No For An Answer: A Greek-American People’s Opera from the 1940s
Steve FrangosOn January 5, 1941, the first of only three performances of the Broadway musical, “No For An Answer,” opened at the Mecca Temple in New York City. Brooks Atkinson, critic for the New York Times, an attendee of the premiere immediately called it, a “very exciting in performance.” That musical’s setting was unusual in the extreme, considering that the action of this drama focused on the lives of the assorted members of the Diogenes Social Club, a loose gathering of immigrant Greek workers that regularly assemble along Nick Kyriakos’ lunchroom counter. But more was at work than merely its thematic setting. The three performances were advertised as semi-staged (and forced to bill itself as “experimental”) because, frankly, there simply was not enough money to mount a fully- realized Broadway musical.
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