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Timbuktu! is a musical, with lyrics by George Forrest and Robert Wright, set to music by Borodin, Forrest and Wright. The book is by Luther Davis. It is a resetting of Forrest and Wright's musical Kismet. The musical is set in 1361 in Timbuktu, in the Empire of Mali, West Africa.

Timbutku! musical playbill.png
Original Broadway Playbill
MusicGeorge Forrest
Robert Wright
LyricsGeorge Forrest
Robert Wright
BookLuther Davis
BasisThe musical Kismet
Productions1978 Broadway


The musical premiered on Broadway at the Mark Hellinger Theatre on March 1, 1978, and closed on September 10, 1978, after 221 performances and 22 previews.

The original production starred Eartha Kitt as Shaleem-La-Lume, William Marshall as Hadji, Gilbert Price as the Mansa of Mali, Melba Moore as Marsinah, and George Bell as the Wazir. Ira Hawkins replaced Marshall prior to the Broadway opening.[1] It was directed, choreographed and costume designed by Geoffrey Holder, with sets designed by Tony Straiges. Alan Eichler was associate producer.[2] Gerald Bordman noted that the sets and costumes had "a Ziegfeldian opulence." New songs based on African folk music were added to provide "some tonal verisimiltude."[3]

Following its Broadway run, it toured for more than a year with Kitt continuing in her starring role as Shaleem-La-Lume, Gregg Baker as Hadji, Bruce Hubbard as the Mansa and Vanessa Shaw as Marsinah.[4].


Awards and nominationsEdit

1978 Tony Award nominations
1978 Drama Desk Award nominations
  • Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Choreography - Geoffrey Holder
  • Drama Desk Award Outstanding Costume Design - Geoffrey Holder


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Bordman, Gerald Martin. American Musical Theatre: A Chronicle, "Act Six:Full Circuit; or, Return of the Brits" American Musical Theatre: A Chronicle (3rd ED.), Oxford University Press US, 2001, ISBN 0-19-513074-X, p. 750
  4. ^

External linksEdit