The beloved musical “Fiddler on the Roof” brings a richly vibrant close to 2016 and a celebratory opening to 2017 in Arizona Theatre Company’s epic production as part of ATC’s 50th anniversary season.
Directed by ATC Artistic Director David Ira Goldstein, the Arizona Theatre Company production plays Jan. 8-29 at the Herberger Theater Center, 222 E. Monroe in downtown Phoenix.
Featuring a cast of 28, ATC’s first-ever production of “Fiddler” is the largest production the company has produced in over 30 years. The musical features a host of classics including “To Life,” “If I Were a Rich Man,” “Sunrise, Sunset” and “Matchmaker, Matchmaker.” The original Broadway production opened in September 1964 and ran for a then-record 3,232 performances. It has been subsequently continuously produced in nearly every country in the world, bringing its timeless mix of rich drama, delightful wit and timeless themes of faith to tens of millions. The original production won nine of its 10 Tony Awards nominations. Subsequent revivals in 1981, 1991, 2004 and 2015 also earned Tony, Drama Desk and Olivier Award nominations.
When “Fiddler on the Roof” opened on Broadway in 1964, it was instantly embraced. It became the first Broadway show to run for more than 3,000 performances, spawning hundreds of productions all over the world in dozens of languages. The imaginary little village of Anatevka became more famous than many actual towns, and the character of Tevye became as beloved and iconic as any character in literature.
Based on a series of stories by the great Yiddish writer Sholem Aleichem, “Fiddler On The Roof” is set in the world of the Jewish Pale of Settlement in pre-Revolutionary Tsarist Russia in 1905. It’s a richly heartwarming story of fathers and daughters, husbands and wives and the timeless traditions that define faith and family. It tells the deeply human story of Tevye, the milkman, Golde, his wife, and his five daughters as they wrestle with faith, love, prejudice and Diaspora, all while holding firmly to their religious and social traditions.
“‘Fiddler’ couldn’t be more specifically steeped in the details of a very particular place and time and religion and culture,” Goldstein said. “Yet the story of Tevye and his daughters has achieved a universality that seemingly transcends every geographic and cultural barrier. The themes at the heart of ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ are universal and deeply rooted in all our cultures. Tradition, family, and faith are under siege in Tevye and Golde’s home – just as they were in the turbulent 1960s when ‘Fiddler’ premiered – and just as they most surely are today in a polarized environment quickly adjusting to enormous global change.”