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July 31, 1964 - Image 32

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1964-07-31

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

By MARCY MILLER
What happens when a Russian-
Jewish peasant with five unmar-
ried daughters is put on the same
stage with a Yiddishe matchmaker
and a villageful of gossips?
If it's done under the watchful
eyes of Jerome Robbins and, in
absentia, Sholem Aleichem, you
get "Fiddler on the Roof," the
delightful new musical which
opened Monday for a month's
pre-Broadway run at the Fisher
Theater. It arrives in New York
Sept. 22.
Director-choreographer Robbins
brings to the production much of
the vitality and ingenuity that dis-
tinguished his "West Side Story,"
"On the Town," and other out-
standing Broadway hits, as well as
a warm and sympathetic under-
standing of the shtetl way of life
that springs from the Robbins
(Rabinowitz) family's own Russian
heritage.
Collaborating with Robbins on
the new musical are the young
composing team of Jerry Bock and

•s "



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DEBORAH KERR • SUE LYON

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Mostel Stays Balanced as 'Fiddler
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THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
Friday, July 31, 1964
32

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• All Sears Stores
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• Ross Music, Eastland
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Mail Orders Promptly Filled. Mail to Northland Center, Southfield,
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• BARBARA BEL GEDDES in
"Love & Marriage"—Aug. 11-16
• FRED CLARK, RUTH WHITE in
"Absence of a Cello"—Aug. 18-23
• "SOUND OF MUSIC"

—Aug. 25-30

• JUNE ALLYSON in
"The Mating Dance"—Sept. 1-6

• JAYNE MANSFIELD in
"Bus Stop"—Sept. 8-13

VETO-GO VIN-MAIER viols ENE WRGAIIN PROM ON

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German Jewish Leaders,
Erhard Meet for 1st Time

ONBIG RFOLDS*H81E pRes[a.

BONN (JTA)—For the first time
since becoming chancellor, Dr.
Ludwig Erhard received a delega-
tion of the Central Council of Jews
in Germany.
During the 90-minute meeting,
the Jewish lea d e r s discussed a
number of current problems with
the chancellor, who issued a special
statement stressing the importance
of the Jewish community in West
Germany. The delegation consisted
of Prof. Herbert Levin, Dr. H. G.
Van Dam, general secretary of the
Council, Werner Nachmann and
Dr. Fritz Manasse.

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Sheldon Harnick, best known for
the music and lyrics of the Pulitzer
Prize-winning "Fiorello;" and of
course Sholem Aleichem, on whose
"Tevye" stories the play is based,
with a self-effacing assist from
playwright Joseph Stein.
The daily life of a composite
Russian town, Anatevka, has
been transposed to the Fisher
stage with most of its "local
color" intact. Sabbath services,
village market places and tav-
erns, gossip sessions and the in-
evitable matchmaking create a
kaleidoscope of Jewish life at the
turn of the century, from the
joys of family weddings to the
bitterness of the pogroms to the
problems of maintaining balance
in a society which is often forced
to undergo radical changes from
its traditional past.
This last problem provides both
the title of the play and its lively
leitmotive, "Tradition." Zero Mos-
tel, in a loving performance of
Tevye by one of the funniest men
alive, explains to the audience at
the outset that at his house in
Anatevka there is a fiddler on the
roof. Why? Who knows? But Tevye
points out that the difficulty with
being a fiddler on the roof is that
one must maintain one's balance
without stopping the music.
Tevye's three eldest daughters,
played by Joanna M e r 1 i n, Julia
Migenes and Tanya Everett, repre-
sent the gradual disintegration of
the traditional role of the father
in the preparing of his daughters'
marriages.
The eldest, Tzeitel, rejects her
father's match in favor of a
penniless but beloved local boy,
Motel the tailor (Austin Pendle-
ton). Hodel, the second daughter,
arranges her own match with a
young student of somewhat un-
orthodox tastes (Bert Convy),
whose goal is the clearing away
of some of the "dead wood" of
Jewish tradition. The third,
Chava, defiantly marries a non-
Jew, to the dismay and hurt of
her parents.
Along with Mostel's superlative
performance, praise must be given
to Maria Karnilova and Beatrice
Arthur as Tevye's wife Golde and
Yente the matchmaker. Both man-
aged to capture faultlessly the
indefinable sense of Jewishness
that is so much a part of the Old-
Country women.

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