Golde Standard: Randy Graff May Play Fiddler's Mamaleh

News   Golde Standard: Randy Graff May Play Fiddler's Mamaleh Tony Award winner Randy Graff is in talks to play Golde, the salty, loving, superstitious wife, in the new Broadway revival of Fiddler on the Roof, Playbill On-Line has learned.

David Leveaux directs the classic musical about romance, family and traditions in a Russian-Jewish village circa 1900. Performances begin Jan. 17, 2004, at the Minskoff Theatre. Alfred Molina will play Tevye the milkman, who lords over a family that includes pushy Golde and five daughters. Three of those daughters will test the community's sacred traditions as they fall in love with varied men.

Graff won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress (Musical) for City of Angels. She was nommed again (for Best Leading Actress) for her turn in A Class Act. She was the first Fantine in the Broadway's Les Misérables.

Zero Mostel and Maria Karnilova created the roles of Tevye and Golde in 1964-65. They both won 1965 Tony Awards for their work (in the Best Actor and Best Featured Actress categories).

In Act Two of Fiddler, Golde and Tevye have an unexpected scene in which they question their own 25 year relationship in the context of their daughters' wishes. Their marriage was arranged by their parents. The song, "Do You Love Me?," lyricist Sheldon Harnick has said in interviews, was unintentionally drawn from his own experiences.

Standing at the back of the house one night in previews, out of town, Harnick was overcome with emotion as he watched the scene, which was not originally in the score, but added in the tryout. "I suddenly began to sob," Harnick said in an audio interview that's included on the recently re-released RCA Broadway Deluxe Collector's Edition of the original cast album. "I had to leave the theatre very hurriedly, so that I wouldn't disturb people in the audience. And I got outside, I'm sobbing. I'm thinking, why am I weeping like this? What is this? And then I realized that the relationship between Tevye and Golde, with all its friction and with everything, was still a deep, loving relationship. And deep in my soul I wished that that's what my own parents' relationship had been. Theirs was a loving relationship, too, but in quite a different way. There were a lot of problems. I didn't know when I was writing this song, that I was putting that into it. Once in a conversation with Edward Albee, I remember him saying, 'We all write from the subconscious, we don't know what we're doing 'til later when we look back.' ...In some ways, it may not be my favorite song in the show, but it's very, very close to me."

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Opening for the new Fiddler on the Roof is set for Feb. 12. Nederlander Presentations is producing.

The internationally acclaimed musical is by Joseph Stein (book), Harnick (lyrics) and Jerry Bock (music).

The Jerome Robbins choreography will be recreated, a spokesman said, though a choreographer has not been announced to execute it.

Leveaux directed Nine in the 2002-03 Broadway season. Fiddler's musical director is Kevin Stites, who is also the musical director of Nine.

The international sensation from 1964 was inspired by the stories of Sholom Aleichem and spawned such songs as "If I Were a Rich Man," "Matchmaker, Matchmaker," "Sunrise, Sunset" and "To Life."

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.

Director Leveaux's recent work in New York includes The Real Thing, Betrayal, Electra, A Moon for the Misbegotten and Anna Christie. His recently staged Jumpers for the Royal National Theatre in London. He was Tony-nominated for his work on Nine. He had previously staged the Maury Yeston musical in London and Argentina.

Jerome Robbins was Fiddler's original director- choreographer. Harold Prince was the original producer.

Three revivals of Fiddler have played Broadway — 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.

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