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Posts Tagged ‘“Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles”’

“FIDDLER: A MIRACLE OF MIRACLES” My rating: B 

92 minutes | MPAA rating: PG-13

Since it debuted on Broadway in 1964, not a day has passed when “Fiddler on the Roof” was not being performed somewhere on Earth.

The universal appeal of this musical about life in a Jewish village in Czarist Russia is examined every which way in “Fiddler” A Miracle of Miracles,”  Max Lewkowicz’s documentary summation of the show, its creators and its lingering appeal and influence.

Drawing as its starting point two recent NYC productions of “Fiddler,” one that ran on Broadway for two years and a second performed entirely in Yiddish, the film dips into the creation  of this most unusual effort. Scenes from these revivals — as well as clips from the 1971 movie version — hammer home once again just how spectacularly good the work is.

We’re talking goosebumps moments.

Happily, the geniuses behind the show — composer Jerry Bock, lyricist Sheldon Harnick, playwright Joseph Stein and producer Hal Prince — lived to ripe old ages and before their deaths (Prince left us only last month) sat down for insightful interviews on how the show came together.  (Jerome Robbins, the brilliant director, passed in 1998).

The film is part history, part testimonial, with actors, directors and others who have been associated with the musical — Lin-Manuel Miranda, Austin Pendleton, the Israeli actor Topol — commenting on its life-changing power.

Actor Joel Gray offers a common analysis when he says that “it works in so many languages — and everyone thinks it’s about them.”

Author Stein recalls attending a Tokyo production where an audience member asked him: “Do they understand ‘Fiddler’ in America? It’s so Japanese.”

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