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 musical’s creators made to the source material…the most cunning has to do with the hero’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.”

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  1. As a grandchild of four Italian immigrants, I’m very aware of what this country
    has meant for people from the Old World. How much more so for Jews who
    could not really feel safe, or be safe, in any country where they were regarded as
    “other” ! The ending of “Fiddler” not only gives hope and purpose to the
    play’s last big event, it also enforces the theme of Tevya’s prayer, “If I were a
    rich man.” God is sending him to America, where his prayer can be answered.

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