Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles (2019) Movie Script

A fiddler on the roof
sounds crazy, no?
But, in the little village
of Anatevka,
you might say that everyone
was a fiddler on the roof,
trying to scratch out
a pleasant, simple tune
without breaking their necks.
It wasn't easy.
You may ask,
"Why did they stay up there
if it was so dangerous?"
We stayed,
because Anatevka was our home.
And how do we keep our balance?
That, I can tell you
in one word...
I remember...
When I said I was gonna do it.
I have a fan in Japan
who has come to see me
in different shows
over the past 15 years.
She lives on an island.
She doesn't speak English,
and she writes to me,
"Dearest Joel"...
and sends me presents.
And I wrote her recently,
saying, "I'm doing 'Fiddler
on the Roof in Yiddish, '"
and she said,
"That's my favorite musical."
What is that?
What is that that makes it
speak in so many languages
and everybody thinks
it's about them?
What's so special
about this story
is that it all
can relate to anybody
who's ever been a parent,
who's ever been a child,
who's ever been forced
to leave their home, to...
Who's ever been ostracized
for what they believe
or how they look.
This story remains
so resonant and so relevant.
Because it is a dark musical,
and that can be satisfying, too,
is that, in such entertainment,
such high performance value
of dancing and singing
and melody and story
and laughter,
that there... you know,
there is the other side,
which is to say,
it's not just fluff.
It's not just inconsequential.
It's... It's life.
And in those moments
of darkness and reality
like the ones we live in now,
we have pieces of theater
like this to remind us
that we're not alone
in the world and in history.
On September 22, 1964,
"Fiddler on the Roof"
opened on Broadway.
Composer Jerry Bock
and lyricist Sheldon Harnick
are here today to tell us
about their hit show
on "The American
Musical Theatre."
What was it
about that moment in '64?
What did New York have?
New York was
the capital of theater.
It was the capital
of advertising.
It was the capital of magazines.
It was sort of
New York in its glory.
It was a place
where you could be an outsider
to the rest of the country.
You were ethnic.
You were Jewish. You were Greek,
You were Italian.
You were African-American.
You could be gay.
And New York
was this hub that allowed
this crisscrossing of...
Of being who you were,
but selling to... to the mass.
We should introduce ourselves.
In place of your usual
glamorous hosts,
you have
two frightened writers today.
This is Sheldon Harnick,
who wrote the lyrics
to "Fiddler on the Roof."
And this is Jerry Bock,
who wrote the music
to "Fiddler on the Roof."
There's noodles to make
And chicken to be plucked
And liver to be chopped
And challah to be baked
Race with the sun
So at the proper time
The candles
Can be lit and blessed
There's noodles to make
And chicken to be plucked
And liver to be chopped
And challah to be baked
Race with the sun
So at the proper time
The candles
Can be lit and blessed
Et cetera.
In "Fiddler," these outsiders,
who had come up through
the family of the theater,
told their own story,
told the story
of their grandparents,
of being ethnic and made that
American popular culture.
Someone sent me
a book by Sholem Aleichem
called "Wandering Stars."
It's like a Dickensian novel
about a Yiddish theater troupe
touring all over Eastern Europe,
and I loved it.
And I gave it to Jerry Bock,
and he loved it,
and we thought
there's a musical in it.
We thought who would be
the right person to do the book,
and we thought of Joe Stein.
And my father read the novel
and did not think
it could be musicalized.
And he then suggested
the Tevye stories,
which he fondly remembered
from childhood.
The warmth of Tevye, his humor,
his relationship with God,
his deep humanism in the context
of this very religious,
formerly religious,
and rigidly religious
Joe had read them
in the original Yiddish,
and so we got ourselves
some translations
of his short stories,
and, one by one,
fell in love with the writing,
the ambience, the atmosphere,
the connection
it made with us as well.
Much of the most profound
of Sholem Aleichem's writing
was concerned with his people,
who were
in this remarkable transition
from tradition to modernity.
All of the spectrum
of human emotions
that you see
in Sholem Aleichem's work
were in him, the man.
He was funny, and he was angry,
and he was neurotic,
and he was anxious
and he was loving
and he was ruthlessly ambitious
about his own writings.
In some sense, he lived for
and in his writing.
He would put
all those emotions out
in his letters
and in his stories.
I came to understand
that Sholem Aleichem
so thoroughly understood
the people he was writing about
that they really came alive.
My job was then
to transfigure it
so that it
could be done on the stage.
I was working with Joe Stein,
who was writing the dialogue,
and, uh, I think
Joe was kind of inspired.
He took from Sholem Aleichem
and then added
his own sense of humor,
his own sense of humanity.
"Fiddler on the Roof"
is set in a shtetl,
which means
an Eastern European market town
with a large Jewish population.
I don't think
there's anything to be enamored
of the shtetl life
that "Fiddler" presents.
It was anathema. It was
living life on borrowed time
and borrowed courtesies
of the nobleman or the czar.
You know, there's
no great nostalgia for it.
Yeah, it was...
It was simple in many ways,
uh, but it's more the tradition.
I think what we yearn for
is the simplicity of life.
Everything was clear.
The little town
Where Papa came from
A little town
I'd like to see
The way of life
Where Papa came from
A way of life
It's part of me
Was it a good way
A bad way?
It's not for me
To answer yes or no
It was the one way
Where Papa came from
Not so long ago
Not so long ago
It's a nostalgia for something
that never really happened.
I think nostalgia's a very
poisonous thing in a culture,
and you never heard Jews say,
"Oh, I wish we could be
back in the old country."
They hated the old country.
I know many people my age, Jews,
who don't even
know what the old country was.
Which country was it?
Um, you know,
for instance,
like the Irish who came here,
they didn't really want
to come here.
Th-They just had to come here,
'cause they were starving.
The Italians, you know? They...
There's many immigrant groups
that came to this country,
that came here not because they
hated their... their country.
They came here because...
Mostly for economic reasons.
The Jews did not come here
mostly for economic reasons.
They came here,
because they were being killed.
We knew what
the reaction would be.
"You know,
you want to do a musical
about a bunch
of old Jews in Russia
who are going through a pogrom?
I mean, what are you,
out of your mind?" You know.
So it was our baby,
and we worked on it
on and off
for a number of years.
Sheldon and I,
we'd become somewhat familiar
with the book.
We'd separate, and I would guess
as to what kind of music,
in terms of ambience,
period, character, and so forth.
So I would send Sheldon
a half a dozen melodic guesses.
I always looked forward
to these tapes
that Jerry would send.
On each tape, one or two
of them would coincide
with ideas
that I had for lyrics.
Shel, here's a...
Ersatz Hasidic swinger!
It's fun, and it's
a little musical comedy,
but i-it might be
a kind of tour de force
without being cheap, but...
But just being bubbly
and... and spirited
and kind of kooky.
See if you like this one.
