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A Study Guide Of

Fiddler on the Roof
Music by Jerry Bock Lyrics by Sheldon Harnick Book by Joseph Stein


Compiled & written by Hadley Todoran Edited by Eunice Wadewitz

though far from unsophisticated. In the second Tevye story. the most beloved classical Yiddish writer. and it was considered more sophisticated than Yiddish--the language of the people. sprinkling his speeches with biblical verses.L. The first Tevye story. Sholem Aleichem was Sholem Rabinovitch's tragic-comic persona. But aside from his farcical plots. Sholem Aleichem originally wrote in Hebrew. "Tevye Strikes it Rich. Though Sholem Aleichem wrote novels and plays. Tevye mangles these verses. published in 1894. he used the pseudonym Sholem Aleichem to disguise himself from his father. he escorts them home and is rewarded for his heroism. Because of the humorous elements in his writing. the basis for the show and film Fiddler on the Roof. His writing. Ukraine. letters. he is perhaps best remembered for his fictional confessions. but there is an undeniable darkness to his work. But his luck doesn't last long. and though some believe Sholem Aleichem created Tevye this way to present him as an ignorant Jew. whose "letters" Sholem Aleichem first published in 1892." but a more appropriate translation might be: "What's up?" Sholem Aleichem's work was a dialogue with the people written in a verbal and cultural language that would have maximum resonance. Indeed. The great critic Irving Howe wrote: "As Page 2 of 16 ." published in 1899. it's more likely that the humor is not in Tevye's naivete. Tevye is brought into a doomed money-making scheme by none other than Menakhem-Mendl. pseudobiography… to win the trust of new English readers by insisting their books delivered other people's words. His father--a merchant--was interested in the Russian Haskalah (Jewish Enlightenment). The name itself is significant. Sholem Aleichem is often thought of as a comic writer. he came across a woman and her daughter who are lost. In a classically rabbinic manner. Sheyne Sheyndel. who is a relative of Tevye's (by marriage twice removed). the town his family moved to when he was young. was about the masses and for the masses. but in our not knowing when he is purposefully misquoting and when he isn't. Tevye lives his life intertextually. On his way home from a day working in the fields. "Sholem Aleichem" is a Hebrew greeting. A similar theme is evident in the earliest tale about Sholem Aleichem's most famous protagonist: Tevye the Dairyman." was a monologue. Oftentimes. Of course. Sholem Aleichem also employed stylistic humor. meaning literally "Peace be upon you. Peretz. Like his contemporaries Mendele Mokher-Sefarim and I. a character who mediated the tales of the people to the people. As Harvard Yiddish scholar Ruth Wisse has written. and monologues. Sholem Aleichem Sholem Aleichem. all of this is ample material for comedy. the bubble bursts. and in his teenage years he graduated with distinction from a Russian gymnasium. who Sholem supposed would be disturbed by his choice of language. "Tsvey Shteyner" ("Two Stones")." One such character was Menakhem-Mendl. so too did Sholem Aleichem often present himself as the intermediary between his characters and his readers to attest to the actuality of his creations. But Sholem Aleichem found his voice in Yiddish. After getting over the fear that they are demons. written in the voice of the simple religious Jew. was born Sholem Rabinovitz in 1859 in Pereyaslav. "The Bubble Bursts. Hebrew was the traditional language of Jewish scholarship. when the 24-year old Sholem Rabinovitch published his first Yiddish story. This literary attitude manifested itself in the structure of Sholem Aleichem's work as well. Menakhem-Mendl is a schlimazel (habitually unlucky person) who travels through Russia with his wife. Tevye tells us how he earned enough money to set up a dairy.The Original Book Fiddler on the Roof is based on Sholem Aleichem’s “Tevye the Dairyman” short stories. and he contributed to a number of Hebrew weeklies. "Sholem Aleichem" was more than just a pen name. In it. trying to make his fortune with failed scheme after failed scheme. Sholem attended the heder (Jewish school) in Voronkov. and the young Sholem was exposed to modern modes of thinking in addition to traditional Judaism. "Just as Samuel Richardson and Daniel Defoe used 'discovered' diaries and letters.

