Hamilton director Tommy Kail to direct new film adaptation of Fiddler on the Roof
It seems that MGM and Tommy Kail have made them a match (and found them a find and caught them a catch).
EW has confirmed the Hamilton director is attached to direct a feature film adaptation of beloved musical Fiddler on the Roof for MGM. Kail is a Broadway darling, having won a Tony for his work on Hamilton and accolades for helming the original stage production In the Heights. He also oversaw the highly anticipated live filming capture of Hamilton, which will premiere on Disney+ in July. Dan Jinks (American Beauty) and Aaron Harnick are attached to produce alongside Kail.
Steven Levenson, who penned the book for Dear Evan Hansen, and was the showrunner for another Kail project, FX mini-series Fosse/Verdon, will write the script. Kail and Levenson developed and produced Fosse/Verdon together and Kail directed five episodes.
Fiddler on the Roof is a beloved American classic, winning nine Tony Awards, including Best Musical after its 1964 Broadway debut. It features music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, and a book by Joseph Stein.
Set in Imperial Russia in the early 1900s, the musical follows Tevye, the father of five daughters, and his struggles to maintain his Jewish cultural and religious traditions in his family amidst the influence of outside forces. He must contend both with his daughters desires to marry for love, often taking them far from their cultural heritage, as well as an edict evicting Jews from their village. Memorable songs include "If I Were a Rich Man," "Sunrise, Sunset," "Matchmaker," and "To Life." It's been revived numerous times, most recently 2015 saw a buzzy Broadway revival helmed by Bartlett Sher with Danny Burstein portraying Teyve. A Yiddish adaptation also made waves in a 2019 Off-Broadway production directed by Joel Grey.
Fiddler on the Roof was previously adapted for the screen in 1971. The Norman Jewison film earned eight Oscar nominations, including best picture and best director.
"It has been a life-long dream of mine to direct Fiddler, though I always imagined I would do it on stage," Kail said in the studio’s announcement. "I am over-joyed to have the opportunity to make a new film version of my favorite show with Mike DeLuca at MGM, where so many transcendent musical movies have been made. I’m proud to partner with Dan Jinks, Aaron Harnick and my great pal, Steven Levenson, to honor a work that has profoundly inspired me and millions of others."
“Fiddler On The Roof was the first piece of theater I saw, at the age of 5. Today, more than 50 years after it changed the face of Broadway forever, the story of Tevye and his beloved village of Anatevka feels more timely than ever," added Levenson in the announcement. "I am beyond grateful to Mike DeLuca and MGM, Dan Jinks, and Aaron Harnick for the opportunity to tell this unforgettable story of resilience and hope in the face of hopelessness, and I am delighted to be collaborating again with the inimitable Tommy Kail.”
Frequent Kail collaborator Lin-Manuel Miranda also shared the news with a Twitter post proclaiming, "Wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles," a lyric from Fiddler.
Deadline first reported the news here.