Sheldon Harnick Reflects On 50 Years of FIDDLER ON THE ROOF
Legendary Broadway songwriter Sheldon Harnick reflects on 50 years of his popular musical FIDDLER ON THE ROOF in honor of its anniversary this month as part of a new interview.
Recalling initial reaction to the property via backer's auditions in the 1960s, Harnick relates, "I remember one audition for Fiddler. As people left I heard someone say dismissively 'Oh once they run out of Hadassah benefits there'll be absolutely no audience for it'. At the time I feared maybe they were right."
As for the actual impetus for the musical itself, Harnick shares, "Years before, a friend sent me a novel called Wandering Star about a traveling Yiddish theatre group in eastern Europe. I loved it so I asked Joe Stein would it work as a musical... Joe said it was too big and had too many characters but we dug out other pieces by the same author, Shalom Aleichem. We found a book of short stories called Teyve's Daughters: that's where Fiddler came from."
Additionally, as for the longetivity enjoyed by the piece with audiences new and old, Harnick opines, "People thought it was the great Jewish musical which obviously is thrilling. But I've been watching audiences react now for 50 years and at heart the story is about family. It's the most universal story there is."
Check out the original article on the matter here.