In Tsarist Russia in 1905, poor dairyman Tevye (Goodman) is doing his best to preserve tradition in the face of a changing world by marrying his daughters off in the traditional Jewish way. But revolution is in the air and the young are guided by their hearts, not their elders. When his daughters refuse the matchmaker's advice and marry for love instead, Tevye must choose between their happiness and his beloved traditions.
Fiddler on the Roof has a book by Joseph Stein, based on the stories of Sholom Aleichem, choreography by Jerome Robbins and a famous score by Jerry Block (music) and Sheldon Harnick (lyrics) which features songs such as "Tradition", "Matchmaker, Matchmaker", "Sunrise, Sunset" and "To Life, If I Were a Rich Man".
The musical originally appeared in 1964 on Broadway, where it ran for 3,242 performances, and received its London premiere at Her Majesty's theatre in 1967. It was made into a 1971 film starring Topol, who had also played Tevye on stage. This new production, directed by Lindsay Posner, was seen this past Christmas at Sheffield Crucible, where it ran from 30 November 2006 to 20 January 2007.
Henry Goodman (pictured as Tevye in Sheffield) is appearing this month at the London Coliseum, playing as the Duke of Plazatoro in the English National Opera production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Gondoliers (See News, 6 Aug 2006). Swapping regularly between plays and musicals, Goodman’s many London stage credits include Art, Guys and Dolls, Angels in America, Feelgood, Follies, The Exonerated and Chicago, as well as The Merchant of Venice and Assassins, both of which won him Oliviers.
Prior to Fiddler on the Roof, Goodman had recently appeared in Lindsay Posner’s productions of Moliere’s The Hypochondriac (Almeida) and Pinter’s The Birthday Party (Birmingham Rep and West End). Posner’s many other directorial credits include Fool for Love, Tom and Viv, The Hypochondriac, Romance, Oleanna and Sexual Perversity in Chicago.
In a virtually fully intact company, other principal cast members reprising their performances from the Sheffield run of Fiddler on the Roof are Julie Legrand, Victor McGuire and, as Tevye’s wife Golde, Beverley Klein. After opening at the Savoy in May, Klein will be absent for a handful of performances in May when, as previously announced (See News, 15 Mar 2007), she’ll be appearing in the Royal Opera House’s revival of Sondheim’s Into the Woods at the Linbury Studio.
Also in the Fiddler on the Roof company are: Juliet Alderdice, Natasha Broomfield, Tomm Coles, Steve Fortune, Damian Humbley, Gareth Kennerley, Vincent Pirillo, Alex Ruocco, Alexandra Silber and Frances Thorburn. The production is designed by Peter McKintosh, with lighting by Peter Mumford and Jerome Robbins’ choreography recreated by Sammy Dallas Bates with additions by Kate Flatt. It’s presented in the West End by Kim Poster for Stanhope Productions and Bulldog Theatrical.
Currently at the Savoy, Trevor Nunn’s musical adaptation of the Gershwins’ jazz opera Porgy and Bess, which opened on 9 November 2006 (previews from 25 October), has posted closing notices for 5 May (See Today’s Other News).
- by Terri Paddock