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Zdenka Kovacicek became a member of PIK when she was 5 years old and there took acting, singing and dancing lessons. With this renowned children’s theatre she toured across Europe at a very young age. She remained one of the PIK’s members until she started her singing career.
Her next contact with the theatre happened in 1979 in Zagreb’s ‘Komedija’ theatre as the part of Metikos, Krajac and Prohaska’s rock opera ‘Gricka vjestica’ (‘The witch from Gric’) based on the novel by the Croatian writer Marija Juric-Zagorka. She played the part of baba Ursa in more than 200 performances.
From 1984 onwards she took acting lessons in the classes of the distinguished Croatian actors Marija Kohn and Kresimir Zidaric in ‘Bagatela’ theatre, led by Slavica Maras. Thrilled by Zdenka’s acting talent, Kresimir Zidaric founded an acting company comprised of theatre enthusiasts and talented actors at Mosa Pijade’s university in Zagreb. This resulted in a successful comedy piece entitled ‘Obljetnica braka’ (‘The Wedding Anniversary’) in which Zdenka and Kresimir Zidaric played the leads and for which Zdenka also chose the music. The world premiere took place in Zagreb’s ‘Vidra’ theatre in front of the ecstatic audiences. Unfortunately, Kresimir Zidaric’s premature death put a stop to further plans and guest appearances of this show.


Zdenka got her next opportunity to show her versatile talent in acting, imitating and TV hosting in 1997 with her own TV show entitled ‘I to sam ja’ (‘This is also me’), aired on Croatian National Television.

The year 2002 saw Zdenka’s collaboration with the renown director Damir Zlatar Frey in ‘Slovensko stalno gledalisce’ in Trieste, Italy, where she played the lead in the rock opera ‘Princesa na zrnu graha’ (‘The princess and the pea’). Once again she wowed the audiences and the critics in Slovenian, Italian and Croatian press.




Zdenka's greatest theatrical success to date occurred in the autumn of 2008, when she premiered her latest project ‘S ljubavlju, Janis’ (‘With love, Janis’) and the standing ovations that happened at the opening night continue with every new performance of this excellent musical. It’s worth noting that this is a European premiere of this musical and that Zdenka is the first European to play this role. Similarly, many critics emphasise that Zdenka is the only artist capable to mimic the legendary Janis Joplin with her unique vocals and outstanding interpretation.
This Broadway hit is written by Randall Myler and is based on the autobiography written in 1992 by Janis’ sister Laura upon the letters that Janis regularly sent to her family. Through these letters and her music we follow Janis’ short and restless life. Zdenka plays the part of Janis by singing the most of the vocally demanding score, while Marija Boric appears as a young Janis.
The company on stage consists of 11 people, both actors and musicians. Fifteen of Janis’ hit songs are performed chronologically with her life story by some of Zagreb’s famous rock musicians, such as Branko Bogunovic and Neven Mijac, to name just few. Other acting members of the company include Jasna Palic Picukaric, Davor Svedruzic and Adam Koncic.
More information on the show can be seen on ‘Komedija’ theatre official website here


Love, Janis - written by : Diana Rexhepi 

What took place on November 8/08 Saturday evening in the Zagreb municipal theater "Comedy" can be described as a most impressive cultural and musical event in the recent Croatian history.

It was the opening night of the biographical music story "Love, Janis" that in a packed house of the "Comedy" theatre by its quality stood out and outperformed all similar or less similar cultural and musical shows produced in Croatia in the last 20 years. The story told from the other side of a too short a life of the last-century's greatest female rock-star, Janis Joplin, and the live performance of her greatest hits provoked in the audience a deep emotional charge, raptures, screaming, tears out of enthusiasm and even crying aloud of some audience members.

The most responsible for eliciting such emotions in the audience is Zdenka Kovačiček whose performance of Janis's hits, accompanied by the playing of the very best Zagreb rock-musicians, swept away all we have seen so far in musical shows since Croatia has become the independent state. But it was by no means a perfectly reconstructed Janis's look in costumes worn by Zdenka Kovačiček that knocked the audience off its feet.

