Harvey Fierstein to Replace Topol in Touring Fiddler on the Roof

By Kenneth Jones
11 Nov 2009

Harvey Fierstein as Broadway's Tevye
Harvey Fierstein as Broadway's Tevye
Photo by Joan Marcus

Tony Award winner Harvey Fierstein will join the North American tour of Fiddler on the Roof, replacing an injured Chaim Topol, the producers announced on Nov. 11.

The casting change was announced by the Toronto presenters. Toronto will be Fierstein's launch city. Fiddler on the Roof, the Sholom Aleichem-inspired musical about changing traditions in a poor Russian-Jewish village, will play Toronto's Canon Theatre Dec. 8, 2009-Jan. 10, 2010.

Topol, who starred as Tevye the milkman in Fiddler on Broadway in 1990, in London and on film, informed the show's producers he would have to leave the production due to a shoulder injury requiring emergency long-term treatment. This was billed as septuagenarian Topol's "farewell tour." The ailing Topol is currently appearing in the Boston Fiddler engagement at The Opera House.

Fierstein starred as Tevye in the most recent Broadway revival of the classic show by composer Jerry Bock, lyricist Sheldon Harnick and book writer Joseph Stein. He replaced Alfred Molina. This tour is not based on that 2004-08 production. Before he went into the Broadway production, Fierstein said that Tevye was a dream role for him.

"We were shocked to hear, that due to a serious injury, Topol would no longer be able to complete his scheduled North American tour of Fiddler on the Roof," stated Toronto presenter David Mirvish. "But as soon as the tour's producers told us that they had successfully engaged Harvey Fierstein to play the lead role in this classic and iconic musical, our shock turned to delight. Mr. Fierstein is not only a brilliant writer, but a magnificent performer, a genuine Broadway star who we look forward to welcoming to Toronto."

In this national tour, the original work of director-choreographer Jerome Robbins is recreated by director-choreographer Sammy Dallas Bayes. Robbins won two Tony Awards for his direction and choreography of the original 1964 production of Fiddler.

Fierstein won Tonys for his writing of La Cage Aux Folles and Torch Song Trilogy and his acting in Torch Song Trilogy and Hairspray.

For tickets to the Toronto engagement, visit www.mirvish.com or visit fiddlerontour.com.