Congratulations Fiddler on the Roof! (1964)

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Friday, 22 September 2017

1964 -

One of the longest running musicals on Broadway has its birthday today. September 22, 1964 was the day Fiddler on the Roof was played for the first time on Broadway at the Imperial Theatre. Although critics weren’t all that positive, the play would become a tremendous success.

Tevye in Anatevka
Fiddler on the Roof is based on the stories written by Solem Aleichum. It tells the story of a milkman, Tevye, in the Russian village of Anatevka at the turn of the 20th century. Tevye is a Jew, but he is struggling to match modern times with old traditions. He is trying to raise five daughters and make sure they marry an honest man who can make a living. Meanwhile he and his wife need to be afraid of pogroms and expulsions in changing Russia.

Shtetl Kitsch
The play was criticized by many. It was considered ‘too Jewish’, or ‘too superficial’. The New Yorker called it ‘Shtetl kitsch’, a musical that didn’t match the original story. For example, at the end of the musical all family members are alive and together immigrating to America. At the end of Aleichum’s stories, Golde is dead and the daughters scattered. Nevertheless, the musical would break every record, is one of the longest running productions on Broadway and endures international popularity.

360 trivial fact
Mad Magazine published a parody relating to the show, called Antenna on the Roof. Showing the live of Tevye’s descendants living in 1970’s suburban America.


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