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July 28, 1989 - Image 69

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-07-28

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

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understanding of some of
Broadway's biggest roles.
"Now I can understand bet-
ter why a role such as Tevye
can be so good. He talks right
to the audience," says
Alexander.
And Tevye talks right to
Alexander's heart. "Ah,
Tevye," he says. "That's why
I got into theater to begin
with."
Alexander has always had a
special love for the music
world's most famous Jewish
dairyman. "I'm having a lot
of fun playing him on the
stage," he says of the Thvye
scenes from Fiddler that help
make Jerome Robbisn Broad-
way such a success.
"I must have seen Fiddler
with a dozen different actors
playing Tevye," he says.
He was not sure, however,
that he would fit the role. "I
thought I was 20 years too
young to play him, and I told
Jerry (Robbins) that," says
Alexander.
"I wanted to do him with a
Jewish accent, which Jerry
didn't want," says Alexander.
"But I told him, take away
that accent and you're taking
away a tool. I'll look like a kid
playing him."
Alexander looks like Thvye
just as Sholom Aleichem
might have imagined him,
and Anatevka is never too far
from Alexander's portrayal.
"I've known the Fiddler score
since I was a tot," says
Alexander.
He still knows the score,
but occasionally he gets sur-
prised by the business
nevertheless.
"I don't feel physical corn-
edy is my thing," he says. "I
prefer the Woody Allen kind
of humor."

Yet, when Alexander per-
forms in the scene from A
Funny Thing Happened on
the Way to the Forum, a funny
thing happens: Alexander
becomes the quintessential
physical comedian. There is
not a phony note in his
Pseudolus.
But then, honesty is Alex-
ander's best policy when it
comes to assaying a role,
whether on stage or in real
life.
What drove Stanley was a
need to know and spread the
truth, fueled by the belief
that doing the right thing in
life was an insurance policy
against getting hurt in colli-
sions with reality.
"I have this thing about
justice — it could very well be
the result of my Jewish up-
bringing. I believe that good
will prevail. It was wonderful
doing a character like
Stanley, who is certain that
what he is doing is right." El

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THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

69

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