NEW YORK – A new theater production on the life of Aristotle Onassis, titled Onassis, The Play, runs March 3-20, off-Broadway at The American Theatre of Actors, 314 West 54th Street in Manhattan.
The one-man show about the “great tycoon”, directed by Dikran Tulaine, will be performed by gifted actor Anthony Skordi who was born in London, England, to Greek-Cypriot parents. He attended Drama Centre in London, was a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, 1990-2, and a member of Vanessa Redgrave’s Moving Theatre Company. He has voiced many video games, promos, and trailers and has appeared as series regular on several TV series in Europe, including in the UK and Greece, and continues working both in the U.S. and Europe. Among his television roles as series regular, Skordi played Silas Manatos in Prime Suspect 1973, and in the U.S. he was featured in episodes of popular series such as Scorpion, The Blacklist, and The Last Ship. Skordi wrote Onassis the Play and performed it at the Stella Adler Theatre in Los Angeles in 2011-12 and after a run in Atlanta, Georgia, February 10-26, is now bringing the play to New York.
Skordi told The National Herald in a previous interview that the play about the larger-than-life Onassis took about 11 months before its initial run in Los Angeles. When asked how his heritage influenced his work, Skordi said: “specifically to Onassis, the play, my Greek-Greek Cypriot roots, heritage, upbringing have been immensely helpful in feeding the mentality, the thought process, the Greek Orthodox ethos coupled with the tradition of the gods of Mount Olympus where we still say: ‘It’s fate, destiny’ which is Onassis’ uncle Alexandros’ take on life, that the Myrai controlled it all and he had no choice, coupled with Yiayia Gethsemeni telling Ari to pray and be good and at the end to repent for his sins and he shall be saved.”
Of the most rewarding aspect of working on the show, Skordi told TNH: “To see people connect with a man they thought they had nothing in common with. An opportunity to play a character that would never be written for us Greek actors, to be able to weave in Greek myths into the play.”
Louis Katsos, East Mediterranean Business Culture Alliance (EMBCA) President and AHEPA National Hellenic Cultural Commission Chairman, spoke to TNH about the importance of supporting the production, especially in this centennial year of the Smyrna Catastrophe.
“This year is the 100th Anniversary of the Burning of Smyrna which I have discussed yearly in various EMBCA panel discussions and felt the Onassis story and play were part of that story through an individual,” he told TNH. “As such, after discussions I was more than happy to have helped sponsor the Off Broadway play Onassis, written and acted by the well-known actor Anthony Skordi in a story that must be told about one of the richest, most famous, and most fascinating men of the 20th Century, a product of that Catastrophe. If we don’t support our own who will and the very talented actor Anthony Skordi and his brilliant play deserve our support.”
“Born in Smyrna, Onassis fled the city with his family to Hellas in 1922 in the wake of the burning of Smyrna in the last phase of the 30-Year (1894-1924) Hellenic/ Christian Genocide,” Katsos told TNH. “He never forgot that during this period, he lost three uncles, an aunt and her husband Chrysostomos Konialidis and their daughter, who were burned to death in a church in Thyatira where 500 Christians were seeking shelter during the Smyrna burning. With the Onassis family’s substantial Asia Minor property holdings lost, he and his family became refugees and Aristotle was hell-bent to succeed. He moved from Hellas at age 17 in 1923 to Buenos Aires, Argentina, with a Nansen passport (originally and officially stateless persons passports from 1922 to 1938) virtually penniless. The rest is history.”
Tickets for Onassis, The Play, off-Broadway at The American Theatre of Actors, 314 West 54th Street in Manhattan, are available on Eventbrite: https://bit.ly/3GS4DEA.
PHILADELPHIA – The Federation of Hellenic Societies of Philadelphia and Greater Delaware Valley announced that the Evzones, the Presidential Guard of Greece will be participating in the Philadelphia Greek Independence Day Parade on March 20.
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