Friday, November 23, 2018

Day 309 Fiddler on The Roof- Family, Love, Faith, Traditions

Fiddler on the Roof, which opened in 1964 winning 8 Tony awards, is one of those iconic musicals that many of us have either experienced on the stage (since it’s a favorite high school production) or at the movies (classic 1971 film). It tells the story of Tevye, the father of five daughters, that tries to maintain his family’s Jewish religious and cultural traditions as his world and his community changes in 1905 Russia. It’s a play packed with masterful songs  that  celebrates family, love, faith, and the traditions that give a sense of belonging and stability during life changes and even hardships.


Fiddler on the Roof opens with the robust song “Tradition” that defines everyone’s family  role (the papa, mama, daughters, sons) in the little town of Anatevka. This is the perfect play for a Thanksgiving weekend which is a time to enjoy our family and practice our own traditions. At Thanksgiving we know who is going to bring their signature dish to the table and some find comfort in recreating a family member’s dish that is no longer with us. My family rallies around the table for a traditional post meal card game every year.

 Tevye, a poor milkman, and his wife, Golde of 35 years, are  eager to marry off their five daughters.  Tevye struggles between doing this the traditional way with a matchmaker and modern way when his three oldest daughters find their own partners by way of love.  

This show is packed with catchy melodies that captures our heart like, “Matchmaker Matchmaker”, “If I Were a Rich Man”, “To Life”, " Sunrise, Sunset”, “Do You Love Me? ”, “Chavaleh”  and more.  These heartfelt songs never seem to get old. I even heard portions of these songs sung by the audience. I met an older women  during  intermission, who said, with a beaming smile, “Isn’t this so good. I love the music. I have seen this play at least 8 or 9 times”. 

Fiddler on the Roof must have a strong lead playing the father. Tevye narrates the story, adds humor and is the anchor of the family.  Israeli film and TV star, Yehexkel Lazarov  plays the part perfectly adding physical comedy as Tevye  dreams in the show stopping song, “If I Were A Rich Man”.  The strength  of this  show is that almost every song is a potential show stopper, yet this  version also had characters that were superbly acted along with the wonderful musical score.

Fiddler on the Roof has joyful dancing  in“To Life” and at “The Wedding”, where men glided across the stage balancing  bottles on their heads. This show also depicts  powerful sorrow when the Jewish people are forced to leave the home that they love in “Anatevka”.  It is  timeless because this show reminds us that in joy and sorrow  we can rely on our family, love, faith and traditions to persevere as we navigate the bumps of life.   

Fiddler on the Roof runs Nov 20-25,2018 at Benedum Center. For Tickets and more on PNC Broadway in Pittsburgh go to

Spiritual Source
So then, brothers, stand firm and hod to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter. (2 Thessalonians 2:15) 

Other Sources

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