Kismet

Kismet is a musical written in 1953 by Robert Wright and George Forrest, adapted from the music of Alexander Borodin, and produced by Charles Lederer. The story was adapted from the book by Charles Lederer and Luther Davis, based on Kismet, the play by Edward Knoblock.

The Broadway production premiered on December 3, 1953 at the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York. Directed by Albert Marre, with sumptuous settings and costumes by Lemuel Ayers, the show opened in the midst of a newspaper strike and, despite the sparsity of reviews, ran for a successful run of 583 performances. The original production starred Alfred Drake as the poet Hajj, Doretta Morrow as his daughter Marsinah, Richard Kiley as the young Caliph of Baghdad, and Joan Diener as Lalume, the vampy wife of the evil Wazir.

With extreme cleverness and a fair amount of luck, the poor street poet, Hajj, rises from the streets of Baghdad to being crowned as Emir by the Wazir of Baghdad. Meanwhile, the Wazir is desperately trying to find a wealthy foreign princess for the Caliph to marry. This plan hits a snag when the Caliph falls in love with Hajj’s beautiful daughter, Marsinah, without the knowledge of Hajj. Thus, Hajj is helping the Wazir but risking losing his son-in-law. After a series of adventures, the Caliph and Marsinah are able to continue their love affair while Hajj is rewarded by gaining the affections of the Wazir’s sexy widow, Lalume.

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