When you hear those tapes
where he's plunking out
those different tunes
based on the research
he's doing,
and Harnick coming up
with the right lyrics
for the right moments
in the right places,
that process which, when they
stayed at it long enough,
they were lucky enough
to get 'em all right.
- If I were a rich man
Daidle deedle daidle digga
Deega deedle deedle dum
All day long
I'd bidi bidi bom
If I were a wealthy man
It is so specific to what it is
to be a Yiddish,
Jewish man in 1905 Russia.
Sholem Aleichem
identified this man,
this man's family,
this man's plight,
this man's location,
and he kept saying,
"I'm coming back to him.
I have more stories
to tell through him.
I identify with him."
When I read
the Sholem Aleichem
stories again, I think,
"Oh, dear. I hope people
who read these stories
don't read them too closely.
They're gonna find
my lyrics in there."
Because I just stole
as much as I could.
What Sholem Aleichem had written
were people who were so real,
they just leaped
off the page into reality,
and, uh, the girls
were very real,
so that it was...
It was fun to write for them.
Tzeitel, you're the oldest.
They have to arrange
a match for you
before they can make one for me.
And then, after her, one for me.
- So if Yente brings a match...
- Oh, Yente, Yente!
When Tzeitel falls to her knees
and says, "Yente, Yente"...
that's the inciting incident
of the entire play.
She's had enough.
She's had enough
of the matchmaking.
She's had enough of not
making choices for herself.
And, in many ways, "Fiddler"
is a female empowerment piece.
Matchmaker, matchmaker
Make me a match
Find me a find
Catch me a catch
Matchmaker, matchmaker
Look through your book
And make me a perfect match
If you think of just,
"Matchmaker, Matchmaker,"
as... as a mini drama
in three acts, act...
Act one is these two young girls
who don't have a clue,
and they're dreaming
about their future.
Matchmaker, matchmaker
Make me a ma...
Waltz, beautiful,
lovely, lyrical.
Night after night
In the dark, I'm alone
So find me match of my own
Going back 2,000 years in...
In the tradition of theater,
without forced marriage,
where would we be?
All the way through Shakespeare,
all the way through...
All the way through Terence,
all the way and the whole thing,
I mean, that creates
all the situations
in which we get dads
demanding one thing.
The daughter doesn't want
to do it. She's in love.
The tension
between individual love
and the demands of the parent
and the community
is a central question
to the nature
of Western civilization.
The sister that's
actually the first one,
the one that's on the hook,
who actually knows that Yente's
been prowling around the house
and is preparing
to sell her off,
she's like, "Wait a minute.
Let me wake you up."
Hodel, oh, Hodel
Have I made a match for you
He's handsome, he's young
All right, he's 62
But he's a nice man
A good catch
True? True
I promise you'll be happy
And even if you're not
There's more
To life than that
Don't ask me what
It is possible that you
will get somebody
who is, uh, conceivably brutal,
somebody who is,
uh, egotistical,
somebody who's vain,
somebody who doesn't
care about you.
You heard he has a temper
He'll beat you every night
But only when he's sober
So you're all right
It's kind of like, "Wait.
Hold on. Hold on. What?"
If you actually listen to that,
i-instead of making it light
and... and bringing this sort of,
like, comedic value to it,
if you actually listen
to what they're saying,
it's quite horrific
that they don't have a choice,
and... and if somebody
can pay a high dowry
and if somebody can... can
give 'em their money's worth,
the girls are
going to be theirs.
Sholem Aleichem had nothing good
to say about matchmakers.
When he writes
in the Menachem Mendel stories
about matchmakers,
not honorable,
not an honest profession.
And that's exactly what happens
in Sholem Aleichem's
Menachem Mendel story,
which is made in a film
called "Jewish Luck,"
about this guy, is called
"The Man From Buenos Aires."
And it's very, very clear
that the man is a white slaver.
How did these Jewish women
end up in brothels in Argentina?
These procurers,
they'd hang out at ports.
People would marry people.
They would be match-made.
There were plenty
of people who thought
they were getting married
and somebody would come.
You know, this idea, swept up
off their feet and married,
that they would marry
their husband,
and really just be being
procured for white slavery.
So there's women who see that
there is no future for them,
that there is, you know...
Dark times are coming
and they have to get somewhere
and, as concerns
these Jewish women,
had to make the choice
to die where they were
or to sell their bodies.
What are your choices
if you're poor?
What options do you have?
At the end of
"Matchmaker, Matchmaker,"
Hodel and Chava are open
to the realization
that, if they don't
take control of their futures,
they will become fodder
in Yente's mill,
I mean, the raw product
of Yente's business, right?
You can put the label tradition
on that, if you want,
but that's not really
what's going on in the drama.
So bring me no ring
Groom me no groom
Find me no find
Catch me no catch
Unless he's
A matchless match
The end of "Matchmaker"
is a battle cry,
is these three young women
saying, "This is our reality,
but we are going
to change the world.
We're going to change things."
Um, and they... and so they do.
Fiddler opened less than a year
after "The Feminine Mystique"
came out
and was a blockbuster success.
It was still on the bestseller
list when the show opened.
When I was working on the show,
what was happening in society,
I think,
affected me peripherally.
I was trying to realize what
Sholem Aleichem had written,
but inevitably what was
happening in the world
had to affect the way I felt
a-and the way I thought
without my even realizing it.
These ideas that Sholem Aleichem
was grappling with
50 years earlier
were very much part
of the culture, or maybe...
Maybe they're always
part of our cultures.
I played in the final today,
and we won!
How? When?!
And it was brilliant.
I played the best ever.
And I was happy,
because I wasn't sneaking off
and lying to you.
I don't want her to make
the same mistakes
that her father made
of accepting life,
accepting situations.
I want her to fight...
and I want her to win.
I don't think anybody has
the right of stopping her.
Fathers who have daughters
become feminists, you know,
and that's another thing
that I find so beautiful
about "Fiddler,"
is that the fa... It's because
he has daughters that he loves
that he has to go with the times
and stand up to thousands
of years of tradition and say,
"Ultimately, my daughter's
happiness is important to me."
I was cast as a son
in "Fiddler on the Roof,"
uh, in the sixth grade play,
um, and I still remember
my choreography.
At three
I started Hebrew school
At ten, I learned a trade
I hear they've
Picked a bride for me
I hope, up, down
She's pretty
Turn. The sons
The sons
Hey, Lin, how are you?
- Hi! How are you?
- Good.
We enter laughing.
- So...
- Now this is our...
This is my little abode,
and this is where I work.
- You've got some...
- A Hirschfeld.
- You've got quite
a Hirschfield collection here.
- Yeah.
- Oh!
This is the "Fiddler" in Japan.
That is one of
my favorite stories of yours,
the intermission
at "Fiddler" in Japan.
Oh, Yeah.
One of the producers said,
"Do they understand
this show in America?"
I said, "Why do you ask?"
