ZSUZSA CSISZTU / AIPS – BUDAPEST: Some 75 years ago this week, on August 20, 1945, Ferenc Puskás played for Hungary for the first time and also scored his first goal in a 5-2 defeat of Austria. To mark the anniversary a musical has been created with a preview in Budapest’s Erkel Theatre on Thursday, the very anniversary.

Puskás A Musical, directed by Vajk Szente, brings alive a tribute to the most famous Hungarian, and also to the country’s great Golden Team. The musical tells the life story of Puskás from 1937, when was 10, and first joined Kispest up to Real Madrid’s European Champion Clubs’ Cup finals victory over Eintracht Frankfurt in 1960.

At a launch press conference musical producer László Szabó said: “Each and every Hungarian person in this world is touched by Puskás and the story of the Golden Team.

“It is a brave move to make a musical about Puskás but the creators and the team guarantee the worthy tribute.

Ferenc Pusks, now also a football poster boy

“This musical can be played on any international stage just as Ferenc Puskás could play on any international football field. Puskás embodied all that we Hungarians are proud of: patriotism, bravery, friendship, loyalty and naughtiness.”

The debut production had been planned for Heroes Square to commemorate the 75th anniversary but that open-air staging has had to be postponed because of the pandemic.

Cast of 100+

Some 21 actors, 60 dancers and 30 child actors will participate in the show which features 20 songs.

The pre-shows will be on 20 August at 3pm and 9 pm. The audience for the final rehearsal will be health workers in the capital who have been invited to a free staging.

Puskás A Musical is not the first major production from Vajk Szente. His previous successes include the Sister Act Show and Shrek. The show is the latest original Hungarian composition from the trio of Levente Juhász, Vajk Szente and Attila Galambos.

Szabo added: “Each member of the production was invited to participate in the show. I reached out to those professionals and experts whose work is beyond question and who can bear the weight of such a production.

“We all know the name of Puskás and of the Golden Team but to understand their history we must get to know their personal stories.

Heroic theme

“When we decided to create a musical of Ferenc Puskás’s life, we agreed on two important things: it mustn’t be a football musical but a heroic one. And we also decided that beside the grandiose outcome, the most important thing to focus on is the authentic psychology of it.

“We had to create a show that pays proper tribute to the most well-known Hungarian legend.”

Expert guidance about Puskas’s life was provided by György Szöllősi, the editor-in-chief of Nemzeti Sport, chairman of the Hungarian Sports Journalist Association and author of a Puskás biography.

Szöllősi said: “A new artistic generation is paying tribute in a special genre to the heroes of the Golden Team who become historic figures in front of our eyes: it is incredible and moving to see personalities such as Zoltán Czibor, with whom I talked many a nights and about whom I wrote a book, being played by Márk Ember, who is one of the favourites of my daughters, and was only four years old when Czibor died.”

The cast: 

Ferenc Puskás: Tamás Veréb

Wife of Ferenc Puskás, Erzsébet Hunyadvári: Gyopár Kovács

József Bozsik: Tibor Fehér

Ferenc Puskas: Captain of Hungary

Zoltán Czibor: Márk Ember

Klára: Petra Gubik

Mihály Farkas: Sándor Nagy

Red comrade: Szilveszter Szabó P.

Emil Östreicher: Béla Szerednyey

Gusztáv Sebes: Péter Cseke

György Szepesi: Levente Harsányi

Gyula Grosics: Nándor Berettyán

Sándor Kocsis: Dávid Péter Cseh

József Zakariás: Ádám Pásztor

László Budai: Péter Kovács

Gyula Lóránt: Zoltán Illés

Nándor Hidegkuti: Dániel Solner

Jenő Buzánszky: Dávid Baranya

Mihály Lantos: Richárd Kovács

Alfredo di Stefano: Balázs Nagy

Mother of Ferenc Puskás, Margit Bíró: Erika Náray

Father of Ferenc Puskás, Ferenc Purczeld: Zoltán Barabás-Kiss

Stage designer Tamás Rákay, costume designer Yvette Alida Kovács, choreographer Lajos Péter Túri, music executive Katalin Károly.