Wednesday 29 July 2015

Joseph Stein's "Fiddler on the Roof"

"Fiddler on the Roof", set in Imperial Russia in 1905, centres on a poor milkman who struggles to raise his five daughters in the Jewish faith, despite outside influences.  His three oldest daughters wish to marry for love, not faith.  In the meantime the Czar declares an edict evicting all Jews from the village.  In the closing scene, the two youngest daughters leave the village for America, escorted by the town fiddler.

The musical premiered on Broadway in 1964, spawning such hits as "Matchmaker, Matchmaker" and "If I Were a Rich Man".  It starred Zero Mostel as the milkman, Maria Karnilova as his wife, Bea Arthur as the Matchmaker and Gino Conforti as the Fiddler.  Fiddler on the Roof was the first musical to surpass 3000 performances, a record not broken until Grease hit the theatre in 1978.  The production won the Roof won nine Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book.

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