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Jan 3 2014

How to Do “Fiddler on the Roof” with a Bunch of Non-Jews On an Island in Maine

By at 11:47 am

jamie

In the overlapping part of the Venn diagram of my childhood–growing up Jewish in a small village, obsessed with musical theater, and without many television channels–lies Fiddler on the Roof. We owned it on two VHS tapes, although sometimes we just watched the first one, turning it off at the end of the happy part of the wedding and skipping the “demonstration” at the end. (We took a similar tactic with The Sound of Music, which made it a show about up-cycling curtains rather than escaping the Nazi occupation.)

I first saw a live production of Fiddler when I was about 11 years old, at a beautifully ramshackle community theater just north of my town. I remember Tevye’s thick Maine accent (HOSS and CAHT) and the over-the-top gleeful macabre humor of the dream sequence. I acted in it the summer before I left for college in a more polished production at Interlochen Arts Camp. I played Shprintze and Grandmother Tzeitl, and was hoisted high in the air over another actor’s head to “fly” in maternal rage. Read the rest of this entry →

Nov 9 2012

My Kids’ First Brush with Fiddler on the Roof

By at 12:58 pm
Pre-Fiddler on the Roof costumes.

The original costumes, pre-Fiddler on the Roof.

Up until 15 minutes before we left the house to go trick-or-treating this Halloween, my 5-year-old daughter was going dressed as a medieval princess. Her biggest brother not only made her a crown with matching veil, he also whipped up jester costumes for himself and his younger brother so they could accompany her as wandering minstrels. It was all set. Photos were taken and everything.

But then, my daughter changed her mind. She no longer wished to be a princess. Now she wanted to be Tzietel from “Fiddler on the Roof.”

Well. That’s quite a thematic change, isn’t it? Read the rest of this entry →

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