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Elliot Norton Reviews; Kismet


Preservation Dub from 2” Master ; transferred 8/27/99

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Elliot Norton Reviews
Series Description

Boston theatre critic Elliot Norton interviews prominent actors, directors and producers on their craft. (Aired from October, 1958 to 1982. Winner of both Peabody and Tony Awards.) Series release date: 1958

Program Description

Elliot Norton interviews actor John Raitt, who is starring as Hajj in the romantic play “Kismet” opposite actress Anna Maria Alberghetti at the North Shore Music Theatre in Beverly, MA. Raitt is well-known for his leading roles in Broadway musicals including “Oklahoma! (1943)” “Carousel (1945),” “Carnival in Flanders (1953),” “The Pajama Game (1954).” Norton and Raitt discuss the original casting of Alfred Drake in the 1953 Broadway production of “Kismet” and the mutual admiration between the two actors. Since the production at the North Shore Music Theatre is being done in the summer theater circuit, he was only given seven days of rehearsal time as opposed to the four to five weeks he was given for Broadway productions of “Pajama Game” and “Carousel.” In order to prepare of time, he studied the recordings of Alfred Drake’s production for over a month and then took off two or three weeks right before rehearsals started to separate himself from Drake’s take on the role and come into his own. Norton finds the script “silly” and points out that Raitt does not play the role of Hajj as tongue-in-cheek as Drake. They discuss some choices in cuts to the score and book of “Kismet” that were made during the rehearsals and run of the production. Norton comments on how obvious it is that Raitt loves singing and Raitt says, “Sometimes I’m so excited about it, I almost feel like I’m going to take off.” He demonstrates how his singing voice is a lyric baratone, so he is able to easily switch between singing and talking. He attributes the pleasure he feels when singing to the fact that he doesn’t have to work hard to break into song and always having a positive attitude.

Director: Russell Tillman

Asset Type

Broadcast program

Media Type


Talk Show
Performing Arts
Chicago: “Elliot Norton Reviews; Kismet,” 06/22/1971, GBH Archives, accessed May 27, 2024,
MLA: “Elliot Norton Reviews; Kismet.” 06/22/1971. GBH Archives. Web. May 27, 2024. <>.
APA: Elliot Norton Reviews; Kismet. Boston, MA: GBH Archives. Retrieved from
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