Erik Liberman Will Make a "Miracle" in Topol Tour of Fiddler

News   Erik Liberman Will Make a "Miracle" in Topol Tour of Fiddler
Erik Liberman, the 2008 Helen Hayes Award-winning actor who was Charley in Signature Theatre's Merrily We Roll Along, and who appeared in Broadway's LoveMusik, will play the tailor Motel in the new 2009 national tour of Fiddler on the Roof starring Topol.

Erik Liberman
Erik Liberman

The actor snagged the Hayes for playing antsy Charley in Merrily in Arlington, VA, in fall 2007. He recently played a young Groucho Marx in the York Theatre Company's remounting of Minnie's Boys Off-Broadway.

As previously reported, Sammy Dallas Bayes directs and choreographs the new staging of Fiddler, the classic musical about tradition (and threats to tradition) in a 1905 Russian-Jewish village. Meek Motel breaks with the past by marrying for love rather than by arrangement. He sings "Miracle of Miracles."

Troika is producing the new 2009 Equity tour (which is expected to be a more traditional approach to the musical, with direction and choreography by Bayes, a longtime keeper of Jerome Robbins' original staging). It will play major markets including Newark, Detroit, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, San Diego, Providence, Memphis, Pittsburgh, Houston, Tampa, Seattle and beyond, according to ticket brokers.

Complete casting and route have not been announced.

* Chaim Topol, the tireless international actor who starred as Tevye in the 1971 film version of the Tony-Award winning musical Fiddler on the Roof, will be center stage in the new production.

The Tel Aviv-born Topol, now 73, was nominated for a Best Actor Academy Award in 1972 for playing the paternal dairyman eking out a living in pre-Revolution Russia. He won a 1972 Golden Globe Award as Best Actor in a Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy) for the part. He also famously played Tevye in the London production.

In 1991, when he starred as Tevye in a Broadway revival of Fiddler on the Roof, he was nominated for a Tony Award as Best Actor in a Musical. That production, part of a wider tour, ran on Broadway November 1990-June 1991 and won the Tony for Best Revival (Barry and Fran Weissler produced with PACE). It was just one of four revivals that played Broadway following the show's original run between 1964-72. The most recent Broadway revival in 2004 was directed by British director David Leveaux, who reconceived the staging to include an onstage orchestra and unique scenic elements (by Tom Pye) such as Russian oil lamps and a mechanized bed for the nightmare sequence. It also included a new number written by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick, "Topsy-Turvy," which took the place of "The Rumor."

The musical by librettist Joseph Stein, lyricist Sheldon Harnick and composer Jerry Bock tells of life in a Russian village where Jewish traditions thrive — and are threatened. The songbook from the show is filled with musical numbers that are now considered theatre classics: "Matchmaker, Matchmaker," "Sunrise, Sunset," "If I Were a Rich Man," "Tradition" and more.

The musical is drawn from characters created by short story writer Sholom Aleichem.

In the musical, according to the tour production notes, "Tevye, humble milkman, harried husband and devoted father to five marriageable daughters, invites us into his little village of Anatevka. Here, there is a tradition for everything — how to eat, how to wear clothes, how to pray, how to marry...all of which are happily imparted by our earthy philosopher as he draws us into Fiddler on the Roof. It is a remarkable journey traveling through secret love, forbidden betrothal, weddings, devotion and forgiveness, tempered by rejection, oppression and imminent revolution. And, emerging through it all, we find the humor, strength and perseverance of Tevye and his people, reminding us of life's never-ending circle."

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