The National Yiddish Theatre-Folksbiene’s production of “Fiddler on the Roof” in Yiddish has the kind of buzz that Broadway producers dream of - writes By Sandee Brawarsky in The New York Jewish Week.
Reviews have been excellent, tickets for the initial run sold out and the show has been twice extended through Oct. 25. There are rumblings about moving it from the Museum of Jewish Heritage to Broadway.
Christopher Massimine, NYTF’s CEO, says that among Broadway producers, the show is dubbed “the Yiddish ‘Hamilton’” for its unexpected success. So far, more than 30,000 people have seen the show since it began previews in early July — that’s twice as many as usually attend eight-week runs of NYTF productions.
The show has what’s known in the industry as great word-of-mouth. Reviewers and theater-goers have been praising its authenticity and the timeliness of its theme of being an outsider in society — forced to leave a place that is home, facing uncertainty, holding onto hopes for a better future.
Broadway folks who have seen the show include Bernadette Peters, Bebe Newirth, Andrea Martin, Jerry Zaks, Christine Ebersole, Mandy Patinkin, Katrina Lenk, Isabella Rossellini, Chaim Topol and Chita Rivera.
Jana Robbins, a Broadway producer, director and actor who is a member of the NYTF’s Artistic Advisory Council, told The Jewish Week, “The show touches you at a core level. People who know ‘Fiddler,’ have always loved ‘Fiddler’ — that’s why they keep reviving it. Putting it into its native language transforms the show to a visceral experience. This is beyond anybody’s expectations as to what would be felt, sitting in the theater.”
About a possible move to Broadway, she said, “There’s not just a little bit of interest.” She added, “I can absolutely see myself being involved. It’s in my heart and soul.
“If only the Jewish population of New York came out to see this show, it could run in a medium-sized Broadway house for five years,” she said. But she sees the potential audience as wider than Jewish New Yorkers. “The more specific a subject, the more universal.”
See full article by Sandee Brawarsky in The New York Jewish Week
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PHOTO: Steven Skybell performs “If I Were A Richman” in Yiddish. Courtesy of Victor Nechay/ProperPix