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Fiddler On The Roof & History

Background for cast and crew of FHTMS's 2013 production of 'Fiddler On The Roof'

Dana Rachlin

on 21 February 2013

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Transcript of Fiddler On The Roof & History

"Anatevka" Boyarka
near Kiev, Ukraine Broadway/Times Square
New York City, NY SETTING:
1905 Fiddler On The Roof The book for the 1964 play was by Joseph Stein, based on stories by Sholem Aleichem entitled "Tevye, the Milkman" in 1894 The book and play title was based on a famous painting called " The Fiddler" by Marc Chagall, born in Belarus which wasn't too far from where "Anatevka" was supposed to be in Russia
Anatevka is fictional, but the world these characters live in
was very real. There
are circumstances
and traditions we
must understand. In 1905, Russia was on the
verge the.
-The Russian Revolution is marked in 1917, though unrest had been building up long before THE JEWISH COMMUNITY
-There were clearly defined roles
-Rituals were honored
-Symbolism was part of their rituals and their lives Life in the the typical jewish "Shtetl" (village) Siberian Gulag (prison) Many Jews were also revolutionaries (like 'Perchik' in the play).
-The revolutionaries were fighting for a legislature.
-Many were sent to prisons in Siberia, a region of Russia near the Arctic Circle which was basically a death sentence. RUSSIAN HISTORY
-Russia was founded on orthodox Christianity.
-Russia had a single ruler, the Czar, who had unlimited power and considered the Emperor -Czar Alexander III promoted "Russification" an effort to unite Russia's many peoples,

-This resulted in persecution of non-Russians. His son, Nicholas II, continued the "Pogroms" (organized massacres on Jewish villages)

-Jews were singled out easily because of their religious customs, appearance, and language (Hebrew) In this print, which appeared after a 1903 pogrom in Kishinev, a "Russian Jew" carries on his back a large bundle labeled "Oppression;"

-In the background, on the right, a Jewish community burns, -In the upper left corner, President Theodore Roosevelt asks the Emperor of Russia, Nicholas II, "Now that you have peace without, why not remove his burden and have peace within your borders?" Jews fled Russia for many places, but especially America JEWISH PEOPLE have been persecuted in many places and times - The play "FIDDLER ON THE ROOF" celebrates the strength of their character and community.

It first appeared in Manhattan, New York City on Broadway in 1964. THE STORY
-Tevye a poor dairyman,works to instill in his five daughters the traditions and values of his community amid change and injustice
CLIMAX Act II,Scene 7
-Villagers stand up to the Constable, Villagers let go of Anatevka, holding on to their traditions, values, and culture. SYMBOLISM
-In the opening number of the play, Tevye explains that without their traditions, he and the other villagers would find their lives as shaky as a "fiddler on the roof"

-In the face of all the challenges to his traditions, values, and faith, Tevye has several moments of internal struggle, consistently having to weigh both sides of an issue. The Fiddler is a symbolic and constant reminder of Tevye's efforts to achieve balance THEME
-Balancing "Tradition" with Change
The show begs the question:
-Beyond Tevye's family, all of the villagers face this same question when forced to leave Anatevka. What will they take with them to start a new life in America? How will they balance tradition with change? Facts At-A-Glance
* Fiddler on the Roof is one of the great stage and film musicals
* It opened on Broadway on September 22, 1964 at the Imperial Theater
* It originally ran for 3,242 performances
* The musical was revived on Broadway for the fourth time in 2004 Awards

The 1965 Broadway production won nine Tony Awards including:
* Best Musical Composer and lyricist: Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick
* Leading actor: Zero Mostel

* Author: Joseph Stein
* Producer: Harold Prince
* Director: Jerome Robbins

The 1971 movie version won 3 Academy Awards®:
* Best Music Scoring (John Williams' first of many Oscars)
* Best Cinematography (Oswald Morris)
* Best Sound (Gordon K. McCallum, David Hildyard) The title was actually taken from an idiom of the time, which is sadly revealing, since it depicts the very long dilemma of thousands of Jewish people over the best part of 2000 years. It could be likened to someone trying the almost impossible feat of playing a musical instrument while balancing on a rocking chair List of Jewish traditions in Fiddler On The Roof Fiddler on the Roof displays the struggle between generations and the changing traditions.

Clothing & Appearance:
* Married women cover their hair because it shouldn’t be seen in public

* Men wear hats to cover their heads because according to tradition they must always remember that they are less than God above.

* They also wear striped undergarments with fringes on them, as told to them in the bible.

* The men do not shave the hair on their face, so that they have beards and mustaches. * A jewish matchmaker is often employed to arrange a marriage between an appropriate man and woman. Tevye's daughters want to find their own partners, but this goes against tradition.

* A bride and groom are married under a canopy

* In addition to the groom placing a ring on the bride's finger, a glass is broken by the groom in memory of the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem

* Men and women dance separately, so they do not encourage mixing in a possibly immoral way with the opposite sex 1905: the year in which the Fiddler on the Roof takes place. War and chaos leads to uprisings against the Russian Tsar. Over one hundred thousand people died.

Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, and many other thinkers present new ideas and change perceptions and worldviews.

The old world is making way for a new century, catching Tevye the milkman between clashing and opposing forces.
Full transcript