Nancy Opel Replaces Barbara Barrie in Broadway's Fiddler Feb. 17

News   Nancy Opel Replaces Barbara Barrie in Broadway's Fiddler Feb. 17 The new Broadway revival of Fiddler on the Roof, now more than half-way through previews, will get a new Yente the Matchmaker on Feb. 17, when Nancy Opel replaces stage veteran Barbara Barrie.

John Cullum and Nancy Opel at the Off-Broadway opening of Urinetown
John Cullum and Nancy Opel at the Off-Broadway opening of Urinetown Photo by Aubrey Reuben

The reason given for the switch was "creative differences." As this production's Yente, Opel—who was last seen on Broadway in Urinetown—will get to sing a new song, written recently by composer Jerry Bock and lyricist Sheldon Harnick (who is Barrie's brother-in-law), called "Topsy-Turvy." The tune, a rare comic moment in the musical's somber second act, takes the place of "The Rumor," which was first employed to cover a scene change in 1964. Barrie sang the world premiere of "Topsy-Turvy," about how self-initiated romance is putting her out of business, in previews.

Opel received a Tony nomination for Urinetown. Her other Broadway credits include Ring Round the Moon and Triumph of Love. Off-Broadway, she's known for her praised work in the comic plays of David Ives.

Fiddler on the Roof returned to Broadway Jan. 23. Director David Leveaux (Nine) stages this 40th anniversary revival, set to open Feb. 26 at the Minskoff Theatre, with Alfred Molina (Art) as Tevye the milkman, a character first created by story writer Sholom Aleichem, on whose tales the show is based. Joseph Stein wrote the libretto, and the score is by Sheldon Harnick (lyrics) and Jerry Bock (music).

Molina stars opposite Randy Graff (City of Angels, Les Misérables, A Class Act), who is wife Golde. The three daughters who challenge their tradition-bound father are Sally Murphy (A Man of No Importance) as Tzeitel, Laura Michelle Kelly (a recent Eliza in London's My Fair Lady and Mary Poppins in the future) as Hodel and Tricia Paoluccio (Debbie Does Dallas, A View From the Bridge) as Chava. The choice roles of Motel the tailor and Perchik the revolutionary are played by John Cariani and Robert Petkoff, respectively.

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