When it opened more than 50 years ago at the Imperial Theatre, Fiddler on the Roof received tremendous critical and audience acclaim. The sweeping musical starred Zero Mostel as Tevye, a poor milkman in turn-of-the-century Russia struggling to find a balance between his religious beliefs and changing times. (Theater geeks may also appreciate that the original cast also featured Bea Arthur, Burt Convey, and Austin Pendleton.)
Fiddler won nine Tony Awards (and a tenth in 1972 for becoming the longest-running musical at the time) with direction and choreography by Jerome Robbins and produced by Hal Prince. It was a brief return to the Golden Age of Broadway. Nominated for four Tony Awards throughout his career, Fiddler was book writer Joseph Stein’s only win. For young writers looking for a blueprint to successfully structure a traditional book musical, look no further than this seminal work. The polishing cloth has come out once again. Staged with humor and humanity, this Fiddler on the Roof redefines tradition.