loved Sholem Aleichem. Sholem Aleichem was not just a writer of Yiddish fiction. learned. intelligently. and in 1898. Tevye kept a stiff upper lip. Yaknehoz. every one of those daughters of mine . the language that bound all together. warm. he was welcomed with a party at Carnegie Hall. earthy. where he hoped to make a living writing and staging plays. his readership continued to grow. that I could see my Hodl's face that was as pale and worn as the moon. and he returned to Europe and was forced to do reading tours to support himself. Sholem Aleichem published his first fulllength play. 1916. had a fit. 'a Jew's joy is not without fright. He was also one of its most devoted advocates." Sholem Aleichem was a prolific writer. The comparison may seem strange. Sholem Aleichem's 50th birthday in 1909 was celebrated all around the world. line. Sholem Aleichem left Kiev after the pogroms there and went to live in Lemberg. (He was affiliated with the burgeoning Zionist movement. I find that as the Yiddish proverb has it. which would plague him for the last eight years of his life. Passage from Tevye the Dairyman "You can see that I tried to make light of it. which he wrote in Berlin after leaving New York. the same year the first Tevye monologue appeared. Berkowitz. For many years. had become--and perhaps still is--the ubiquitous name of Jewish literature. unlike the Coleridge character." Sholem Aleichem connected with a vast chunk of world Jewry. and Page 3 of 16 . named after a ubiquitous Jewish greeting. for he heard in his stories the charm and melody of a common shprakh.Her voice shook dully. And she. He wrote romantic novels and political ones. conservative or radical. calmly. my Hodl. and Di Goldgreber (The Gold Diggers). and hopeful. and even with my eyes shut. a hapless young man drags a corpse from place to place. He wrote six novels between 1884 and 1890 alone. Sholem Aleichem founded (and funded) Di Yidishe Folksbibliotek. "Every Jew who could read Yiddish.. Later plays included a stage version of his romantic novel Stempenyu. But Tevye is no woman. Jewish children torment their teacher unto sickness. He reached an unprecedented level of fame in his lifetime. In 1906. And on and on. Jews from all around the world and of all religious backgrounds read his work. was not to be outdone by me. Then he left for New York. As Howe put it.In 1894. including Mendele Mokher Seforim and I. Tevye.D. Tevye the Dairyman grabs a listener .. Sholem Aleichem died in New York on May 13. first. produced during his disappointing residence in New York. Tevye is funny. And yet these physical and financial difficulties were wholly incommensurate with his popularity.. Still. of all the assumptions that sustain his world. his creator.. He brought prominence to Yiddish writing that would have been unfathomable to his literary ancestors.I read story after story. published part of a Zionist novel named Moshiekhs Tsaytn. Y.in his case.Should I have thrown myself on her. they do it hook. particularly through the Hebrew translations composed by his son-in-law. an annual journal that published the works of most of the important writers of the period. Peretz.when they fall for someone. Tevye's daughters can talk! .' even that great Jew who has in his stories brought us more joy than anyone else… a clock strikes 13. Sholem Aleichem . Say what you will about them. both the Ancient Mariner and Tevye tell stories of ruin: the Mariner. He lived in many places as well. Sholem Aleichem soon fell ill with tuberculosis. and sinker!" Review Essay of Tevye the Dairyman Like the Ancient Mariner. and when he returned to New York in 1914. whether he was orthodox or secular. Sholem Aleichem.L. Damn them all. the order of shtetl life is undone even on Yom Kippur. She answered whatever I said point by point. But New York was a financial failure for him. of his ship. I felt that I could see her. begged her not to go? But I could see it was a lost cause.and tells a tale. though my heart was weeping inside me. The Times of the Messiah). a tailor is driven mad by the treachery of his perceptions. In the late 1880s. quietly.

Looking at the world with open eyes. have you ever heard a single soul in the village complain that I Page 4 of 16 . wheat. Tevye spends much of the novel railing against the rich Jews of Boiberick. and Tevye denounces her as "dead" (though he also finds himself. "Today's Children. "Are you crazy. "Lekh Lekho. "Tevye Strikes it Rich. "If we blew a small fortune. In "Chava. waxing philosophically. he readily accepts the marriage. however. Sholem Aleichem didn't conceive of a novel when he wrote his first Tevye short story. Her radical egalitarian ideas allow her to believe that she could marry a man outside her class. best captures Tevye's intellectual dilemma." he comments at the end. it's Tevye who's tossed out of Russia by his own son-in-law.he's not unsympathetic to the revolutionary ideas that will ultimately destroy him and his family. not when he wants to.what he calls "the itch to be rich. Tevye asks "In all the years you've been the law around here. and the novel doesn't really get going as an organic narrative until the third chapter. he returns quickly to more Jewishly traditional views of money." Tevye catches the capitalist bug raging through prerevolutionary Russia . in one of the funniest scenes in Yiddish literature. in the privacy of his thoughts. the father-in-law. it's not the daughter who leaves.a godless lout. When evening comes. contemptuous of Jewish tradition." introduce us to Tevye's two favorite subjects: God and money. On the other hand. then ultimately of his entire way of life. viciously mocking how they call themselves "honorable. and barley." it's Bielke.'" he recites. while finally seeing clearly that change will destroy his world.then of the world itself. who catches capitalist fever. On the one hand he's a traditional man. Here." while refusing even to speak with their parents. I ask you."You know there's a God above. revolutionary changes rob Tevye first of each of his daughters. just who do You think will?" "'Bless the fruits of this year'" he continues." in fact. "Tevye Strikes it Rich" and "Tevye Blows a Small Fortune. even preferring the gentle Motl to the old butcher Layzar Wolf." the last story. "Since when can you be the matchmaker." But. because if You don't." Tevye's fourth daughter literally dies. "a Jew prays when he must. completes the picture of revolutionary transformation. like a good socialist. although what good it will do me is more than I can say: does it make any difference to my horse. He ridicules the revolutionaries to Hodl." But when he loses his savings. Disappointment when her beloved's uncle nixes the marriage kills her. and the groom all rolled into one? I suppose you want to be the rabbi and the bandleader too!" Once again. Tevye's fifth daughter. he follows the commandment to pray. he reminds them . he laces the traditional prayers with notably impious demands and complaints." it's the political revolutionary Perchick who steals Tevye's second daughter." the third daughter marries a non-Jew. that's only because we weren't meant to make a big one. Tevye now faces a world devoid of both morality and rationality. "Hodl. then adding "Kindly arrange a good harvest of corn. When Tevye's gentile neighbors come to wreck his home. On the other hand . In "Shprintze." "Money is a lot of baloney." Tevye screams at Motl. Tevye gets his ideas about "honoring" from the fifth commandment. In "Hodl." Tevye shows both his pious and radical sides. pondering "What did being a Jew or not a Jew matter?"). and then adds "take a good look at us poor folk slaving away and do something about it. if the oats I can't afford to buy him are expensive or cheap?" In "Tevye Loses a Small Fortune. But the first two episodes. In each of the subsequent stories.and. Tevye grudgingly admits that change must come. As it happens Tevye holds complicated views on these subjects. she marries a rich Jew . trying to hang on to the religious and economic culture that sustained his people for generations. in many ways this is his tragedy . In "Tevye Leaves for the Land of Israel. He also understands that change will come." the third story. Tevye doesn't know quite what to make of the socialists. commences the portrait of a world where traditional sources of authority gradually lose their grip. Again. don't you?" When a policeman shows up with the order expelling him (and all Jews) from town. commenting. In the first story. Tevye's daughter Tsaitl and Motl the tailor outrage Tevye by arranging their own marriage. For the money alone. Tevye displays both of his sympathies. "'See us in our affliction. Despite his fulminations.to no avail .

