The King of Diamonds

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There are two versions of this South African play, in addition to a number of international film and TV works.

The King of Diamonds by Harold J. Laite (1953)

The original play

Written as a three-act play by Harold J. Laite, dealing with Cecil John Rhodes (1853-1902) [1] and Barney Barnato (1851-1897) [2]. It was published by Pioneer Press in Cape Town in the 1956.

South African performances

1953: First presented at the Labia Theatre, Cape Town, 1953.


Text of The King of Diamonds, University of Stellenbosch Library Catalogue.

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The King of Diamonds - the musical by Bob O'Keefe, and Edgar Adeler

The text

This is a musical version of Harold J. Laite's play, The King of Diamonds, with Barney Barnato (1851-1897) [3] as central figure and hero. The book is by Bob O'Keefe, the music by Edgar Adeler. Unpublished.

South African Productions

1961: Produced by National Theatre Organisation (NTO), directed by Robert Langford. Cast included Roscoe C. Behrmann; Virginia Lee; Joe Stewardson; Viviene Adley; Jimmy Asser; Patrick Mynhardt; Hugo Warren; Bella Mariani; Elizabeth Evans; Tiny Walker; Jo-Ann Pezarro; Gabriel Bayman; Sheila Forbes; Diana Shahn; Patsi Kahn; Ronald Bloch; Alan Cean; George Jackson; Hugh Claven; Ivo Pellegrini; Casper Dyason. Musical director: Bill Walker. Choreography: Richard Daneel.


The King of Diamonds theatre programme, NTO, 1961.

Go to the ESAT Bibliography

Other works by this name

1954: According to Stephen Banfield, Stephen Sondheim did a film treatment called The King of Diamonds with Larry Gelbart in 1954. No trace of such a film can be found however.

1961-1962: An American TV detective series by United Artists called King of Diamonds.

1991: The King of Diamonds (Chaukat Raja), is a film by directed by Sanjay Soorkar (India, 1991)


Stephen Banfield , 1993, Sondheim's Broadway Musicals, p. 27[4],

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