By her voice as well as by the typical stage movements of the 1960s Zdenka Kovačiček as Janis Joplin gave so authentic and thoroughbred performance that now and then it seemed like Janis herself had resurrected and sung in the Zagreb "Comedy" theatre.

That's what makes this show, which will be a lot written and heard of even outside Croatia, so special. There's also an interesting commentary made by an experienced female musician who after the show said that it's questionable whether Janis herself, if alive, would be able to sing in a row all her hits like Summertime, Me and Bobby McGee, Cry Baby, Mercedes Benz, Try...

Even after 50 years of her career, the phenomenon known as Zdenka Kovačiček, herself a music institution, is able to surprise, provoke, elate and enrapture. In a magnificent and sophisticated way this phenomenon has been dictating music taste to the Croatian audience and shaping its sensibility.

Indeed, Zdnka Keovačiček is one of the highest-quality female artists emerged in Croatia in the last hundred years.


You can also read some of the acclaiming reviews from the Croatian press (in Croatian):
Burne ovacije broadwayskom hitu 'S ljubavlju, Janis'  (Autor MILJENKO MITROVIĆ)
(Outstanding ovations for the Brodway hit : Love, Janis)
Janis oživjela u glasu i glumi Zdenke Kovačiček    (Autor  ŽELJKO SLUNJSKI)
S ljubavlju, Janis  (Autor MIRTA ŠPOLJARIĆ)


About the musical
From the Croatian "News" and the show "Dobro jutro Hrvatska"
From the TV show "Dancing with the stars"
Piece of my heart


Encouraged by the great success of “Love, Janis” Zdenka’s restless and creative spirit soon found the new challenge in the musical “Ella and Marilyn”, which had its Croatian premiere on March 24, 2014 at Zagreb’s ‘Komedija’ theatre. Just like in her previous musical, Zdenka Kovačiček got accolades from both the critics and the audiences. For the part of Ella Fitzgerald in 2014 she received the Croatian Actors’ Guild Award nomination in the category of the best actress in a musical. This interesting story paints the portrait of two great artists – Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe when they met during one special week in the 1955 United States of America. Already popular and a world-renowned celebrity, Marilyn Monroe found out that her favourite African-American singer Ella Fitzgerald cannot perform at the elite LA jazz club Mocambo. At the time of racial segregation in America, this sort of bans was very strong, so Marilyn decided to make a bold and risky move. She phoned the Mocambo club owner and promised to sit in the front row if he invites Ella to perform. The plan of the beautiful actress worked. She kept her promise and for the whole week sat in the front row and watched her favourite singer perform. Backstage, in the dressing room of the smoky club, the two megastars became friends and they changed each other’s lives forever.

This moving story about friendship, courage, fears and hopes that exist even in the greatest and most loved artists will give you a chance to take a sneak-peak in the souls of two special women and enjoy their beautiful music. Hence, you will hear Ella’s greatest hits, such as “Lady Be Good” and “Blue Moon”, while Marilyn will naturally sing (among other things) her famous signature song “Diamonds Are The Girl’s Best Friends”.

Zdenka Kovačiček as Ella, Vanda Winter as Marilyn, together with the live performance of the top jazz band and the ‘Komedija’ theatre’s ballet ensemble will make the audience of the famous Mocambo club seem like a distant and poetic time, back when the big stars were only human.

Written by Bonnie Greer
Translated to Croatian by David Stopper
Directed by Nina Kleflin
Production design by Osman Arslanagić
Costumes by Marija Šarić Ben
Choreography by Dejan Jakovljević
Rehearsals by Joe Kaplowitz
Zdenka Kovačiček as Ella Fitzgerald
Vanda Winter as Marilyn Monroe
The Band:
Mladen Baraković, Zdenko Ivanušić, Joe Kaplowitz, Ante Mažuran,
Ramon Reberšak, Borna Šercar
The ‘Komedija’Theatre’s ballet ensemble:
Mateja Ivanković, Petra Radošević, Morana Paškiević,
Dejan Jakovljević, Emil Kuzminski, Zoran Simikić
Stage manageress: Doroteja Dajčić
Prompter: Dorotea Krivec



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