Tony Award-winner Brent Carver will toast "To Life" at Canada's Stratford Festival in summer 2000, when he plays Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof. Susan Schulman, who helmed The Secret Garden and the recent revival of The Sound of Music on Broadway, will stage the Jerry Bock-Sheldon Harnick classic about family, traditions and change in a Russian-Jewish community at the turn of the last century.
Canadian Carver was lured to the 2000 festival, his artistic home for many years, with the promise of creating the role of Ned Lowenscroft in the new play by Timothy Findley and Paul Thompson, Elizabeth Rex, about Queen Elizabeth I.
He then agreed to also play Tevye the milkman, a character created by Sholom Aleichem and played on the musical stage by Zero Mostel (originally), Herschel Bernardi, Topol, Theodore Bikel and others. Joseph Stein wrote the libretto to Fiddler, drawing on Aleichem stories.
Stratford announced some of the 2000 casting Nov. 17.
Barbara Barsky will play Tevye's wife, Golde, and Karen Skidmore is expected to play daughter Tzeitel at the Ontario festival, one of North America's most prestigious troupes.
Schulman, who staged Off-Broadway's Violet, directed the successful Stratford revival of Man of La Mancha in 1998. Fiddler will play the flagship Festival Theatre. Carver is no stranger to the space: The Emcee in Cabaret was one of his many roles there.
The world-premiere Findley-Thompson play, Elizabeth Rex, is about the unsuccessful revolt against Queen Elizabeth I in 1601. In it, the Virgin Queen spends the eve of the Earl of Essex's execution with William Shakespeare and his troupe.
-- By Kenneth Jones