Everything you need to know about Fiddler on the Roof
After entertaining audiences at the Menier Chocolate Factory, Fiddler On The Roof transfers to the Playhouse Theatre. Delve deeper into the dramatisation of a Jewish community living in Russia with us and learn more about what’s made this show able to stand out while discussing uneasy topics to confront.
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All you need to know about Fiddler on the Roof
What’s the show based on?
The musical is based on the stories written by Solomon Naumovich Rabinovich, although his pen name of Sholem Aleichem translates to “peace be upon you” in Hebrew, as well as a traditional Jewish song sung after the weekly Sabbath. A Ukrainian and Yiddish author whose stories concentrated on Jewish life in Eastern Europe.
Writing at the end of the 19th century and into the proceeding century, he is often hailed as one of the leaders of modern Yiddish literature, penning eight novels of which two were adapted for the stage.
His most famous stories concerned Tevye the Dairyman, a religious Jewish milkman living with his six daughters in a small village on the outskirts of Ukraine.
What’s the synopsis?
Set at the brink of the 1905 Russian Revolution, audiences meet Tevye, a poor yet pious Jewish man, who is devout to the religion in upkeeping his way of life. In the opening song “Tradition”, audiences meet his wife and five daughters, who all hold themselves to the Jewish way of life.
When the village matchmaker spreads the word to the family that a local man wants to marry the eldest daughter Tzeitel, she is in a state of shock. Tzeitel wishes to marry Motel, rather than this stranger. Through convincing those around her, Tzeitel and Motel eventually marry each other, but the ceremony is interrupted with Russians storming through the celebrations.
Throughout the story, get up close and intimate with the locals of Anatevka, set with the backdrop of pogroms, antisemitism and unequal opportunities. However, it is a story of love, religion and family kinship, Fiddler On The Roof is a classic musical that’s earned its place as one of the greatest shows of all time.
Who’s in it?
Andy Nyman and Judy Kuhn lead the cast as Tevye and Golde, completed by Nicola Brown (Chava), Harriet Bunton (Hodel), Dermot Canavan (Lazar Wolf), Stewart Clarke (Perchik), Joshua Gannon (Motel), Matthew Hawksley (Fyedka), Louise Gold (Yente), and Molly Osborne (Tzeitel), as well as Miles Barrow, Sofia Bennett, Philip Bertioli, Lottie Casserley, Elena Cervesi, Lia Cohen, Talia Etherington, Shoshana Ezequiel, Isabella Foat, Fenton Gray, James Hameed, Adam Linstead, Adam Margilewski, Robert Maskell, Benny Maslov, Robyn McIntyre, Gaynor Miles, Ellie Mullane, Tania Newton, Craig Pinder, Valentina Theodoulou and Ed Wade.
What songs are in Fiddler On The Roof?
Take a listen to the songs in Fiddler On The Roof here.
What are critics saying about Fiddler on the Roof?
“If that strong visual image – augmented by the stunning chiaroscuro lighting of Tim Lutkin, the peasant costumes of Jonathan Lipman and the dazzling folk choreography of Matt Cole – is definitive, so are the fully-inhabited performances of a brilliant ensemble cast that turn this portrait of a community under existential threat into a compassionate joy. Andy Nyman leads as a warm, spellbinding Tevye, with Judy Kuhn and Louise Gold in strong support as his wife Golde and the village matchmaker Yente. This is a gorgeous production of a simply glorious musical.”
“The highlight is a sequence in which four villagers spectacularly advance across the stage with bottles poised atop their heads. Nunn’s interpretation revels in this heightened physicality, but it’s also thoughtful, warm and intimate.”
“In an age where political, social, and gender norms seem to be in perpetual meltdown, it should be pretty much impossible for a musical that begins with a song celebrating ‘Tradition’ to strike a chord. Yet from the moment that the cast of Trevor Nunn’s foot-stompingly fist-wavingly triumphant Fiddler on the Roof launches into the opening number, it’s clear that they have the energy and chutzpah to whip up an emotional storm.”
The Arts Desk
Unusual facts about Fiddler On The Roof
Before deciding on the show title Fiddler on the Roof, previous titles include “Where Papa Came From” and “The Old Country”.
Fiddler on the Roof was the first show to play for over 3,000 performances and has been revived 5 times on Broadway.
Where can I see it in London’s West End and how do I get there?
Fiddler On The Roof is playing at the Playhouse Theatre, located on Northumberland Avenue (WC2N 5DE). The closest train station is Charing Cross, which is a 2-minute walk away. District, Bakerloo, Northern and Circle line underground services are available at Embankment tube station, 1 minute away from the theatre.