He says, "Because
it's so Japanese."
That sums up everything about
the universality of "Fiddler."
How did you decide what would be
musicalized by Bock and Harnick
- and what stayed...
- Well, we decided.
Among the three of us,
we talked about it.
You know, they came up
with notions for songs.
Despite the fact that we
were all successful,
of all of the shows I've done,
that was the most difficult
to get a producer for,
was "Fiddler."
I remember one producer
that says, "You know I read it,
and I really like it.
I like it very much,
but what am I gonna do
for an audience
once I run out
of Hadassah benefits?"
In order to understand the show,
since I clearly
did not understand it
when the guys offered it to me,
Sheldon gave me
a book on shtetls.
So I signed on to do the show.
The budget was
$250,000 for a musical,
which today you can't do
a one-man show off-Broadway.
The... The guys asked me
to direct it originally,
and I said, "I don't...
I'm the wrong guy,"
uh, and we talked,
and I think maybe I-I said
Jerry Robbins should do it,
and my thinking was very clear.
I thought it had
to have universality
and... and his incredible
adroitness at movement.
What Jerry did
with "West Side Story"
was a huge,
incredible accomplishment.
Jerry is
the only genius I've ever met,
my definition of genius
being endless invention.
He never stopped inventing,
so, I mean,
it's just so far
above anybody else
who has ever worked in movement
in the musical theater.
I heard the score of "Fiddler,"
I think up at Joe Stein's house
in New Rochelle, I think it was.
And I called Jerry,
and I said, "There's a show.
You've got to...
This is, I think,
right up your alley."
Jerry Robbins was
a very complicated man,
a man with complicated feelings
about himself,
his sexuality, his ethnicity,
his complicated and conflicted
feelings about Judaism.
When he came to have
his bar mitzvah,
he hated this old zaddik
who would come and, you know,
teach him to read Torah.
When Jerry Robbins
was a little boy,
he had gone back
to this town, Rajanka,
to visit the grandparents,
and, in 1958, he's in Europe,
and he went to Rajanka,
and of course
there was nothing there.
The whole Jewish
population of Rajanka
had been wiped out
in the Holocaust.
E-Everything was gone.
To realize
this was gone forever,
it would only live in his memory
or the memory of other people,
this affected him greatly also.
I think it's fair to say
that he became very much
the top of the creative mountain
of the show that became
"Fiddler On The Roof."
Something about Mr. Rabinowitz
from Jersey City,
who had become Jerome Robbins
of New York City Ballet
and Broadway,
something about his roots
was gnawing at Robbins,
and I think he tapped
into something about the story
and the notion of Eastern Europe
and the pogroms
that he was singular
in his vision
about the kind of musical
that he wanted to have created,
and he bludgeoned it.
Dance like that. Get in there.
We had regular meetings,
and Robbins would say...
"What is this show about?"
And we would say,
well, it's about this dairyman
and his five
marriageable daughters.
He'd say, "No. That is not
what gives these stories
their power."
Ultimately, we said,
"Oh, for God's sakes, Jerry,
it's about tradition, isn't it?"
And Jerry said, "Write that."
That unlocked
everything that the show needed.
It was like an education
to people like me
about what
that society was like,
what a shtetl was like.
And who does Mama teach
To mend and tend and fix
Preparing me to marry
Whoever Papa picks?
The daughters...
He had demanded they write
the opening number "Tradition,"
and then for the first
eight weeks of...
Of directing the show
in New York in a rehearsal hall,
he wouldn't stage it.
And everybody was saying,
"Jerry, you have
to stage the opening."
He just wouldn't.
And then, one day,
he staged it in half an hour.
His choreography
is simple and yet beautiful.
It's great storytelling.
The use of circles was
really important to Jerry.
The circle of Tevye's family
is the innermost circle,
and then there was the circle
of the villagers
in Anatevka and the shtetl,
and then the bigger circle
is the Jewish people.
Jerry chose to make sure
every character
onstage had a name.
There were over 40 cast members,
and every single villager
had a name,
because they all mattered,
and they were all part
of the circle of the village.
And I think, with that in mind,
he began to imagine
a circle of tradition
that eventually
began to splinter
and ultimately became...
disappearing in parts
to various places.
"Fiddler on the Roof"
presented a way
of seeing it as a whole place
rather than just
some place that you fled.
And I think,
particularly in '64,
that was sort of a liberation
for some people.
The Shabbat song,
I love that song.
You know, when they light
the candles, it's beautiful.
The music is so... Oh, my God.
I-It's just, you know,
when he starts to sing, it's...
Yeah, I'm... right now,
I'm starting to tear up,
you know, just thinking
about the music.
May the Lord
Protect and defend you
May He always
Shield you from shame
May you come to be
In Israel, a shining name
You were surrounded by that love
and supported
by neighbors and friends.
It's a balance to try
and hold... hold true
to how you identify
yourself in the world.
May God bless you
And grant you long lives
May the Lord fulfill
Our Sabbath prayer for you
For some people,
the Sabbath prayer
becomes more important now
than perhaps it may have meant
to their parents
or grandparents in 1964.
We want to create a world
that my kids will have,
that they will pass on.
And, I think, in '64,
it was more like,
"Let's go out into the world."
I think now there's,
"Yes, of course, let's,"
but also,
"Let's have some traditions
that we, perhaps refind,
And "Fiddler" gives us
a passage to that,
because "Fiddler"
is Janus-faced.
It looks two ways.
Hear our Sabbath prayer
Jerry was assiduous in saying,
"I am not going to stage
a lot of numbers
that look like they're
in a musical," and he didn't.
They naturalistically danced
when it was natural to dance.
"The Bottle Dance"
was his exception.
Jerry Robbins
was always very well prepared
going into rehearsal.
We went to a Hasidic wedding.
He was very taken
by the wildness of the...
Of the dancing.
One man was dancing
with a bottle on his head.
I saw it, and I thought
that was interesting,
but that's all I thought.
He saw it, and he saw a dance.
I think it's a little bit
like a marriage, you know?
I mean, you're holding
a bottle on your head,
and you're trying to keep
your balance when you're going
into a very intense
and profound relationship.
And how one maintains balance
in that relationship
is well illustrated
in the very nature
of "The Bottle Dance" itself.
Then they went
into this ecstatic dance,
and I asked him about that,
because I found it so moving,
and he said to me, "This is
their communion with God,
and they do it
through movement."
I-I remember something that
Boris Aronson once said to me.
He and I were watching
"The Bottle Dance"
for the first time,
and Jerry was waiting
for our reaction.
And Boris turned to me.
He says, "A-A guy who can do
that kind of work,
you have
to forgive him anything."
Boris Aronson was
one of the greatest figures
in the history of scenic
and theatrical design.
What I love about the way
that Aronson created the set
is that the little houses,
everybody's window
is looking into yours.
The homes circled around
in the proscenium,
and that's repeated throughout
the show in different sets.
