After finding that video of Theodore Bikel which I posted the other day, with him re-creating his performance as Captain Von Trapp in the original production of The Sound of Music, I noticed another video that, in some ways, does the same thing for another show.
Among his many performances, Bikel played Tevye in several road productions of Fiddler on the Roof. And again, like before, there's no video of those shows. But here in a concert from 2003, he not only sings one of the songs, but brings on stage a wonderful actor who co-starred with him in the show all those many decades ago, the joyous Fyvush Finkel, who you might recall from both Picket Fences and Boston Public. (And who got his start in the Yiddish Theater, a reality that still shows up through this video...)
When they toured together in Fiddler on the Roof, Finkel played the role of Lazar Wolf, the butcher, who asks Teyve for his daugther Tzeitel's hand in marriage, which leads to the rousing production number, "To Life, L'Chaim." In this performance, Finkel is an exuberant 81 (and still alive at 92...), and Bikel here is 79 (still going on today at 90.)
You might want to jump to the 36 second mark, since there's just blank leader at the beginning.
By the way, I mentioned in reply to my earlier video that I had reason to meet Theodore Bikel once. He's good friends with a friend of mine, the writer-director Lynn Roth. We were all at a Writers Guild event so I went over to join them. It was a very personable conversation, and I remember bringing up that I had an earlier album of his, where he sang pop-rock songs with a folk interpretation (it's very good) -- and also seeing him on the Mike Douglas Show many years before. What was interesting about that is he mentioned that the then-current hit song, "Those Were the Days," sung by Mary Hopkin, was actually an old Russian folk song, which he had introduced into America many years earlier, and he performed the original Russian version, which was wonderful. He was bowled over that I'd remembered that broadcast from such a long time earlier ("That was over 20 years ago!" he said) -- and that I had that obscure album) -- which helped made the rest of the conversation all the better. Later, Lynn called me up and said, "You have no idea how touched Theo was that you actually remembered that TV appearance and had his album."
Here's more of him, with another great performer.
(Note: there's about 35 second of black tape at the beginning.)
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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