The fourth Broadway revival of the durable 1964 smash began previews at the Minskoff Jan. 23, 2004, and officially opened Feb. 26 of that same year. The musical will have played 36 previews and 781 regular performances when it ends its nearly two-year run.
When this latest incarnation of Fiddler on the Roof began, Tevye was played by Alfred Molina, who received a Tony nomination for his performance. His Golde was Tony Award winner Randy Graff. Both Molina and Graff departed the production Jan. 2, 2005. They were replaced by Tony Award winners Harvey Fierstein and Andrea Martin.
The arrival of Fierstein was accompanied by a significant spike at the box office, prolonging the life of the show, which had received mixed notices upon opening. Many critics, revisiting the show, gave Fierstein high marks.
Martin left her role as Golde July 31. She was later replaced by brassy talk show host O'Donnell, who, along with the raspy-voiced Fierstein, made for one of the oddest couples in musical theatre history.
The Fiddler company also currently features Sally Murphy (Tzeitel), Laura Shoop (Hodel), Tricia Paoluccio (Chava), Alison Walla (Shprintze), Hannah DelMonte (Bielke), Nancy Opel (Yente), Michael Therriault (Motel) and Paul Anthony Stewart (Perchik). The design team includes Tom Pye (scenic), Vicki Mortimer (costumes), Brian MacDevitt (lighting) and Acme Sound Partners (sound). Hair and wig design is by David Brian Brown. Kevin Stites is the musical director with musical staging by Jonathan Butterell. Producing the current revival are James L. Nederlander, Stewart F. Lane/Bonnie Comley, Harbor Entertainment, Terry Allen Kramer, Bob Boyett/Lawrence Horowitz, Clear Channel Entertainment.
Fiddler on the Roof features a score by Sheldon Harnick (lyrics) and Jerry Bock (music) and a book by Joseph Stein and was co-created by its original director-choreographer Jerome Robbins. The musical concerns the lives of husband-and-wife Tevye and Golde, who are raising five daughters in the village of Anatevka, on the eve of the Russian revolution in the early twentieth century. Holding fast to their traditions, they find themselves bending as their three older daughters fall in love with a tailor, a revolutionary teacher and an outsider.
Fiddler originally opened Sept. 22, 1964, at the Imperial Theatre, won eight 1965 Tony Awards including Best Musical and played 7 previews and 3,242 regular performances. Zero Mostel and Maria Karnilova created the roles of Tevye and Golde. Fiddler spawned such songs as "If I Were a Rich Man," "Matchmaker, Matchmaker," "Sunrise, Sunset" and "To Life."
Three other revivals of Fiddler have played Broadway — in 1976, 1981 and 1990. The 1971 film, with direction by Norman Jewison, featured Topol and Norma Crane.
Fiddler on the Roof plays the Minskoff Theatre, located in Manhattan at 200 West 45th Street. Call (212) 307-4100 for tickets.