Having the homes in the sky
is an homage to Marc Chagall.
Robbins felt
that there was a strong affinity
between, uh, the material
and the work of Marc Chagall.
One of his paintings was
of a man playing the violin,
and he's standing...
He's actually floating
just a bit above a roof,
but he looks like
he's standing on it,
and that picture fascinated us,
and one of us suggested as
a title "Fiddler On The Roof."
Jerome Robbins wanted the feel,
the spirituality
of the Marc Chagall canvases,
but he also wanted Boris Aronson
to do Boris Aronson's thing.
So they went back and forth
and back and forth
and back and forth,
and it was very fractious
and very contentious.
My father
hated working with Jerry.
He also deeply admired Jerry.
He would take a scene and say,
"I like this scene very much.
Can you change it?"
I'd rewrite it, and he'd
look at it, and he says,
"This is really very good.
I liked the first one better."
The actors were scared of him.
I saw him with Tanya Everett,
who I thought was
the prettiest girl
I'd ever seen,
really not so much berating her
as making her repeat a line
over and over and over again.
"We'll write to you
in America if you want,"
He was unhappy with her reading,
and he would come
closer to her and closer.
"Repeat it," and she'd,
"We'll write to you
in America if you want.
We'll write to you in America
if you want."
She gave it multiple readings,
and he was never happy,
and he seemed to be
shaking with rage.
As difficult as he
was to work with...
And, you know,
he could be really mean and...
And, um, an awful man...
Uh, I would work
with him any time.
The end product is worth it.
Some of his invention
rubs off on you.
You get more inventive when you
work with Jerry Robbins.
- If I were a rich man
- Mm-hmm.
Ya da di
All day long
I'd bidi bidi bom
I'll do it my way.
You do it your way.
Okay. You do it your way,
You do it.
If I were a rich man
Are you okay?
Jerry Robbins said that,
"Tevye must be larger than life,
and that's why I want
to go with Zero Mostel."
Zero was very much an egoist.
He felt the need
to be onstage offstage.
A lot of Zero's behavior
would have made people
want to kill him,
but, when Zero did it,
they would laugh.
The first day of rehearsal,
we were all worried, because
there had been bad history
between Robbins and Zero.
I won't use the word "hate,"
but Zero did not like him
for his revealing names
to the House Un-American
Activities Committee.
Jerry had been
a cooperative witness,
and it was very tense.
I mean, Zero would
make fun of him.
He would abuse him
and insult him.
I mean, it was
not a thing people let go.
You know,
people would constantly say,
"I saw you with Jerry
in this restaurant,"
or, you know, "I heard
you were at Jerry's house,"
or, "I saw you
at the ballet with Jerry.
Doesn't this bother you?"
What they had over Jerry was
not that he was a Communist,
but that he was gay.
I knew that Jerry
had held out for three years,
and then he was threatened
with a kind of exposure
of his homosexuality,
and he named names.
And I think that Jerry
never forgave himself.
I think that he
was full of guilt.
It's hard
to say Tevye is like this
or Tevye is this one thing,
because Tevye is everything.
Tevye is unbelievably
loving and generous...
God would like us
To be joyful
Even when our hearts
Lie panting on the floor, ho
Tevye is unbelievably
hot-tempered and short.
You can keep
your diseased chickens!
It's that amalgamation that
makes the character so human.
I'd build a big, tall house
With rooms by the dozen...
I honestly
believe Tevye plays you.
In so many ways,
my father found his identity
through doing the stories
of Sholem Aleichem,
by doing "Fiddler on the Roof,"
and playing Tevye.
Since I lost my father
at such an early age,
I've always felt at a loss
when it comes to the lessons
that a father teaches their son.
But by doing "Fiddler"
and especially
by playing Tevye on Broadway
and especially by wearing
my father's boots,
I just feel this incredible love
from beyond the grave
that I thought
I had lost access to.
And I think people
get that experience from Tevye.
They transfer their own fathers
when they look at Tevye,
but also, I think,
because he's connected to God,
they get a sense of God as well.
They're best friends.
They talk all the time.
They... They kibbutz. They talk.
God in his mind teases him
by making the horse lame,
by doing this stuff,
by giving him five daughters
and chickens a-and cows and
not another man in his life.
He's the only man
in Tevye's life.
He's his only male friend.
It's enough you pick on me.
Bless me with five daughters,
a life of poverty.
That's all right!
But what have you got
against my horse?
The thing that we love about him
is that, in the face
of dire poverty
and dire circumstances,
of... of being forced out of
your home and forced to leave,
there's a life spirit
that courses through him.
Dear God...
did you have to send me
news like that
today, of all days?
I know. I know we are
the chosen people...
but, once in a while,
can't you choose someone else?
It's not
about abandoning everything
in the face of complete change,
but holding on
to what will give life,
and I think everybody
in their lives
identify with that
and yearn for that kind
of ability to rebound.
If I were a rich man
Yaha deya baha decha
Bacha deya deya dum
All day long
I'd bidi bidi bom
If I were a wealthy man
I wouldn't have to work hard
Yaba deba deba deba
Deba deba debe dum
You know, there is not a song
in the Broadway canon
more universal, uh,
than "If I Were a Rich Man."
Uh, that is, uh...
You know, you don't
have to be from Russia.
You don't have
to be from anywhere
to... to get that sort
of aspirational song.
If I were a rich man
Diddle deedle diddle dig
Dig diga diga
Deedle deedle dum
All day long
I'd bidi bidi bom
If I were a wealthy man
Wealthy man
Man, oh, man, yeah
Wouldn't have to work hard
Skabba deeby deeby
Yabba dabba deeby deeby doo
Oh, if I was
A bitty, bitty rich
Yiddle diddle
Deedle diddle dum
I wouldn't have
To work hard
Yada deeda deeda
Deeda deeda deeda deeda dum
Ba ba ba ba
Lord who made the lion
And the lamb
Would it spoil
Some vast eternal plan
If I were a wealthy man?
The strength of the material
has proven itself now
for 50 years,
every kind of production,
every scale of production,
from high school to Broadway,
that whatever you do,
wherever you do it,
and whoever you have
available to you,
the strength in the material
is so strong
that "Fiddler" always wins.
Do you love me?
I'm your wife!
Then you love me!
I suppose I do
I'm not the traditional actor
to play Golde.
I'm Christian, so I don't
really know anything about this.
And, like, now I've
learned a lot about it.
You can become a character
that wouldn't be traditionally
played by a person like you.
You're like, "Wow. This person
is now a part of me."
It's crazy. That's why
I love theater so much.
Wonder of wonders
Miracle of miracles
God took a Daniel once again
Stood by his side
And, miracle of miracles
Walked him
Through the lion's den
We opened in Detroit.
There was a newspaper strike,
and I, uh, called to find out
what the newspaper reviews
would have been,
had they been published,
and they were bad!
