The King of Diamonds

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There are three works with this name on record, two South African are plays. There is also an American TV series called King of Diamonds (1961–1962)

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.

The King of Diamonds, a film treatment by Stephen Sondheim

According to Stephen Banfield (1993), Stephen Sondheim also did a film treatment called The King of Diamonds with Larry Gelbart in 1954. No trace of such a film can be found however.


Stephen Banfield, 1993, Sondheim's Broadway Musicals (p. 27)[3],

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

The text

Possibly based on Harold J. Laite's play, The King of Diamonds is a musical play with Barney Barnato (1851-1897) [4] as central figure and hero, with a book by Bob O'Keefe, music by Edgar Adeler.

South African Productions

1961: Produced by NTO in 1961. Directed by Robert Langford. Cast included Roscoe 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.

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