RISE & SHINE BROADWAY FANS! The 71st Annual Tony Awards is only 16 days away and we have more exciting showstoppers coming your way on our TOP 30 TONY AWARDS COUNTDOWN.
At # 16, we take you to a small poor village in the Pale of Settlement of Imperial Russia in 1905 where the local residents especially the local milkman are always staying true to their traditions (almost everyone) during difficult times. This is Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick’s legendary iconic musical Fiddler on the Roof. It also features a book by Joseph Stein. The musical is based on Sholem Aleichem’s acclaimed 1984 fictional memoir TEVYE AND HIS DAUGHTERS.
From last year’s 2017 telecast, Tony nominees Danny Burstein as “Tevye”, Jessica Hecht as “Golde”, and the cast of the most recently acclaimed 50th Anniversary Broadway revival perform the show’s Wedding scene (towards the end of Act 1) featuring the classic SUNRISE, SUNSET leading into the victory celebration with the toe tapping WEDDING DANCE.
FIDDLER ON THE ROOF was originally first conceived in 1919 as a dramatic play adaptation of TEVYE AND HIS DAUGHTERS by Sholem Aleichem (following the success of his book of the same name) and was performed by the Yiddish Art Theatre company (before becoming a film in the 30’s). However, it wasn’t turned into a musical till the 50’s. When the show was first being developed, producers and investors were skeptical at the time that the story would be “Too Jewish” to mainstream audiences. Plus the original story had an intense sad ending leaving poor “Tevye” all alone plus seeing his wife and children dead. However, the ending was change to be even happier as the family was alive all emigrating to America.
The show officially premiered on Broadway in 1964 at the Imperial Theatre (later transferring to the Majestic Theatre and the Broadway Theatre) for a total of 3,242 performances. The cast starred Zero Mostel (later Hershel Bernardi, Theodore Bikel, Harry Goz, Paul Libson, and Chaim Topol as “Tevye” and Maria Karnilova (later Peg Murray and Dolores Wilson) as “Golde). Also the cast featured Tony nominee this year Bette Midler in her Broadway debut as a replacement for the role of Daughter “Tzeidel” (originated by Joanna Merlin). The show went on to become a huge Broadway smash hit. It was nominated for 10 Tony Awards in 1965 winning 9 including Best Musical and Best Leading Actor in a Musical (for Zero Mostel). It later received a special Tony honor as The Longest Running Show in Broadway History (at the time).
FIDDLER was later revived on Broadway 4 times. The first revival happened in 1976 at the Winter Garden Theatre for 176 performances. The cast starred Zero Mostel reprising the role of “Tevye”.
The 2nd revival happened in 1981 at Lincoln Center for only 53 performances starring Hershel Bernardi and Maria Karnilova reprising the roles of “Tevye” and “Golde”. It received only 1 Tony nomination for Best Leading Actor in a Musical (for Hershel Bernardi) but lost the category.
The 3rd revival happened in 1990 at the Gershwin Theatre for 241 performances. The cast of this revival starred Chaim Topol reprising the role of “Tevye” and Marcia Lewis as “Golde”. This revival was nominated for 2 Tony Awards in 1991 winning only 1 for Best Revival of a Musical.
The 4th revival happened in 2004 at the Minskoff Theatre for 816 performances. The cast starred Alfred Molina (later Harvey Fierstein) as “Tevye” and Randy Graff (later Andrea Martin and Rosie O’Donnell) as “Golde”. The cast also featured acclaimed Olivier Award winning actress Laura Michelle Kelly as one of the daughter’s “Hodel” and an 18 year old Lea Michele as daughter “Sprintze”. This revival received 6 Tony Award nominations that year including Best Revival of a Musical but lost all the catagories.
The 5th and most recent Broadway revival (as seen in this video) happened in 2015 at the Broadway Theatre to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of this iconic musical. It featured Danny Burnstein as “Tevye” and Jessica Hecht (later Judy Kuhn) as “Golde”. It was nominated for 3 Tony Awards last year including Best Revival of a Musical but lost all the categories. It recently closed this past New Year’s Eve after 464 performances.
FIDDLER ON THE ROOF continues to become an iconic musical with productions worldwide and a popular choice for schools, community, and regional theatres.
It also went on to become an acclaimed smash hit on the big screen. The film adaptation was released in 1971 starring Chaim Topol reprising his performance of “Tevye” and Norma Crane as “Golde”. It went on to win the Golden Globe for Best Picture and 4 Oscars including Best Original Score.
Doesn’t this musical make you want to raise a glass TO LIFE?!!
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