The very first review
from "Variety,"
"There are no memorable songs
in this musical!"
People were crying
in the dressing rooms.
"Except for Zero,
the cast is not much good.
The songs are bad.
The choreography
is undistinguished.
The book is flat."
I mean, it was just like...
There was a bar
across the street in Detroit
we went to every night.
I get across the street.
The whole cast is in the back
of the bar at the tables,
laughing and joking and flirting
and being uproarious...
and Jerry is standing
alone at the bar.
Jerome Robbins is standing
alone at the bar
with a drink, looking ahead.
And I said, "Jerry,
what are you gonna do?"
He stood still and quiet.
And finally he said,
"Refinements, cuts,
ten things a day"...
which is what he did.
During rehearsal,
I was watching Maria Karnilova,
who was our Golde,
in the scene with Tevye
where he said,
"Do you love me?"
And the way she replied,
"Do I what?"
was just so funny to me.
I thought, "That's a wonderful
beginning for a song."
And when we got to Detroit
for our pre-Broadway tryout,
we put it into the show.
Do you love me?
Do I what?!
Do you love me?
Do I love you?
They totally have sex, yeah.
Well, I think they
probably have sex
more than just the five times.
I definitely think that.
And I definitely think,
uh, they probably
have fairly, like, passiona...
Not passionate,
but connected sex.
But I don't think
they ever talk about it.
For 25 years
I've washed your clothes
Cooked your meals
Cleaned your house
Given you children
Milked your cow
After 25 years
Why talk about love right now?
Tevye is a little bit
more of a luftmensch.
You know, he loves to dream,
and she's more practical.
Golde is an equal
in this marriage,
and we delight
in the play between them.
The first time I met you
Was on our wedding day
- I was scared
- I was shy
I was nervous
So was I
But my father
And my mother...
I was watching it,
and, to my astonishment,
I began to sob.
And I thought it's because
my father and mother
had had bitter, angry fights.
When I wrote the song,
I was wishing
that my father and mother
had had this kind
of relationship.
Do you love me?
I'm your wife!
I know!
He is frightened
to hear the response
and that she's
frightened to give it,
because... because I think,
when I speak about her emotion,
uh, she's... she's frightened
to name anything,
for fear that it
will over... overtake
her ability
to reason through life.
In a way,
it was the most romantic moment
in the show, despite the fact
that we were involved
with three daughters and their
chi... and their boyfriends.
This felt most romantic,
because this was
an older mother and father
who finally recognize
the word "love."
Then you love me!
I suppose I do
And I suppose
I love you, too
It doesn't change a thing
But even so
We had a backer's
audition favorite
in the show called
"When Messiah Comes,"
and it was to be
an ironic number
when the villagers are told
they're gonna have to leave.
When Messiah comes
He will say to us
"I apologize
That I took so long"
"But I had
A little trouble finding you
Over here a few
And over there a few"
"You were hard to reunite
But everything is
Going to be all right"
"Up in heaven there
How I wrung my hands
When they exiled you
From the Promised Land
Into Babylon
You went like castaways
On the first
Of many, many moving days
What a day, and what a blow
How terrible I felt
You'll never know"
It was a favorite.
When we get to Detroit,
there's almost no laughter
for "When Messiah Comes."
It just doesn't work.
People came from New York
to see the show,
and one of the first
questions we asked
was, "Why doesn't
'When Messiah Comes'"...
And they would all look at us
as though we were
out of our minds.
They said, "Are you crazy?
This is a moment
of great poignance,
near tragedy.
The villagers are told they're
gonna have to leave the place
where they've lived
all their lives,
sell their goods,
and be out in three days.
How can the audience accept it?
You know, it's embarrassing.
It's awkward." So we cut it.
We worked hard
every day on the changes
and put them in at night
and all that.
And then we opened
in Washington.
The reviews were raves,
probably the best review
that that original cast
ever got.
And I committed a sin
that, in Jerry Robbins land,
is the sin.
I became complacent.
I'm thinking, "Ah, I think
I'm on top of this now.
I think I got it."
Finally, one day,
he told the whole cast
he had hated
the Tuesday night performance,
and he went down one by one,
just tearing everyone to shreds.
He took me aside,
and he... he was mean,
and I got so upset
that I was crying.
"I had to leave the theater
during the wedding scene,"
he said. "The idea
of that wonderful young woman
being married to you
made me sick."
Now I have everything
Not only everything
I have a little bit more
The reviews in New York
were not all that phenomenal.
And the Walter Kerr one,
he was the one everybody
took particularly seriously
then, was not good.
I remember thinking
when I went home opening night
and got into bed at midnight,
"Oh, God. I'm gonna be out
of work in a couple of months."
The lines were the longest lines
I've ever seen
in my life for tickets.
You stand outside
when you're producing a show.
If there are lines,
you go look at them.
Well, on "Fiddler,"
it was spectacular.
Hal was
handing out coffee to the lines
that went around the block,
but still there was
nothing to prepare us
for what was going to happen
to this piece.
Jerry Bock called me one day
before they went to Detroit.
Jerry said, "Listen,
our refrigerator's on the fritz.
Can we get one?"
And I told him,
"Well, Jerry, um, we have
to allocate certain amounts
for certain things
that are recurring,
and a refrigerator
is not on the list."
The day after Fiddler opened,
I happened to walk
from my apartment
past the Imperial Theatre.
I ran to a phone.
I said, "Jerry,
you know that refrigerator?
You can buy it."
Now, United Artists presents
the joy...
the color...
and the spectacle.
"Fiddler on the Roof."
That there was going
to be a Hollywood film version
was determined
almost immediately.
A lot of things had changed
since 1964,
when the show debuted.
Those seven years were packed
with cultural changes
that had a huge impact
on both the making of the film
and the way it was received.
It was 1968, 1969 school year.
The teacher's union
went out on strike,
and in Brownsville
at a junior high,
the drama teacher Richard Piro
decided in the middle of
this Black-Jewish conflagration
to make "Fiddler on the Roof"
its spring musical.
I wouldn't have to work hard
Yiddle deedle daidle digga
Digga deedle daidle dum...
Jerry Bock and Joe Stein and I
heard about this school
with a largely black and
Hispanic, uh, student body,
and they asked
for permission to do the show,
and we knew that their cast
would be black and Puerto Rican,
and we gave them permission.
Who day and night
Must scramble for a living...
But some of the Jewish
teachers in the school objected.
They felt that the kids
were gonna make fun of Jews,
that they were gonna
play stereotypes,
the kids were gonna do it
without any respect.
You know, "How can
an African-American boy
put a yarmulke on his head?
This is a blasphemy."
You know, that kind of thing.
It was that kind of attitude,
"These black children
and the Hispanic children
should not be allowed to do it."
And there were police
all over the place,
and we were appalled.
There were
bomb threats at the school,
somebody had vandalized
the scenery,
but the show went on,
and it was great.
