Fiddler Creative Team Won't Include Warchus and Marshall; Minskoff Will House Anatevka

News   Fiddler Creative Team Won't Include Warchus and Marshall; Minskoff Will House Anatevka Director Matthew Warchus and choreographer Kathleen Marshall have withdrawn from the upcoming Broadway revival of Fiddler on the Roof.

Matthew Warchus
Matthew Warchus

A spokesman for the musical confirmed a New York Post report that Warchus and Marshall left the Fiddler project, but did not comment further, releasing only this statement for Nederlander Presentations: "The producers are committed to this new production of Fiddler on the Roof and are confident that the creative team will be assembled shortly.  The production will continue as scheduled, opening at the Minskoff Theatre in the fall, starring Alfred Molina as Tevye."

No official dates have been announced, nor, in fact, was a full creative team previously officially announced for the show. A spokesman would not comment on reasons for the split between the Nederlanders and director Warchus and choreographer Marshall.

Molina (Art) will play Tevye the Milkman in the famed 1964 musical about community, tradition and human resilience. The show is set in the Russian-Jewish village of Anatevka around 1900.

*

The Post reported Marshall and Warchus left after unproductive meetings with the Jerome Robbins estate. Robbins, who directed and choreographed the original production, is also listed as a co-author of the musical, so his estate has much control over mountings of the show. A production source told the Post, "[Warchus and Marshall] wanted the freedom to explore every aspect of the show, and being forced to use the original choreography would have tied their hands." The two had previously teamed for the short-lived revival of Stephen Sondheim's Follies. Fiddler's composer, Jerry Bock, told the New York daily that he was shocked and disappointed by Warchus and Marshall's departure. Bock also added, "I think the [Robbins] estate is very concerned about not ignoring Jerry's contribution to the show, which is a major one. But it's a fine line. You want a production that is fresh and vital and not a Xeroxed copy of the original."

Matthew Warchus has directed the Broadway productions of Art, True West and Follies. Kathleen Marshall was the choreographer for Broadway's Swinging On a Star; 1776; Ring Round the Moon; Kiss Me, Kate; Seussical and Follies.

Based on the stories by Sholom Aleichem, Fiddler on the Roof features a book by Joseph Stein with a score by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick. The original production opened at Broadway's Imperial Theatre in September 1964. Starring Zero Mostel, Maria Karnilova and Bea Arthur, the show played 3,242 performances before closing July 2, 1972. That production won Tony Awards for Best Musical, Best Actor in a Musical (Zero Mostel), Best Featured Actress in a Musical (Maria Karnilova), Best Book (Author) of a Musical (Joseph Stein), Best Producer of a Musical (Harold Prince), Best Director of a Musical (Jerome Robbins), Best Composer and Lyricist (Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick), Best Costume Designer (Patricia Zipprodt) and Best Choreographer (Robbins).

Three revivals have since played the Great White Way, in 1976, 1981 and 1990. The most recent production played the Gershwin Theatre and starred Topol and Marcia Lewis as, respectively, Tevye and his wife Golde. The 1971 film, with direction by Norman Jewison, featured Topol and Norma Crane.

Designer David Rockwell — who made his Broadway design debut with the recent Rocky Horror Show revival — will create the sets. Molina was nominated for a Tony Award for his work in the three person Broadway play Art and starred in the TV series "Ladies Man." On the London stage the actor was seen in Serious Money, Speed-the Plow and Night of the Iguana.

*

Designer Rockwell previously told Variety: "Fiddler is the first show I ever saw. It was instrumental in my becoming interested in the theatre. And I've always been a fan of Boris Aronson's work." Aronson created the Tony nominated sets for the original production of Fiddler.

"To reimagine Aronson's work for Fiddler is incredibly challenging," Rockwell said.

Rockwell heads the 90-person architecture and design firm, Rockwell Group, whose projects have included the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles, W New York and W Union Square hotels in Manhattan and the Cirque du Soleil Theater in Orlando.