faith that saves him. not to worry. Tevye's Jews. Harry. Stein wrote the book for the musical Rags. the duo had their biggest success with their first musical play.the pillars of his old world . However. doesn't die along with it. in 1935. In 1959. Stein remarried in 1976 to Elisa Loti. including the Tony Award for best musical. for Tevye. every theatrical production Stein wrote was a collaboration with Glickman. Stein continued to do well with adaptations. Though backers were originally reluctant to produce the musical fearing it might have limited appeal. Stein’s father read him the stories of Sholem Aleichem. Rags failed to catch on immediately and was a box office failure in its original five-day Broadway run. Plain and Fancy. though. but instructs Sholem Aleichem to "say hello for me to all our Jews and tell them wherever they are. The old world has died. he and writing partner Will Glickman began writing for the stage. in New York City. He wrote for such shows as the Henry Morgan Show and Kraft Music Hall. The Show Book by Joseph Stein Joseph Stein was born on May 30. or philosophical systems that explain God's behavior. based on the novel Zorba the Greek. to weather the ravages of history and build new lives. history sweeps away the shtetls. almost post-modern. however.stole anything. and Joshua. contributing sketches to Broadway revues as well as whole plays and the books for musicals. Stein’s career was not as successful after that point.fall on deaf ears. Tevye argues with God. far away from Tevye's old home. from 1939 until 1945. but somehow Tevye stays afloat. or took the smallest item. Stein did not immediately turn to the theater. "to curse God is to die. or pilfered anything or cheated anyone. Stein would remember these stories when he was called upon to develop the musical that became Fiddler on the Roof. he had his first solo success with an adaptation of Sean O’Casey’s Juno. In 1948." With or without God's help.S. Jews have been doing that for two thousand years." Tevye is no theologian inventing excuses for God. Partly. And it's that perseverance that's allowed us. it received a Tony Award nomination in 1987. In 1946. then his Master of Social Work from Columbia in 1937. Adaptations of other people’s material proved to be the highpoint of Stein’s career. in the last line of the book..?" Tevye's appeals to God and common sense . hitting a low in 1986. Both characters lose everything and survive to tell the tale.. he perseveres. as Hillel Halkin writes in the introduction. The couple had three sons. Unlike the original. "The old God of Israel still lives!" he assures Sholem Aleichem. Stein began writing for radio. but mostly it's his faith. An even bigger hit was Stein’s adaptation of Carl Reiner’s autobiography Enter Laughing in 1963. Fiddler went on to become a smash hit. Stein won three major awards for his effort. And it's this existential. In the end. scolds God like a nagging wife. which was a continuation of the story told in Fiddler on the Roof. His next hit was the book for the 1968 musical Zorba. He believes because he believes. earning his B. Through 1958. berates God. The apex of Stein’s stage career. Like a raging flood. Stein then spent six years employed as a psychiatric social worker. it's faith that distinguishes Tevye from The Ancient Mariner. a former actress and psychotherapist. this is because of his sense of humor. He attended City College. Tevye loses everything. was writing the book for the musical Fiddler on the Roof. the son of Charles and Emma (Rosenblum) Stein. primarily for variety shows such as Your Show of Shows and The Sid Caesar Show and specials for stars like Phil Silvers and Debbie Reynolds. Page 5 of 16 . believing even when God doesn't deserve it. 1912. however. The musical did have some success OffBroadway and in regional productions. Daniel.S. Stein was married to Sadie Singer until her death in 1974. Stein also wrote for television from 1950-62. Growing up in the Bronx. In 1955. who emigrated to the United States from Poland. a noted author of Jewish folk tales. Tevye holds God responsible for all his losses but he never denies God. Tevye. but never breaks with God. but for Tevye survival is no great trick.