It doesn't change a thing
And these kids really felt
like they had made
their own Anatevka
and that they
needed to protect it
against these outside forces
of bigotry,
and it was a...
It was a really beautiful,
triumphant moment
for those kids.
It's nice to know
The tension in the Middle East
develops into full-scale war.
By '71, when the film came out,
the ideas of Jews and
the imagery had changed.
The 1967 war in Israel
changed the image
of Israeli Jews,
this tough, brawny,
victorious, fighting, muscle Jew
that now represented
the kind of triumph
of a Zionistic narrative.
The first time that I was asked
to direct "Fiddler on the Roof,"
I mean, the first... that moment,
I remember it quite clearly.
Uh, I was standing
in the office of Arthur Krim,
president of United Artists.
I said,
"There's one enormous problem
of me directing the film.
What would you say
if I told you I was a goy?"
And there was
absolute silence in the room.
Jewison, J-E-W-I-S-O-N,
Norman Jewison is a goy?
Start mark three.
What have we here?
Nothing much Okay.
But Arthur Krim
was a brilliant man,
recovered almost immediately,
and he said,
"Why do you think we would
ask you to make this film?"
There was
tremendous pressure on me
to choose Zero Mostel
to play the role,
because he had created it
on Broadway.
I wanted to cast
a first-generation
Russian Jew to play Tevye.
Oh! I've gotta
tell you something marvelous.
There's a song
in "Fiddler on the Roof"
called "L'Chaim," and it's
a song which means "to life."
And when Topol first arrived,
I was startled to find out
that he didn't know any
of the English lyrics at all,
because he does
the whole show in Hebrew.
- You ready, Topol?
- Yeah!
Oy! Yes!
Chaim Topol was an Israeli actor
who was appearing
in the play in London,
and, the moment I saw him,
I realized that he was closer
to the reality of the character.
Paul Michael Glaser
played Perchik in the film,
and he saw how Topol brought
a different perspective
to the role of Tevye.
Topol played it
from an Israeli point of view.
Any of the others
that have played the role
in the more Eastern European
Jewish tradition,
they'd go, "Why?"
And the Israeli
would go, "Why?"
He'd demand an answer.
Get off my land.
This is still my home, my land.
Get off my land.
Topol had power,
and he had sexuality,
and let me tell you something.
That works in the film,
because you gotta believe
that Tevye and Golde
get together a lot
to have all those children.
That chemistry,
that translated on-screen.
That was exciting.
There was a sexual chemistry
and a kind of... a masculinity.
I wouldn't have to work hard
Yaba diba diba diba
Diba dib...
- Shall I tell you?
- Yes.
- I'm afraid to tell you.
- No! Please tell me!
I had a terrible pain
in my... in my tooth.
I'm not joking now.
The three days
that we shot the song,
I was in terrible,
terrible pains.
Oh, what a happy mood
She's in
The dentist didn't
have an injection to numb it.
And I was s-screaming, "Waahh!"
Whee-da-ha! Whee-da-ha!
Keep it clear on the street.
27, take 1
Obstinate Anatevka...
I found it was quite possible
for me to identify with Tevye.
I identify, I think,
with certain aspects
of the Jewish religion.
I find it
a very personal religion.
I think that he knows
about Judaism today
more than I do.
We have a joke about it
that he's going
to convert into Judaism
and call him... and change
his name to Norman Christianson.
I wanted to shoot
the film in Eastern Europe.
I wanted it to be closer
to Sholem Aleichem,
be closer
to who the film was about.
- Roll the camera.
- Hit the fans!
You're standing
on real ground in a real place,
and there's real cows
and chickens,
and he had to find a way
to ground his movie
in a sense of physical reality
that wasn't going to be at odds
with its more fanciful aspects.
And he turns and looks,
and there's the fiddler.
And he says,
"Are you gonna forget me?
Are you going to leave
your spirit behind?"
So essentially the fiddler is
the spirit of the Jewish people,
and so the more you
become involved in the story,
the... the more he will mean.
The film version,
just by virtue of being a film,
had enormous reach
compared to the Broadway show,
you know,
gazillions more people.
In Tokyo, uh,
the film ran for three years,
and, in Madrid, the film ran
for three or four years,
in Barcelona, in places
that you wouldn't imagine.
The fact is that the issues
are very universal.
At first, when I knew
that we were gonna do "Fiddler,"
I was like, "We are Thai.
How do we relate to that?"
But then I learned
that it's a family thing,
it's culture,
and it's humanity,
and it's like love,
and every parents
love their children.
But sometimes when you turn out
to be the person who they
don't expect you to be,
so they're gonna
need some time.
We have two
kinds of society in Thailand.
We have our parents.
They're a little bit
and we have
these new generations,
where technology plays a lot,
and sometimes those traditions
doesn't go together.
We have a lot of Perchiks.
We have a lot of Chava.
We have a lot of Tzeitel
in our community,
even though we're not set
in Jewish community, of course.
Do we love Anatevka?
I think the reason why the show
is responded well to Thai people
is that they speak to them
the same things
that they are facing
in their families
and in their culture
and their society as well,
and that is really fascinating,
that a published work
of 58 years old
is still resonating
and they're still speaking
in the context of what
is still happening today.
I want to thank you all
for being here,
all your...
All our friends and family.
And, you know, Lin,
you're not expecting this,
but I think you can help me
toast all our friends
and family,
so please come up and join me.
I was three months away
from getting married,
living in L.A.,
performing in "In The Heights'"
national tour stop.
I remember being
on my treadmill, working out.
You know, we were...
We were just wedding planning.
And "L'Chaim" came up
on shuffle on my iPod.
And I'm on my treadmill,
listening to "L'Chaim,"
like you do.
And I remember thinking,
"This is like the only
father-in-law, son-in-law song
in the canon."
So here's to our prosperity!
To our health and happiness.
And most importantly...
To life, to life, l'chaim
L'chaim, l'chaim, to life
Here's to the father
I tried to be
Here's to my bride to be
Drink, l'chaim, to life
To life, l'chaim
L'chaim, l'chaim, to life
Life has a way
Of confusing us
Blessing and bruising us
Drink, l'chaim, to life
God would like us to be...
"In my wedding party,
who would I cast?"
I would cast my father-in-law
as Tevye, myself as the butcher.
And so, I began casting it
as I'm running on the treadmill,
and then, you know,
I got off the treadmill,
ran upstairs, and emailed
everyone in the wedding party,
"We gotta do this surprise."
My favorite comment
that we kept getting on YouTube
was, "What a wonderful
Jewish couple," you know?
I'm Puerto Rican. My wife
is Dominican and Austrian.
I don't think there is maybe
two Jewish members
of that whole wedding party.
To us and our good fortune
Be happy
Be healthy, long life
And if our good fortune
Never comes
Here's to whatever comes
Drink, l'chaim
To life
To life!
What "Fiddler" does so well
is it captures
those big moments in our lives,
moments of transition,
moments of tradition breaking,
tradition renewing.
