Fiddler on the Roof will gets its second film version in the coming year when Storyline Entertainment and Disney, the pairing that gave us TV's "Annie" and "Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella," reunite to bring the international musical hit "to life."
"Annie," seen in fall 1999, earned 12 Emmy Award nominations and was ratings smash for ABC's "Wonderful World of Disney." A spokesman for Storyline confirmed a Variety story that "Wonderful World" will host the three-hour "Fiddler on the Roof," probably in the 2001-2002 season, and perhaps as early as spring 2001, depending on how fast casting and production elements happen.
Storyline's Craig Zadan and Neil Meron will executive produce and plan to preserve the original Jerome Robbins choreography of the 1964 show. The adaptation will be faithful to the original script. Zadan and Meron's TV version of "Gypsy", on CBS with Bette Midler, preserved that show's script and score, but "Annie" included some cuts and revisions.
The Tony Award-winning Fiddler on the Roof is drawn from stories by Sholom Aleichem about the changing way of life in a small Jewish community in czarist Russia, circa 1900. Joseph Stein wrote the book, Sheldon Harnick the lyrics and Jerry Bock the music.
The score includes "To Life," "Matchmaker, Matchmaker," "If I Were a Rich Man," "Anatevka," "Sunrise, Sunset," "Miracle of Miracles" and more. Zero Mostel was the original star, playing Tevye the milkman, who sees three of his five daughters marrying against time honored traditions. The 1971 film by Norman Jewison starred Topol in the lead. The musical is frequently revived, and a tour with Theodore Bikel is planned for fall.
It was thought that the next announcement from Storyline would be "Mame," with Barbra Streisand as a co-producer, but that project is "very much" still in development, according to a spokesman.
"Annie" will be shown again in December 2000.
-- By Kenneth Jones