Jan Lisa Huttner shares sixteen years of scholarly study, feminist revisionism, and personal story as she sheds light on the unknown —or ignored — facets of Fiddler on the Roof. The author writes into the future:to the Diamond Anniversary of 2039, 75 years after the Broadway debut. I thought that was a cool approach — ensuring a legacy for all those working on, acting in, and loving Fiddler. As a feminist and theatre fan, I came across her Tevye’s Daughters, which covers connections between Jane Austen ‘s Pride and Prejudice and Downton Abbey to Fiddler, all tales of many daughters in a changing world, I was excited to learn more about overlooked correlations.
And wow, did I learn — especially thrilled to find out so much more about the “forgotten feminine” in Fiddler: the historical context of the debut & lack of female reviewers, the real meaning of Yente, the parallel life of Sholem Aleichem himself as a sympathetic male, the importance of Hodel, and Huttner’s own journey fighting the male-dominated keyholders of the “Fiddler story.”
I read it then also bopped around in the different lectures and very fascinating Questions Asked and Answered. I like that it is designed to read like that: jump in any “act” of the book and enjoy! Sharon Rosenzweig’s illustrations make it fun and visually inviting too.