Chava marries Natasha.
The exact same lines
would resonate.
"A bird may love a fish,
but where would they
build their home together?"
"The world is changing, Papa."
Marriages must be
Arranged by the Papa
I thought a lot
about the gay rights movement.
I thought a lot
about the courage that it takes
to... to love
who you love and how...
prevalent that is today
and how I can feel that
on a visceral level.
Well, children...
when shall we make the wedding?
- Oh, thank you, Papa!
- Reb Tevye, you won't be sorry!
I won't be sorry.
I'm sorry already!
When you are a...
You know, young adult,
you see yourself
as one of the daughters
who's trying to break out
into the world in your own way.
As... As a parent, you see
the show completely differently,
and, as an old person
who's seen it all,
you see it
with that historical view.
I think one of the things
that's unusual
about "Sunrise, Sunset"
is that it's
a parent's perspective,
and it's a mature parent's
And musicals tend to be written
more about young people
expressing their feelings,
and to have that maternal
and paternal concern
and love for one's child
and this idea of like,
"Where did the time go?"
Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly flow the days
Seedlings turn overnight...
He's at that
really delicate juncture
with his children where
they're starting to break away
and they are starting
to go off into their own lives,
and, um, he's facing
the biggest crunching problems
of being a parent,
being a husband.
They're really hitting.
How can I hope
To make you understand
Why I do what I do?
Why I must travel
To a distant land
Far from the home I love?
He doesn't speak.
She sings the song there,
and he is her with the song,
understand every single feeling
that she has,
a-and he knows that he
won't see her anymore.
Here in the home I love
And this is, for me...
For me, this is the most, uh...
hurting, uh, place i-in the film
and in the play.
...To every hope but his
Leaving the home I love
There where my heart
Has settled long ago
I must go, I must go
And to sit there with Hodel
in the station,
that was probably
the last scene that we shot.
And it... it stayed in my head,
my heart for years, that scene.
They have nothing
but their tradition.
They have no...
That's the whole story.
They don't have money.
They don't have options,
and they believe that if
they follow this path
that... that God
has prescribed for them,
that somehow
everyone will be okay.
And so, it's one's fear that...
The greatest fear
is that something will hap...
Bad will happen to your child.
It is a curse if your child
leaves this umbrella of safety
that your religion
offers that child.
What is it?
It's Chava.
She left home
this morning with Fyedka.
I looked everywhere for her.
I even went to the priest.
He told me they were married.
- Married?
- Yes.
When we wrote "Fiddler,"
the hardest part to write
was the part about the daughter
who marries out of the faith.
I thought Joe Stein
handled that beautifully,
uh, the fact that Tevye
has to consider her dead.
Chava is dead to us!
We'll forget her.
Go home.
Go home, Golde.
I think Chava
doesn't even fully understand
what she's done.
She sees her romance
as similar to her sisters.
Okay, um,
Tzeitel broke the mold,
and she married this Jewish boy
who's part of the community,
and that's okay.
"And Hodel fell in love
with this Bundist, and she,
you know, took it a little
further, but he's Jewish,
and I don't really see
how this is any different."
I think it's an act
of dreamy romance
like in all the books she reads.
She doesn't understand
that the door will close
and will never be opened again.
If she married Fyedka,
she had to be baptized
in the Russian Orthodox Church.
It's over.
It's over. She closed a door
she didn't know locked
from the other side.
- No, Chava.
- Tradition
- No.
- Papa!
- Tradition
- No!
- No!
- Papa!
You can kind of
feel the audience
like, on the edge
of their seat saying,
"Oh, ca... but you can.
But you can go that far.
You can bend a little bit more.
You can bend
just a small amount."
Tevye's instinct is,
"This is my daughter.
We're... and Russians
are human beings,
and Jews are human beings,
and I should accept her."
But then he has to say,
"No, no, no,"
and turn his back on her,
because he is part
of this earthbound world.
It's always been approached
is how hard it is
to say no your daughter,
but it's more than that.
It's... It's all of his instincts
as a human being.
He never speaks to God again.
Little bird
Little Chavaleh
I don't understand
What's happening today
Everything is all a blur
All I can see
Is the happy child
The sweet little bird
You were
Chavaleh, Chavaleh
Little bird
Little Chavaleh
You were always
Such a pretty little thing
Everybody's favorite child
Gentle and kind
And affectionate
What a sweet
Little bird you were
Chavaleh, Chavaleh
There's something special
about his relationship
with Chava,
and, knowing that,
that's what hurts the most.
His... Because she
was the closest.
She... He was so sure
that that would never happen,
not with her.
The choices were always based
on the love
between Fyedka and Chava.
And the trouble they
invited on themselves,
the young couple,
was very brave, and, I mean,
if you just fast-forward
a bit to the... the Holocaust,
you know that it
didn't save anybody
to be married to a gentile.
That saved no one.
We came to say goodbye.
We're also leaving this place.
We're going to Krakow.
Goodbye, Papa...
Come, Chava.
Tevye's response,
"She's dead to us,"
it will be a burden for life,
except for that tiny,
little glimmer you see
as they emigrate to... to America
and... and Tevye speaks to her
through Tzeitel.
Goodbye, Chava, Fyedka!
And God be with you.
And God be with you!
We will write to you
in America if you like.
We will be staying
with Uncle Avram!
Yes, Mama!
It's not just that Chava
is marrying outside the faith,
which is a very American,
20th-century way
of thinking of it.
She's an apostate
in Sholem Aleichem's time.
She's leaving the community.
She's turning her back
on everything.
It's not just a matter of faith,
of what one believes.
It's a whole way of life
that she is exiting from.
This is the blow to Tevye
that I think is different
from the anxiety
that Jewish Americans had
about interfaith
marriages in 1964
or that still have today.
We've had
many different reactions
from different audience members.
When I said, "Chava is
dead to us," one night,
som... we heard a woman
in the audience go, "Yes!"
and appl... and clapped.
To life
What I loved about this play
is you're going to a musical,
and you're getting
a lot more than a musical.
It's a much happier version
of a looming pogrom.
You know, it's a musical,
so the nostalgia is built in.
It's a happy version
of a dark history,
which is also what drives it,
is it's a very fun play,
but there's so many dark ele...
I mean there's a, like,
looming disaster.
- A pogrom here?
- No. No.
No, no, no.
It's just a little
unofficial demonstration.
- How little?
- It's not too serious.
You had to live
under the fear of the pogroms.
When the guy
comes in and he said,
"There's nothing personal.
I really like you
very, very much,
but we have to do
a little bit to show...
You know, to... you know,
to kick you a little bit,
to hit you a little bit,
to make a little problems,"
it... there's nothing
more horrible than that.
The first Russian revolution,
the Russian revolution
of 1905, was a failure.
It didn't overthrow
the czarist regime.