Pulitzer and Grammys. in the form of the musical comedy My Dream. "The Boston Beguine" for New Faces of 1952. Page 6 of 16 . music by Jack Beeson. Sheldon Harnick began studying the violin while in grammar school. New York where Bock studied the piano from an early age and began writing music for various shows while still in high school.S. New York Drama Critics' Circle Award. After serving in the U. His first success came during his high school years. earned the Tony Award. an all-male college musical society. music by Arnold Black and based on Norton Juster's popular children's book. His first song in a Broadway show. Ravel.Lyrics by Sheldon Harnick Born and raised in Chicago. it was their second musical. a gold record (for both its Broadway cast album and film soundtrack recordings) and a platinum record (for the Broadway album). A few QuickTime™ and a TIFF (Uncompressed) decompressor are needed to see this picture. Wonderful and Fiorello! was born Jerrold Lewis Bock in New Haven. The Body Beautiful in 1958 showed promise. to lyrics for the opening number of the 1988 Academy Awards telecast. Though his focus had been the violin. Mozart. music by Thomas A. Over the next several years he contributed lyrics or whole songs to such vintage revues as John Murray Anderson's Almanac. His work for television and film ranges from songs for the HBO animated film. Mary Rodgers. based on a series of short stories by Jewish folklorist Sholom Alecheim. The Tale of Peter Rabbit (1991) with music by Stephen Lawrence. 1928. Their musical biography of New York City's legendary mayor earned the Tony Award. Mr. including works by Stravinsky. and eventually decided to try his luck as a theatrical lyricist in New York City. Shepard. presented by the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. In addition to his Tonys. and earned a Bachelor of Music degree in 1949. He wrote the theme songs for two films. based on the legend of Paul Bunyan. he scored the musical comedy. his many other honors include: The Johnny Mercer Award presented by the Songwriters Hall of Fame. In 1964 Bock & Harnick. both with music by Cy Coleman: The Heartbreak Kid (1972) and Blame it On Rio (1984). Big as Life. The Shoestring Revue and The Littlest Revue. who was to become a co-worker on Bock’s early scores. Harnick has provided English-language librettos for classical operas and oratorios. His family moved to Flushing. Bach and Verdi. Richard Rodgers. and put on by Haresfoot. Love in Two Countries (1991). he enrolled in the Northwestern University School of Music. subtle humor and deft wordplay indicative of a Harnick lyric. introduced theatergoers to the wry. that put the team on the map. While the first Bock & Harnick musical. Harnick's other collaborators in musical theatre have included: Michel Legrand. created a musical masterpiece that vividly evoked a vanished community while telling a story with universal and timeless appeal. His original opera librettos include Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines (1975). Connecticut on November 23. Music by Jerry Bock The composer of the Broadway successes Fiddler on the Roof. Pulitzer Prize and New York Drama Critics' Circle Award. FIDDLER ON THE ROOF. Larry Holofcener. and The Phantom Tollbooth (1995). Bock's collaborator was a fellow student. As a senior at the University of Wisconsin. Army for three years. and Joe Raposo. and Muskingum College. FIORELLO! in 1959. more years were spent working on other writers' trouble-plagued Broadway-bound musicals before Harnick joined up with composer Jerry Bock to write their own musicals. songs and parody lyrics. working with director-choreographer Jerome Robbins and book writer Joseph Stein. Sheldon Harnick is a member of The Dramatists Guild and the Songwriters Guild of America. Harnick also developed skills as a writer of comedy sketches. and Honorary Doctorates of Humane Letters awarded by Illinois Wesleyan University. the Marc Blizstein Memorial Award for achievement in the creation of opera librettos.

They passed the test and joined the staff of "The Admiral Broadway Revue. Tenderloin." a New York City Board of Education program on WNYE. Jerry Bock is also an esteemed Inductee into the Theater Hall of Fame. The Apple Tree. The Rothschilds. five Broadway show scores in seven years. Wonderful. Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca. She Loves Me. finally." Two years later. when Jule Styne assigned the score of Mr. the fruitful team of Bock and Sheldon Harnick was born. titled "Wonders of Manhattan. a producer of early music variety shows for television. ***** Characters • • • Tevye: the dairyman Golde: his wife Tzeitel. which culminated in a special children's album for Golden Records. to Jerry Bock. which was to star Sammy Davis.Returning to New York following college." which won an honorable mention at The Cannes Film Festival. This highly frenetic period reached its peak. The shows included The Body Beautiful. Jerry Bock also contributed one song per weekly broadcast of "Sing Something Special. Two songs from that score became standards. and ultimately to George David Weiss as well. resulted in Bock's debut Broadway vehicle. Wonderful. an introduction to the very well-known music publisher." and "Too Close for Comfort. on the eve of the Russian revolutionary period Grandma Tzeitel Fruma-Sarah Constable Fyedka Shaindel: Motel’s mother The Fiddler Villagers • • • Page 7 of 16 . Fiorello. Chava. Shprintze." starring one of the world's premiere comedy duos. Jr. yielding eventually. the score for Catch a Star." which later became "Your Show of Shows. "Mr. Tommy Valando. and Fiddler on the Roof. and Bielke: his daughters Yente: the matchmaker Motel: the tailor Perchik: the student • • • • • • Lazar Wolf: the butcher Mordcha: the innkeeper Rabbi Mendel: Rabbi’s son Avram: the bookseller Nachum: the beggar • • • • • • • Setting THE PLACE: Anatevka. Larry Holofcener. which stands as a record. some pop-styled songs for Sarah Vaughan and Bob Manning and a score for a Columbia Pictures short. During the early 50s period. This was followed by song contributions to Tallulah Bankhead's Ziegfeld Follies. Bock and Holofcener were fortunate in being selected to audition their skills for Max Liebman. The young writers wrote songs for the stars as well as the chorus and the Corps de Ballet.. Hodel. a small village in Russia THE TIME: 1905.

