Fidler aoyf di Dakh
A new production of Fiddler on the Roof is playing in New York City, right on the heels of a revival only a couple years ago. But this one is different -- the off-Broadway production is performed entirely in Yiddish, by the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene. Also drawing attention is that it's directed by Tony and Oscar-winning actor Joel Grey. (Though he doesn't speak Yiddish, which I suspect was a challenge, his father Mickey Katz was a big star of the Yiddish theater, which may have had something -- if not a huge deal -- to do with him wanting to take on the challenge.)
The show has been a big hit, and watching clips of it I can see why. The production includes English supertitles (and also Russian ones!), not unlike an opera. And it appears rich and vibrant, and very moving. And by this point, I would think most people have a pretty good idea what the story is of Fiddler on the Roof anyway, even with out the supertitles.
The video here is well-done, and the show looks wonderful and vibrant. And stick around after, because I have a fun bonus video below -- which actually is what I saw first that prompted this.
And now the bonus. As I said, this is what came to my attention first, and as I was preparing to post it, I thought I should check out the show itself. Which brought about the video above. And now we come to that initial video below --
There's an annual fundraising event in New York City that the Broadway community puts on, called the Easter Bonnet." And every year they also given an award for the Best Presentation by a theater company. This year, the award went to this off-Broadway company of Fiddlier on the Roof" in Yiddish. They wondered what it would be like if other Broadway shows were done in Yiddish, too. And there's a guest appearance at the end by Joel Grey, who joins in -- despite not speaking Yiddish.
5/23/2019 07:12:43 pm
Thanks for sharing! I had heard it was a great production but hadn't seen any clips. It looks beyond wonderful. Is that Robbins original choreography? The wedding sequence certainly looks like it. Wasn't crazy about the last two revivals but this looks like the real deal. Excuse me but I have to watch the clips again now.
5/24/2019 09:30:18 am
We aims to please. Yes, it looks wonderful and vibrant. Actually, when I first watched the videos, my sense was that it used the foundation of Jerome Robbins' original choreography but seemed a bit more elaborate. Doing some research, the credit is -- "New choreography by Staś Kmieć,"
5/24/2019 06:28:13 pm
Interesting. Since the stories were first dramatized for the Yiddish theatre, this production is almost full circle. It will be interesting to see if this production makes the transfer to Broadway or spins off a touring company, based on the reviews it's pulling in Off-Broadway. Even though the last two revivals are very recent and came fairly close together and the touring company of the last revival is still touring.
5/24/2019 11:05:26 pm
Though it's certain possible, honestly Id be surprised if it moves to Broadway or tours. It's been extended a couple of times, at the moment until Sept. 30. But a Broadway house would seem to be too big for a sustained run, and most cities other than NY and Chicago probably wouldn't have the base to support a Yiddish production of...well, pretty much anything. (Even not Los Angeles, whose theater-going audience tends to be star-driven.) Obviously I could be wrong here. (Also, there aren't a lot of touring companies that speak Yiddish. So, this company would probably have to tour, but they're based in New York.) However I do think it's possible -- and hopeful -- that they could do a streaming version, either for online (as was done for "She Loves Me") or in movie theaters, like for the Metropolitan Opera and National Theatre Live. I have a couple friends seeing the show tomorrow night, so I look forward to their reaction.
5/25/2019 12:03:39 am
I hope you're right that there's a chance someone decides to stream it. I can afford that. Love theater, not so much. Going off on a tangent, are you planning to see Indecent while it is in LA? The play intrigues me, but I won't see it unless somebody streams it or it winds up on PBS.
5/25/2019 09:53:04 am
I am not planning to see "Indecent" when it's in L.A. -- but that's only because they did the play on PBS a couple of years ago, It was shown as part of the "Great Performances" series.
5/25/2019 06:33:21 pm
Thanks. Don't know how I managed to miss it
5/30/2019 01:31:55 pm
Thanks for this. It would be such a blessing if someone decides to stream it. I suspect that many of the people who would most love to see this, such as my 96-year-old mother, are the least able to get to the theater.
5/30/2019 02:25:45 pm
Marcia, thanks for your note. A friend just got back from New York and sent me a note today about seeing the show. She said it was moving and wonderful.
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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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