Oren Safdie and Ronnie Cohen (creators of Jews & Jesus) premiered their new concoction, Fiddler Sub-Terrain, Jan. 4 at New York City's La MaMa E.T.C. The production, which updated the Joseph Stein, Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick classic for the 21st century, will close Jan. 28.
In 1974, the Liberal government of Robert Bourassa made French the official language of Québec. In 1977, the new Québec government voted on the then controversial Bill 101, which made French the official language of Québec and took concrete measures to protect, enforce and promote it. The people of this Canadian province were, arguably, forced against their traditions.
Using that background, Safdie and Cohen set Fiddler in Cote Saint-Luc, a Jewish suburb of Montreal. Teddy (not Tevye) lives with his wife Gilda and his daughters while struggling to keep his business alive. Safdie wrote the book and co directs the production with Anthony Patellis. This version contains original music and lyrics by Cohen.
The cast includes Mary Ann Conk, Michelle Solomon, Amy Shure, Patrick A. Riviere, Michael Gargani, Ali Anderson, Sean Power, Janine Molinari, Nick Locilento, Sean Devine and Patellis as Teddy.