" He ends by insisting that without their traditions. Mendel. Yente. Hodel) 3. Rabbi. The family and their guests welcome the Sabbath (Sabbath Prayer). Avram. Villagers. who plays his violin as Tevye dances his way home.Musical Numbers ACT I 1. Perchik. He describes the inner circle of the community and the larger circle which includes the constable. and agrees to the match with Tzeitel. Tevye’s Monologue (Tevye) 7. Tevye conjures the fiddler. Golde. Golde. Golde. Sabbath Prayer (Tevye. As Tevye staggers home. who warns him that a demonstration is going to be planned against the Jews of Anatevka. Far From the Home I Love (Hodel) 7. Tevye. Motel. In his inebriation. Prologue – Tradition (Tevye. Mendel. Sons. Page 8 of 16 . Chorus) Synopsis Prologue (Act One) Tevye explains the role of God's law in providing balance in the villagers' lives (Tradition). he and the other villagers would find their lives "as shaky as a fiddler on the roof. Anatevka (Golde. including an outsider. Tevye agrees to their marriage. He leaves and Motel and Tzeitel rejoice (Miracle of Miracles). Sunrise. Tevye goes to meet Lazar Wolf. To Life (Tevye. The Rumor (Yente. Russians) 6. Lazar. Villagers) 6. Fruma-Sarah. After a struggle with himself. Chorus) 2. but after she leaves. If I Were a Rich Man (Tevye) 4. Golde rejoices. Perchik. Tevye’s Rebuttal (Tevye) 4. Tevye reflects on how much he wishes he had a small fortune (If I Were a Rich Man). He explains. Golde) 5. but gets tongue-tied. Tevye tells Tzeitel about her engagement to Lazar Wolf. Entr’acte 2. Do You Love Me? (Tevye." Act One: Tevye's daughters wonder if the matchmaker will ever find them the men of their dreams (Matchmaker). Tevye decides to manufacture a wild nightmare (The Dream) to convince Golde that the match with Lazar will result in Tzeitel's death at the hands of the ghost of the butcher's first wife. Tevye invites Perchik. Chava. Daughters. Chorus) 9. to come to his home for Sabbath dinner and arranges for him to instruct his daughters. Chorus) 5. and countless other authority figures. The next day. Golde. approach him with news of a violent pogrom in a nearby village. Hodel. Avram. Yente. tells Golde that she has selected the butcher Lazar Wolf as a match for Tzeitel. the butcher. Matchmaker (Hodel. Chorus) 8. Chorus) ACT II 1. The matchmaker. Chava Sequence (Tevye. A group of villagers. "We don't bother them and so far. Lazar. they don't bother us. Motel tells Tevye that he and Tzeitel gave each other a pledge to marry. the tailor attempts to ask Tevye for Tzeitel's hand. Tzeitel) 3. the priest. Now I Have Everything (Perchik. a young revolutionary student. Sunset (Tevye. he meets the Constable. Miracle of Miracles (Motel) 8. A boisterous celebration ensues involving the villagers and the Russians who also congregate in the tavern (L'Chaim). The Dream (Grandma.

Act Two: Perchik tells Hodel that he is leaving to work for justice in Kiev. Page 9 of 16 . The family is packing the wagon to leave. the Constable and his men enter. Chava explains that they are also leaving because they cannot stay among people who can do such things to others. After they leave. Other villagers join the circle. As the villagers think of their future. Fyedka. Yente tells Tzeitel she has seen Chava with Fyedka. On a village street. "Of course. Chava and Fyedka leave. Tevye appears and Chava tries to talk to him about Fyedka. Fyedka and Chava speak outside the shop." The family begins to clean up after the destruction. he cannot allow himself to answer her plea. As Chava enters Motel's tailor shop. When Chava appears to ask his acceptance. The news Yente has gleaned from a letter from Perchik becomes gossip for the villagers. As the dance reaches a wild high point. Perchik asks Hodel to dance with him and she accepts. Everyone else follows suit. we learn that the new arrival is a sewing machine. You understand?" Tevye replies with mock courtesy. He sings of his love for Chava (Chava Sequence). including the fiddler. She promises to speak to Tevye about their love for each other. To the villagers' dismay. Hodel and Perchik are still in Siberia. Tevye approves in spite of his misgivings. "I am genuinely sorry. a Russian youth. Golde is so horrified that she insists on a marriage between Tzeitel and Motel. He promises to send for her as soon as he can. a group of Russians on the street taunt her. they sing fondly of the village they are leaving (Anatevka). Tzeitel and Motel are staying in Warsaw until they have enough money to go to America. performing the forbidden act of dancing with a man. Sunset) as the traditional Jewish ceremony takes place. Yente is trying to fix up Tevye's remaining daughters with two boys as future husbands. Tevye says that Chava is dead to them. The musicians lead us to the wedding. Motel places his wedding hat on his head. Tevye beckons to the fiddler to follow him. The next day. Chava appears with Fyedka. Prologue (Act Two) Tevye chats with God about recent events. Perchik grapples with a Russian and is hit with a club. The fiddler tucks his fiddle under his arm and follows the group upstage as the curtain falls. Tevye returns home to learn from Golde that Chava and Fydeka have been married by the priest. The villagers are once again gossiping about a new arrival at Motel and Tzeitel's. They destroy everything in sight. Tevye refuses to listen to her and forbids her to ever to speak to him about Fyedka again. Tzeitel says goodbye to them and Tevye prompts Tzeitel to add. Final goodbyes are said and Tevye begins pulling the wagon. They are going to Cracow. Fyedka follows Chava into the shop. insists that they stop. The constable bows to Tevye and says. but leaves quickly when Motel enters. Tevye refuses to acknowledge her. The villagers are gossiping in the street about the mix-up in Tzeitel's wedding plans. The Constable brings the news that everyone in the town has to sell their houses and household goods and leave Anatevka in three days. who turn it into a song that totally distorts the truth (The Rumor). "God be with you!" Chava promises Golde she will write to her in America.Fruma-Sarah. She is going to Siberia where Perchik has been sent after his arrest (Far From the Home I Love). He proposes to her and she accepts (Now I Have Everything). The company sings (Sunrise. he asks Golde if she thinks their own arranged marriage has somehow also turned into a romance (Do You Love Me?). At Motel's shop. After they leave. Tevye takes Hodel to the railroad station. He tries to speak with her.

