Fiddler on the Roof

'Miracle Of Miracles:' A Party To Celebrate Fiddler's 50th

Jewish Week Online Columnist
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Jerome Robbins first discovered the shtetl when he was six years old. He was born on the Lower East Side, home of immigrants from Eastern Europe. His father took him to Poland to see where his Rabinowitz family came from.

Chaim Topol, Sheldon Harnick and Mike Burstyn celebrate “Fiddler on the Roof.” Tim Boxer/JW

Strings Attached To ‘Fiddler’

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While its central motif is a precariously perched violinist, “Fiddler on the Roof” has about as tight a grip on the Jewish — and non-Jewish — imagination as any work of popular culture. This was abundantly in evidence on Monday night, at the jubilant celebration of the 50th anniversary of the iconic musical, orchestrated by the Folksbiene Yiddish Theatre.

“Fiddler” lyricist Sheldon Harnick, whose 90th birthday was marked at gala. Michael Priest Photography

Coexistence, With Oud

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With all the hoopla surrounding the 50th anniversary of “Fiddler on the Roof” on Broadway, the musical’s final scene of the shtetl-dwelling Jews being forced off their land lingers in our minds. But to visual artist and playwright Tom Block, it is not just Jews, but Arabs as well, who have suffered displacement from a cherished homeland.

Artist Tom Block’s mural serve as a backdrop for play at the 14th Street Y.  Courtesy of Tom Block

‘A Touchstone For Modern Jewish Identity’

The Folksbiene marks ‘Fiddler’ at 50.

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For a musical about the ravages of time on an ancestral heritage, “Fiddler on the Roof” has itself aged remarkably well. While much has changed in the half-century since “Fiddler” first had its Broadway debut, the Jerry Bock-Sheldon Harnick-Joseph Stein musical inspired by the dissolution of the Eastern European Jewish way of life still crystallizes for American Jews the value of their Jewish roots.

Andrea Martin and Harvey Fierstein starred in a 2005 revival of “Fiddler on the Roof.” Courtesy of Folksbiene

Sunrise On ‘Fiddler’ Lyricist’s Forgotten Musicals

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He may be best known as the lyricist for “Fiddler on the Roof,” but Sheldon Harnick, who turns 90 this year, is one of the most prolific artists in the American musical theater. Now, audiences will have a rare opportunity to see some of Harnick’s lesser-known works, including some for which he also wrote the book and music. For its annual Musicals in Mufti series, the York Theatre Company is staging four forgotten Harnick musicals over the next two months (, [212] 935-5820).

Best known for “Fiddler on the Roof,” Sheldon Harnick says he never saw himself “specializing in Jewish themes.”

Tracing Tevye’s Cultural Footprint

Alisa Solomon looks at the deep imprint made by ‘Fiddler on the Roof,’ as the 50th anniversary of the show’s Broadway debut nears.

Culture Editor

In the spring of 1969, a group of black and Puerto Rican junior high school students staged “Fiddler on the Roof” in Brownsville, Brooklyn, as black-Jewish tension swirled around them amidst school and community board controversies and teacher strikes. Richard Piro, the drama teacher directing the production, believed that the show would give these kids a more sympathetic understanding of Jews. The principal would have preferred “Guys and Dolls.”

In “Wonders of Wonders,” Alisa Solomon traces the history of “Fiddler on the Roof” and its path through various countries.

A Slimmed-Down ‘Fiddler’

Special To The Jewish Week

True to its vertiginous title, “Fiddler on the Roof” has become the most elevated and exalted of all Jewish musicals. Now comes a touring production of “Fiddler” that seeks to bring the musical down to earth with a focus on the show’s simpler, purer aspects rather than its larger-than-life qualities.

“Fiddler on the Roof” will be performed in Rockville Centre and at Lehman and Brooklyn colleges.

A Queens Library ‘Tradition’

Staff Writer

The Fiddler on the Roof in the Kew Gardens Hills branch of the Queens Library wasn’t only in the library’s CD and DVD racks one recent Friday afternoon — the fiddler was on the roof, too.

Daniel Meyer dressed as the Fiddler on the Roof, part of a Queens Library stunt. Courtesy Queens Library

A Fiddler’s Goodbye


The recent passing — just nine days apart — of Jerry Bock, 81, composer for “Fiddler On The Roof,” and Joseph Stein, 98, who wrote the musical’s book (based, of course, on Sholom Aleichem’s short stories), leads us — those old enough, anyway — to recall and honor the remarkable energizing impact that the show had on the Jewish community of 1964.

Jerry Seinfeld said the other week that his first visit to Broadway “was when my parents probably shlepped me to ‘Fiddler on the Roof.” So it was for a lot of us.

Death, and "Fiddler of the Roof"

My story this week is about the scholars who are pushing hard against myths about the shtetl, especially the kind peddled by "Fiddler on the Roof."  

As it happens, the composer of that Tony-winning classic died yesterday: Jerry Bock, at 81.  Eerily, the writer of the musical's book, Joseph Stein, died ten days before.  They both will be missed, deeply.

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