SEEING FIDDLER ON THE ROOF. We saw an excellent production of Fiddler on the Roof at Curtain Call in Stamford on December 12. I hadn’t seen it since I saw it on Broadway over 40 years ago. Annalisa and Mary Jane hadn’t seen it in the theater. We shared one reaction—that the show would have been almost intolerably sad if it weren’t for the implied happy ending, that the family was escaping to America.
Soon after seeing the show, I came across this essay by William Deresiewicz on the Atlantic blog (December 22) which reviews two recent books about Sholem Aleichem, who created Tevya and on whose stories Fiddler is based. Deresiewicz says that the change in the final destination of Tevya was critical for the success of Fiddler. He says: “But of all the alterations the musicalâ€™s creators made to the source material…the most cunning has to do with the heroâ€™s final destination. In the original, Tevye wanders off he knows not where, his narrative concluding on a note of fatalism and disorientation. In Fiddler, he and his remaining children head off for America.”