” Tevye: “May the Lord smite me with it! And may I never recover!” • Tevye: “A bird may love a fish.” Tevye: “For a man with a slow tongue. What have you got against my horse? Sometimes I think when things are too quiet up there. It ran for 3. you say to yourself: Let’s see. ‘I am a stranger in a strange land. a life of poverty. Tevye…bless him with five daughters.” • Tzeitel: “Motel.1971 • Best Cinematography: Oswald Morris • Best Sound Gordon McCallum and David Hildyard • Music.1965 • Best Musical • Leading Actor: Zero Mostel • Featured Actress: Maria Karnilova • Author: Joseph Stein • Producer: Harold Prince • • • • Director: Jerome Robbins Composer & Lyricist: Jerry Bock & Sheldon Harnick Costume Designer: Patricia Zipprodt Choreographer: Jerome Robbins Winner of 3 Academy Awards . even a poor tailor is entitled to some happiness. ‘I am slow of speech and slow of Mendel: “That was also Moses. just before the Sabbath? That wasn’t nice… It’s enough you pick on me.’” Mendel: “Moses said that. our lives would be as shaky as…as a fiddler on the roof! • Mendel: “Is there a proper blessing for the tsar?” Rabbi: “A blessing for the tsar? Of course.” Tevye: “Forgive me. Recently. did you have to make my poor old horse lose his shoe. but where would they build a home together?” Page 10 of 16 tongue.fiddlerontour.Awards & Nominations Winner of 9 Tony Awards . May God bless and keep the Tsar…far away from us!” • Tevye: [to God] “Dear God. 1964 to July 2. It held this record until Grease surpassed it in 1979. Topol won a Golden Globe for this role. As King David put it. Scoring: Adaptation and Original Song Score: John Williams Trivia • The original Broadway production ran from September 22.” • Tevye: [repeated line] “On the other hand…” • Perchik: “Money is the world’s curse. what kind of mischief can I play on my friend. he talked a lot. • A film version directed by Norman Jewison was released in 1971. starring Chaim Topol as Tevye.242 performances and was the longest running Broadway show at the time.’” . he has reprised the role in the 2009 national tour of Fiddler.com Quotes • Tevye: “Without our traditions. More information on the current tour can be found at www. Tevye?” • Tevye: “As Abraham said. 1972.

The essential distinction of Fiddler on the Roof must be kept in mind even as one cavils at a point here or a detail there. But he is too humble to put on airs. With the exception of a grimace or a gesture several times that score easy laughs. they call a spade a spade. lyrical conception. They were ordained to be one. Mr. Mostel sings "If I Were a Rich Man. if I find fault with a gesture that is Broadway rather than the world of Sholem Aleichem." interpolating passages of cantillation in the manner of prayer. is filled with laughter and tenderness. The new musical. is faithful to its origins. if I deplore a conventional scene. five daughters and a native philosophical bent. comedy and emotion-it combines and transcends them to arrive at an integrated achievement of uncommon quality. and his boots are scuffed. vivid dance movement. is relative. he would have chosen him. "I'll talk to You later. one is sure. to eviction and exile from a place that had been home. of course. Mostel bestowed his imagination and incandescence on Tevye in an Off-Broadway and television version of Sholem Aleichem's stories. It touches honestly on the customs of the Jewish community in such a Russian village. Fiddler on the Roof does its bit to make good on this prophecy. The scope of this performance is summed up best in moments made eloquent through music and movement. Now he has a whole evening for Tevye. the knees of his breeches are patched. His full beard is a pious aureole for his shining countenance. "Finally home. the humble dairyman whose blessings included a hardworking. It catches the essence of a moment in history with sentiment and radiance. his Tevye is both devout and pungently realistic. But first to the things that are marvelously right. The book that Joseph Stein has drawn from the richly humorous and humane tales of Sholem Aleichem. which opened last night at the Imperial Theater. Mostel looks as Tevye should. Tevye stays in character. Fiddler on the Roof manages to display several that have authentic character. "Send us the cure. When Page 11 of 16 ." When Maria Karnilova as his steadfast but blunt wife breaks in on one of these communions with a dry greeting. Mr. When Mr. His Tevye is a unified. in the end." Mr. Mostel does not keep his acting and singing or his walking and dancing in separate compartments. Although there is no time in a musical for a fully developed gallery of human portraits. the warm-hearted spokesman of the poor Jews in the Russian villages at the turn of the century. it goes beyond local color and lays bare in quick. my bread-winner!" he is polite enough for a parting word to God. 1964 It has been prophesied that the Broadway musical theater would take up the mantle of meaningfulness worn so carelessly by the American drama in recent years.Published: September 23. "we got the sickness already. For criticism of a work of this caliber." he warns the Lord. and Tevye for him. moving strokes the sorrow of a people subject to sudden tempests of vandalism and. if sharp-tongued.Reviews The New York Times Fiddler on the Roof By HOWARD TAUBMAN . arguing both sides of a case with equal logic. The stringy ends of his prayer shawl hang from under his vest. He holds long conversations with God. Mostel often pauses to carry on a dialogue with himself. it must be remembered. If I wish that several of the musical numbers soared indigenously. Some years ago Mr. On festive occasions he wears a skull cap and a kaftan that give him an appearance of bourgeois solidity. The most arresting. is that of Tevye. Although his observations never are disrespectful. for Tevye. wife. A man of goodwill. If Sholem Aleichem had known Zero Mostel. Compounded of the familiar materials of the musical theater-popular song. Indeed. it is because Fiddler on the Roof is so fine that is deserves counsels toward perfection.

