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Fiddler on the Roof

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Fiddler on the Roof
Everett Collection

Fiddler on the Roof

type:
Stage
Current Status:
In Season
run date:
02/26/04
performer:
Harvey Fierstein, Alfred Molina
director:
David Leveaux
author:
Joseph Stein

We gave it an A

In the pantheon of great stage-to-screen adaptations, 1971’s Fiddler on the Roof is all too frequently forgotten. Director Norman Jewison opened up the musical — the story of God-fearing milkman Tevye (charismatic Israeli actor Topol) and his daughters — beautifully: setting ”If I Were a Rich Man” in a dusty, run-down barn; using songs to underscore rather than stop the show. (In ”Tradition,” the butcher and blacksmith provide percussion, women knead dough on the downbeats; we hear the villagers’ voices, we just don’t see them sing.) Even after three hours in Anatevka — fret not, the film zips by like a hem on Motel the tailor’s sewing machine — you’ll be up for the extras on this two-disc Collector’s Edition; on top of myriad previously released featurettes, there’s a chat with the female stars (Rosalind Harris, who understudied Bette Midler’s Tzeitel on Broadway, auditioned at Midler’s behest) and a tribute to Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick’s standard-stuffed score. It’s a wonderful way to revisit — or discover — a stunner of a musical. A