Fiddler on the Roof: considerations in a new age

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Abstract:

Is the universal acclaim given to Fiddler on the Roof well earned? Or has Fiddler lost its power over its forty years of existence, owing to a more cynical, less sympathetic culture? Might this be especially true with respect to what was once perceived as Jewish oppression, and might now be seen as Jewish nostalgia and arrogance? Such a lack of sympathy begs the further question: how legitimately Jewish an experience has Fiddler offered to audiences, whether during the 1960s when it premiered or in the new millennium? We thus explore Fiddler on the Roof as a cultural, literary and theatrical entity, especially in terms of the genuineness of the Yiddishkeit experience the play has offered and might still offer.

Keywords: Aleichem; Bock; Fiddler; Harnick; Jewish; musical theatre

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/smt.2.1.51_1

Affiliations: Louisiana State University.

Publication date: June 5, 2008

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  • Studies in Musical Theatre is a refereed journal which considers areas of live performance that use vocal and instrumental music in conjunction with theatrical performance as a principal part of their expressive language.
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