enrich the mood and intensify the emotions." has a ritual sweep. Take the show's third standard. it taps into hopes and dreams to which nearly everyone can relate. The lack of any energy or conviction and the song's throw-away staging . The opening dance to a nostalgic song. A dream sequence is full of humor. Beatrice Arthur as a busybody of a matchmaker. But several of the other romantic tunes are merely routine. the idea that this show is about people experiencing tumultuous emotional and cultural changes didn't occur to him. Michael Granger as a well-to-do butcher and Joe Ponazecki as the gentile suitor are among those who sing and act with flavor.suggest the number was given little attention. Molina delivers it without excitement as a surface-level musing. "Sunrise. not an innate desire. and splashing water also believes Fiddler on the Roof is about tilting floors. Julia Migenes. Sunset.February 26. indicative hand gestures . Page 12 of 16 . Matchmaker" and "Sunrise. The score by Jerry Bock and the lyrics by Sheldon Harnick at their best move the story along. his wife Golde (Randy Graff). And the choreographed farewells of the Jews leaving their Russian village have a poignancy that adds depth to Fiddler on the Roof." the wedding and the epilogue. Austin Pendleton as a poor tailor. Mostel is not only comic but evocative of an old way of life. he weaves dance into action with subtlety and flaring theatricalism. This makes watching the Sholom Aleichem-derived story about Tevye (Alfred Molina). and their daughters in the pre-revolution Russian town of Anatevka an often bewildering experience. Joanna Merlin. "If I Were a Rich Man. moving book. this production is mighty shaky. and the inveterate sorrow of humanity. Mostel dances his anguish in a flash of savage emotion. ***** Talkin’ Broadway’s BROADWAY REVIEWS Fiddler on the Roof by Matthew Murray . yet almost nothing about this production evokes real feelings of any sort. flying roofs. To find the reason. When Tevye hears the horrifying word that his third daughter has run away with a gentile. 2004 It doesn't take long for the revival of the 1964 musical Fiddler on the Roof. One can't help but love the classic Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick score. "Do You Love Me?" the song has a touching angularity. And in Mr. the man who thought Nine was about Lucite chairs. it has an honest feeling for another place. Yes. Yet. with such great songs as "Matchmaker. Richness of flavor marks Fiddler on the Roof. to find its defining statement. Although it does not entirely eschew the stigmata of routine Broadway. The dances at the wedding burst with vitality. "Sabbath Prayer" is as hushed as a community at its devotions. "Tradition. Tanya Everett as three of the daughters. It's spoken by the philosophizing milkman Tevye at the end of the first song. flying sheets. one need look no further than director David Leveaux. Bert Convy as a young radical. Mostel's Tevye it has one of the most glowing creations in the history of the musical theater." or Joseph Stein's insightful. When Tevye and Golde after twenty-five years of marriage ask themselves.Tevye chants a prayer as the good Golde tries to convey an item of vital news. As his own choreographer. they give the work an unexpected dimension of beauty in scenes like "Sabbath Prayer. Boris Aronson's sets provide a background that rings true.complete with generic. time and people. our lives would be as shaky as a fiddler on the roof!" Even with a few of those traditions visible onstage. Mr. Jerome Robbins has staged Fiddler on the Roof with sensitivity and fire. which just opened at the Minskoff. Apparently." Traditionally a showpiece (and showstopper) for Tevye. Mr. Sunset" is in the spirit of a traditional wedding under a canopy. "Tradition": "Without our traditions.

when "Tradition" and "To Life" lack any sort of joy. which he must undo when Tzeitel professes her love for the poor tailor.But the song is vital. While that may be standard revival policy these days. wealth for Lazar Wolf. Hodel (Laura Michelle Kelly). The costumes created by Vicki Mortimer don't suggest poverty for Tevye. whether toasting Tevye's good fortune during "To Life" (usually terrific but otherwise vapid here) or causing a commotion at Tzeitel's wedding by encouraging men and women to dance together. falls in love with the poor student revolutionary Perchik (Robert Petkoff). offering no indication of the sense of lightness the people of Anatevka can find in their lives even at the darkest times.impress the eyes and ears while leaving the heart utterly cold. not only period appropriate but a magnetic onstage presence. and his choice to steep the production so fully in darkness and sadness. and if his singing is a trifle underpowered. Fiddler on the Roof should never . played by Tricia Paoluccio. or define specific characters in any other noticeable ways. Tom Pye's set exquisitely depicts a wasteland filled with barren trees (pay particular attention to the one growing through the tavern floor). it just replaces "The Rumor" and makes the second act seem even drearier. a recounted dream that finds the ensemble emerging in Chagall-inspired costumes. so it never matters to us. but makes little impression overall. Leveaux was apparently far more concerned with the physical production. Last. but while it's exciting when the men make it through the dance without dropping their precariously balanced bottles. and the stage tilting at a precarious angle also ensure that no stray feelings encroach on this moment. in every other way he gives the production's only Tony-caliber performance. Neither does Bock and Harnick's new song. is the choreography . singing passably. But Molina's reactions barely register. Magnificent choreography energetically performed means nothing without the feelings that set up those moments. This proves a dual-edged sword: Robbins's brilliant dances only serve to underscore how uninspired most of the rest of this production is. As each of his daughters break with their culture's long-held traditions. the wind machines. He's the one actor who makes you care about his character. but are mostly lacking in personality. strongly suggest he doesn't understand or respect the material that has proven a cherished classic for almost 40 years. It leads him to arrange a marriage for his first daughter Tzeitel (Sally Murphy) to the wealthy butcher Lazar Wolf (David Wohl). When Tevye's second daughter. Murphy. Molina's an incessantly bland Tevye. The normally wonderful Graff makes Golde a one-note matron less appropriate to Russia than Manhattan's Upper West Side. It doesn't advance the plot or Yente's character in any significant way.many of Jerome Robbins's original dances have been recreated by Jonathan Butterell. but hardly least. that happens in college productions. finds quite a few laughs. might do better without his. Moments like "Tradition" or the wedding bottle dance shine brightly. its sentiment drives Tevye throughout much of the show. from the mild (Tzeitel marrying for love) to the severe (Chava. It never substantially matters to Molina or Graff.as Leveaux's production does . flying ladders and people. for the most part. Nancy Opel. a late replacement for Barbara Barrie as the matchmaker Yente. regardless of how technically polished they are. don't work in this show. Motel (John Cariani). there's no sense of loss. Tevye loses his dream yet again. Kelly. The surprising standout is Petkoff. but with a distracting habit of looking at his feet while dancing. Page 13 of 16 . "Topsy-Turvy" for Yente and two other women. something's seriously amiss. Nor do the actors. It's visually appealing but meaningless. Leveaux's demanding that one mediocre song be replaced by an equally mediocre one. Transitions from speech to singing or dance are not arbitrary and should not be treated as such. Cariani. falling in love with a non-Jewish Russian). and Paoluccio sing well enough. and they're solemnly lit by Brian MacDevitt. unduly spastic and modern. The only exception is Tevye's elaborately conceived ruse to undo Tzeitel's engagement. Songs and dances not truthfully emerging from emotions. He's dynamic throughout.

