IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER: New Revivals of FIDDLER ON THE ROOF

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IN THE EYE
OF THE BEHOLDER:

New Revivals of
FIDDLER ON THE ROOF
open in Chicago & New York

On July 27th, 1964, the audience entered Detroit’s Fisher Theater eager to see the new musical. The lights went down, the curtain went up, and there he was, alone with the public for the first time: the fiddler on the roof. FIDDLER had a difficult birth. It was considered a long-shot by its backers, and the critic from VARIETY who wrote FIDDLER’s very first review was scathing: “None of the songs is memorable,” wrote “TEW” on July 28th.

After considerable tweaking in Detroit and Washington, D.C., FIDDLER arrived in New York on September 22nd, but the reaction was much the same. “It might be an altogether charming musical,” sniffed Walter Kerr in the HERALD TRIBUNE, “if only the people of Anatevka did not pause every now and then to give their regards to Broadway…” Critics focused on star Zero Mostel, and many claimed that after he left the cast, the production would quickly fold. But Mostel was long gone eight years later, when FIDDLER eclipsed its predecessors to set a new record for continuous Broadway performances in 1972.

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