And the czarist regime looked
for a bloody counterresponse
to these revolutionaries,
and, as is not surprising,
they found the Jews as one
of the prime scapegoats,
and that lead
to an extremely bloody series
of anti-Jewish events
and anti-Jewish violence.
The carpet was pulled out
from underneath all of Judaism
on the political front,
on the religious front,
on the very land
on which they lived,
like being forced to move
and run and shift,
and then these extraordinarily
violent pogroms all the time.
People could see
the writing on the wall,
which doesn't happen
often in history.
Where we talk about
the Holocaust is...
You know, people just
not seeing what was coming,
'cause it's
just too unbelievable,
but some Jews understood
to get on a boat and get out.
I think, for Jerry Robbins,
when he was working
on "Fiddler,"
an analogy was the Klan during
the civil rights movement...
and other racist forces
in the South.
That was the kind of violence
that had, for Jerry Robbins,
the same kind of racial animus
at its core.
In the early rehearsals
for "Fiddler,"
Robbins had actors
improvising scenes
of African-American exclusion,
and the parallel
for him was, you know,
very live
in that moment of 1964.
The Holocaust looms
over "Fiddler on the Roof."
You're sitting there
in an audience in 1964
or '74, '84, or today,
and you just know that.
One night,
I was watching the show,
and there was a couple
sitting opposite me.
Looking at them, you thought,
"That couple must have been
in a concentration camp."
They looked Jewish
and skinny and old,
and they... they were
marked with suffering,
and, during the pogrom,
I worried about them,
because they both
began to go, "Ahh, ahh."
They started to breathe heavily,
and they were apparently
reliving some experience
they... they lived in Europe,
and they were reliving it
through what they
were seeing onstage,
and that was frightening.
In moments of great upheaval,
"Fiddler" is always
going to seem relevant,
because the world is changing
faster than we can understand,
and we look
to our traditions to guide us,
and sometimes they fail us.
You know, sometimes
they don't prepare us
for the world that's
happening around us, you know?
In Anatevka, things have
been done the same way
for thousands of years,
but what happens
when the outside world
is saying you can't
live here anymore?
I have an order here!
It says that you
must sell your homes
and be out in three days.
Three days?!
When I think
about the ending of "Fiddler,"
there's an interesting point
about the circle,
which is the breaking
of the circle,
because now
they've become a line.
After all,
what have we got here?
A little bit of this
A little bit of that
- A pot
- A pan
- A broom
- A hat
Someone should have
Set a match
To this place years ago
- A bench
- A tree
- So what's a stove?
- Or a house?
People who pass through Anatevka
don't even know
they've been here.
A stick of wood.
A piece of cloth.
What do we leave?
Nothing much
Only Anatevka
Anatevka, Anatevka
Overworked Anatevka
Where else could Sabbath...
Every production
of "Fiddler" I've seen,
from the first one on,
it's tragic that every time
it has gotten
to the last scene, the exodus,
there has been
something in the news
which relates to that.
A refugee's
different than an immigrant.
A refugee means
you've been forced out.
You've had to leave.
You can't stay
where your home is,
even if you wanted to.
And that's what you
experience in "Fiddler."
Fiddler is
really not just about violence
that is visited
on a single person,
but being visited
on an entire culture.
Really, it's about
what we now call
ethnic cleansing in the end,
and these forces are still
very much alive in the world.
Bigotry, oppression,
sometimes disguised
as mere conservatism.
It's eerily and perhaps
sadly relevant today.
People can go on
about tradition,
and I think they all want
to feel the connection of that,
but the real secret to this show
is how they come
to cope with loss,
losing their community,
losing their children,
and moving forward.
And art is very powerful
as it helps us cope
with loss and change.
We're in Anatevka,
just a little
outside of Kiev in Ukraine.
This is the old country.
It's... It's like I feel just
transported to back in time,
and, um...
It feels so, uh, familiar.
I had the great joy of playing
"Fiddler on the Roof" music
in the Shalom Aleichem Museum
and playing for
the modern Anatevka audience.
I spent 13 months
on Broadway Anatevka,
and I enjoyed
going there every day.
Eight performances a week,
it's Kelly
the audience hears playing
the gorgeous violin solos
threaded through "Fiddler."
There would be one
Long staircase just going up
And one even longer
Coming down
And one more
Leading nowhere just for show
We performed
at the Sholem Aleichem Museum,
uh, for Ukrainian refugees,
displaced peoples...
singing the songs
from "Fiddler on the Roof"
about displaced peoples.
Throughout this journey
of arriving to Kiev
and, uh, Anatevka,
I feel like I've
had the opportunity
to walk into the "Fiddler" story
in real time, in real life.
Music is such an...
A universal language
that it's... it's amazing
that, no matter
where I play this music,
people connect with it.
Nice. That was fun!
Bravo. Bravo.
I had to... to help to the people
that lost their homes
and every... lost everything.
Here's a guy
that really understands
what "Fiddler on the Roof"
is about.
It's about displaced peoples.
Why not recreate that home
that so many people were
displaced from and that exists
in the imaginations
of so many people?
Anatevka has survived.
After millions of Jews
were annihilated...
what's left is a memory...
and there's nothing wrong
with remembering.
It was mystical
standing there at night,
and you can feel this commitment
from everyone that was there
to that world and...
And to that union.
Mazel tov!
There's so many aspects at play.
That's what makes it rich.
That's why it's lasted 50 years,
because it's complex.
It's not a melodrama.
It's complicated, be...
Because it's human,
and it's incredible to me
that it's a musical.
To us and our good fortune
Be happy, be healthy
Long life
And if our good fortune
Never comes
Here's to whatever comes
Drink, l'chaim
To life...
And the parents are using
the opportunity of "Fiddler"
to pass on the history.
I can't believe I was in it.
Maybe I bribed my way in
to getting
on the original cast album.
On a gut level,
we all are connected to this.
I don't think
there's any other show
that has done that
for more people.
You listen to it once or twice,
and you're singing the songs
for the rest of your life,
whether you like it or not.
As long as humankind exists
and continues to have struggles,
"Fiddler on the Roof"
will be there.
To life!
Who day and night
Must scramble for a living
Feed the wife and children
Say his daily prayers?
And who has the right
As master of the house
To have the final word
At home?
The Papa, the Papa
Who must know the way
To make a proper home
A quiet home, a kosher home?
Who must raise the family
And run the home
So Papa's free
To read the holy book?
The Mama, the Mama
The Mama, the Mama
At three
I started Hebrew school
At ten, I learned a trade
I hear they've
Picked a bride for me
I hope she's pretty
The sons, the sons
The sons, the sons
And who
Does Mama teach
To mend and tend and fix
Preparing me to marry
Whoever Papa picks?
The daughters, the daughters
I have five daughters!
The daughters, the daughters
- The Papa
- The Mama
- The sons
- The daughters
- The daughters
- The sons
- Wonderful.
- Beauty.