prepared in accordance with Jewish religious practices o) a word used to express good wishes just before drinking an alcoholic drink meaning “To life!” Page 14 of 16 . observed by Jews as the day of worship and rest i) a figure described in Middle Eastern scriptures as a wise ruler of an empire centered on the united Kingdom of Israel j) money or things that a woman gives to her husband when they marry (often things that can be used in the home) k) spiritual leader of a Jewish congregation. usually done for reasons of race or religion g) the Holy Land h) Saturday.Vocabulary Match the words with their correct definitions.’ b) the emperor of Russia c) a Jewish holiday celebrating the Exodus and freedom from slavery of the Children of Israel d) a vast region on the eastern and North-Eastern part of the Russian Federation that held a series of labor camps called Gulags e) a piece of cloth held up by four poles that symbolizes a couple’s first home together f) a planned killing of large numbers of people. similar to ‘Mr. qualified to explain and apply Jewish law l) ‘good fortune’ in Hebrew m) someone who arranges marriages n) food that fulfills the requirements of Jewish dietary law. 1) Mazeltov _____ 2) Sabbath _____ 3) canopy _____ 4) King Solomon _____ 5) dowry _____ 6) tsar _____ 7) Passover _____ 8) matchmaker _____ 9) rabbi _____ 10) L’chaim _____ 11) Kosher _____ 12) pogrom _____ 13) Israel _____ 14) Siberia _____ 15) Reb _____ a) a title of respect for a man.

but it is oft sited as one cause of the decline of American Judaism. Perhaps intermarriage is not the end of the world. Hodel said she didn’t want permission but wanted the father to give his approval. Intermarriage is common today. 2) At the end. Tzeitel couldn’t resist talking to her “traitor” sister. even though Tevye considered Chava “dead.Discussion Questions 1) When the three oldest daughters decided to choose their own husbands. using the story from the show. 6) Tevye disowns Chava for marrying a Christian.” Would it be easier for a sister or a father to love such a person? Why? Do you think Tevye should have said more.” Which of them was being reasonable. and Chava merely asked the father to “accept us. Tzeitel begged her father to give permission. and which were asking too much of their father? Explain your answer. but is it something we should worry about? What do you think Tevye would say about this? 7) How does Tevye try to transmit his sense of Judaism to his daughters? What might he have done differently if he had sons? 8) Can “tradition” be updated? authentic? Is it possible to have new forms of tradition that are still 9) What kind of life do you imagine Tevye having in America? Do you have questions or comments about Fiddler on the Roof or the Civic Theatre's production of it? Join the discussion on Facebook: Fort Wayne Civic Theatre. 5) Do you think it is true that “money can’t buy happiness”? Explain. Vocabulary Answers 1) l 2) h 3) e 4) i 5) j 6) b 7) c 8) m 9) k 10) o 11) n 12) f 13) g 14) d 15) a Page 15 of 16 . or was his blessing (“and God be with you”) enough? 3) When should people be forgiven after they do something wrong? Can traitors be forgiven? 4) Must outside influences be blocked out entirely in order to safeguard tradition? Explain.

com/fiddler-roof/author-biography http://www.html http://www.html http://www.uk/creative_team.talkinbroadway.php?id=3213 http://en.org/wiki/List_of_the_longest-running_Broadway_shows http://www.wikipedia.pdf • • • • • • Page 16 of 16 .com/topic/reb http://www.jhvc.php/exhibits/bio/C328 http://www.musicalheaven.cn/Fiddler.html?html_title=&tols_title=FIDDLER%20O N%20THE%20ROOF%20(PLAY)&pdate=19640923&byline=By%20HOWARD%20TAUB MAN&id=1077011429952 http://www.last.com/production.org/+10006 http://theater2.imdb.com.com/ http://judaism.html http://www.ibdb.org/courses/course_notes/realams_web/REALAMS_Tevye.bjeny.html http://www.htm http://www.thurrockoperaticsociety.Bibliography • • • • • • • • • • • • • http://www.com/cs/jewishweddings/f/Chuppah.com/world/Fiddler.litlovers.com/SheldonHarnick.christinepedi.fiddlerontour.html http://www.nytimes.com/mem/theater/treview.krigline.com/Detailed/1509.songwritershalloffame.htm http://www.fm/music/Jerry+Bock http://www.answers.pdf http://www.about.org/index.org/pdf/judaic_curicula/CurrentEvents/FiddlerRoofresources.com/title/tt0067093/ http://www.enotes.yiddishbookcenter.co.com/guide_tevye_dairyman.

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