Fiddler on the Roof
By Berta Hyken
Fiddler on the roof
By Berta Hyken
A theater piece cherished by a diverse set of people of all ages and backgrounds, “Fiddler on the Roof,” celebrates a little village, Anatevka, home to a Jewish family coping with a change in the times. Taking place in the tzardom of Russia; the setting is the year 1905. Tevye and his five daughters, who live in the little village aka “shtetl,” experience being forcefully evicted by Russian soldiers. The first daughter, marries a tailor and stays in the town until the end; another daughter marries a socialist who gets arrested in Kiev, so she goes to Siberia to await his release. The last daughter marries a non-Jew and is given the silent treatment and disowned by Tevye, the father. The regime of the Tsar causes each daughter to move farther and farther away from the family’s traditions. Tevye, the Dairyman, finds himself losing his daughters due to their break from “Tradition,” which incidentally is the name of the opening song. His daughters all wished to marry for love, something unheard of at that time. Their desire was in direct conflict with the traditional values of the village, who had a “matchmaker,” the name of another popular song. The story revolves around the three daughters who begin to have a little more leeway in choosing their own partners, and living their own lives away from family and the shtetl.
Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick, created this classic, Tony Award winner, with musical favorites like, “Sunrise, Sunset,” “Miracle of Miracles,” “Sabbath Prayer,” “To Life,” “If I Were A Rich Man,” and “Matchmaker, Matchmaker.” Fiddler on the roof surpassed the 3000 mark for number of shows many years ago, a few years after it opened in 1964, to critical acclaim. It won the Tony Award for Best Musical in 1965, when Zero Mostel, a widely viewed actor in his time, played Tevye.
At the Fox, the show was brought to life with choreography and lively dancing spanning the stage. The play brought together many young actors coming from all over. Yehezkel Lazarov, who played Tevye, came from Israel and had a slight accent, adding to his portrayal of the Jewish, “Papa.”
Seeing this at the Fox was spectacular. The Fox opened in 1929, showing mostly films of the silent era and then “talkies.” The fabulous ceiling structures add to the ambiance along with the other decorative fixtures. After dazzling audiences with films and shows for 50 years, the Fox closed and was subsequently bought and restored. The theater is now home to many Broadway performances and special events throughout the year.
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