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
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
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
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
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"
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
About the musicalFrom the
Croatian "News" and the show "Dobro jutro Hrvatska"
SummertimeFrom 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 GreerTranslated to Croatian by David StopperDirected by Nina KleflinProduction design by Osman ArslanagićCostumes by Marija Šarić BenChoreography by Dejan JakovljevićRehearsals by Joe KaplowitzStarringZdenka Kovačiček as Ella FitzgeraldVanda Winter as Marilyn MonroeThe Band:Mladen Baraković, Zdenko Ivanušić, Joe
Kaplowitz, Ante Mažuran,Ramon Reberšak, Borna ŠercarThe ‘Komedija’Theatre’s ballet ensemble:Mateja Ivanković, Petra Radošević, Morana
Paškiević,Dejan Jakovljević, Emil Kuzminski, Zoran
SimikićStage manageress: Doroteja DajčićPrompter: Dorotea Krivec
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