who killed the Widow. Zorba explains that one must accept death as one accepts life, all there is left to do is dance.

Hortense has become very ill and in her delirium, she imagines she is a young girl again. Zorba rushes to her side but to no avail. Nikos and Zorba, in their mutual grief, begin to dance. Nikos decides to return to Athens - and Zorba to wherever life leads him.

Musical numbersEdit

Act I
  • "Life Is" – Leader and Company
  • "The First Time" – Zorba
  • "The Top of the Hill" – Leader and Chorus
  • "No Boom Boom" – Madame Hortense, Zorba, Nikos and Admirals
  • "Vive La Difference" – Admirals and Dancers
  • "Mine Song" § – Company
  • "The Butterfly" – Nikos, Leader, The Widow and Chorus
  • "Goodbye, Canavaro" – Madame Hortense and Zorba
  • "Grandpapa" – Zorba, Leader and Chorus
  • "Only Love" – Madame Hortense
  • "The Bend of the Road" – Leader and Chorus
  • "Only Love" (Reprise) – Leader
Act II
  • "Yassou" – Nikos, Zorba, Madame Hortense, Leader and Chorus
  • "Woman" § – Zorba
  • "Why Can't I Speak" / "That's a Beginning" – The Widow and Nikos
  • "Easter Dance" § – Company
  • "Miner's Dance" § – The Men
  • "The Crow" – Leader and Women
  • "Happy Birthday" – Madame Hortense
  • "I Am Free" – Zorba
  • "Life Is" (Reprise) – Leader and Company
§ = in 1983 revival

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