Fiddler on the Roof
Fiddler on the Roof is a musical with music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, book by Joseph Stein, set in the Pale of Settlement of Imperial Russia in 1905. It is based on his Daughters and other tales by Sholem Aleichem; the story centers on Tevye, the father of five daughters, his attempts to maintain his Jewish religious and cultural traditions as outside influences encroach upon the family's lives. He must cope both with the strong-willed actions of his three older daughters, who wish to marry for love – each one's choice of a husband moves further away from the customs of their Jewish faith and heritage – and with the edict of the Tsar that evicts the Jews from their village; the original Broadway production of the show, which opened in 1964, had the first musical theatre run in history to surpass 3,000 performances. Fiddler held the record for the longest-running Broadway musical for 10 years until Grease surpassed its run, it remains the seventeenth longest-running show in Broadway history.
The production was extraordinarily profitable and acclaimed. It won nine Tony Awards, including Best Musical, book and choreography, it spawned five Broadway revivals and a successful 1971 film adaptation and has enjoyed enduring international popularity. It has been a popular choice for school and community productions. Fiddler on the Roof is based on Tevye and his Daughters, a series of stories by Sholem Aleichem that he wrote in Yiddish between 1894 and 1914 about Jewish life in a village in the Pale of Settlement of Imperial Russia at the turn of the 20th century, it is influenced by Life Is with People, by Mark Zborowski and Elizabeth Herzog. Aleichem wrote a dramatic adaptation of the stories that he left unfinished at his death, but, produced in Yiddish in 1919 by the Yiddish Art Theater and made into a film in the 1930s. In the late 1950s, a musical based on the stories, called Tevye and his Daughters, was produced Off-Broadway by Arnold Perl. Rodgers and Hammerstein and Mike Todd considered bringing this musical to Broadway but dropped the idea.
Investors and some in the media worried that Fiddler on the Roof might be considered "too Jewish" to attract mainstream audiences. Other critics considered that it was "middlebrow" and superficial. For example, it portrays the local Russian officer as sympathetic, instead of brutal and cruel, as Sholom Aleichem had described him. Aleichem's stories ended with Tevye alone, his wife dead and his daughters scattered; the show found the right balance for its time if not authentic, to become "one of the first popular post-Holocaust depictions of the vanished world of Eastern European Jewry". Harold Prince replaced the original producer Fred Coe and brought in director/choreographer Jerome Robbins; the writers and Robbins considered naming the musical Tevye, before landing on a title suggested by various paintings by Marc Chagall that inspired the original set design. Contrary to popular belief, the "title of the musical does not refer to any specific painting". During rehearsals, one of the stars, Jewish actor Zero Mostel, feuded with Robbins, whom he held in contempt because Robbins had testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee and hid his Jewish heritage from the public.
Other cast members had run-ins with Robbins, who "abused the cast, drove the designers crazy strained the good nature of Hal Prince". Tevye, a poor Jewish milkman with five daughters, explains the customs of the Jews in the Russian shtetl of Anatevka in 1905, where their lives are as precarious as the perch of a fiddler on a roof. At Tevye's home, everyone is busy preparing for the Sabbath meal, his sharp-tongued wife, orders their daughters, Hodel, Chava and Bielke, about their tasks. Yente, the village matchmaker, arrives to tell Golde that Lazar Wolf, the wealthy butcher, a widower older than Tevye, wants to wed Tzeitel, the eldest daughter; the next two daughters and Chava, are excited about Yente's visit, but Tzeitel is unenthusiastic. A girl from a poor family must take whatever husband Yente brings, but Tzeitel wants to marry her childhood friend, Motel the tailor. Tevye is delivering milk, he asks God: Whom would it hurt "If I Were a Rich Man"? The bookseller tells Tevye news from the outside world of expulsions.
A stranger, hears their conversation and scolds them for doing nothing more than talk. The men dismiss Perchik as a radical, but Tevye invites him home for the Sabbath meal and offers him food and a room in exchange for tutoring his two youngest daughters. Golde tells Tevye to meet Lazar after the Sabbath but does not tell him why, knowing that Tevye does not like Lazar. Tzeitel is afraid, but Motel resists: he is afraid of Tevye's temper, tradition says that a matchmaker arranges marriages. Motel is very poor and is saving up to buy a sewing machine before he approaches Tevye, to show that he can support a wife; the family gathers for the "Sabbath Prayer." After the Sabbath, Tevye meets Lazar for a drink at the village inn, assuming mistakenly that Lazar wants to buy his cow. Once the misunderstanding is cleared up, Tevye agrees to let Lazar marry Tzeitel – with a rich butcher, his daughter will never want for anything. All join in the celebration of Lazar's good fortune.
Fiddler on the Roof (film)
Fiddler on the Roof is a 1971 American musical comedy-drama film produced and directed by Norman Jewison. It is an adaptation of the 1964 Broadway musical of the same name, with music composed by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, screenplay by Joseph Stein and based on stories by Sholem Aleichem. Starring Topol, Norma Crane, Leonard Frey, Molly Picon, Paul Mann, the film centers on Tevye, the father of five daughters, his attempts to maintain his Jewish religious and cultural traditions as outside influences encroach upon the family's lives, he must cope both with the strong-willed actions of his three older daughters, who wish to marry for love – each one's choice of a husband moves further away from the customs of his faith – and with the edict of the Tsar who evicts the Jews from the town of Anatevka. Throughout the film, Tevye talks directly to the audience, breaking the fourth wall. In these monologues, Tevye ponders tradition, the difficulties of being poor, the Jewish community's constant fear of harassment from their non-Jewish neighbors, important family decisions.
The film was released to critical acclaim and won three Academy Awards, including Best Music, Scoring Adaptation and Original Song Score for arranger-conductor John Williams. It was nominated for several more, including Best Picture, Best Actor for Topol as Tevye, Best Supporting Actor for Frey, who played Motel Kamzoil the Tailor. Topol and Frey had performed in stage productions of the musical; the film's plot follows that of the musical from which it is adapted. In 1905, Tevye, a poor Jewish milkman living in the Ukrainian village of Anatevka, a typical shtetl in the Pale of Settlement of Imperial Russia, compares the lives of the Jews of Anatevka to a fiddler on the roof, using tradition to "scratch out a pleasant, simple tune" without breaking their necks. In town, Tevye meets Perchik, a radical Marxist from Kiev, who admonishes them for talking but doing nothing about news of Jews being banished from their villages by the tsar. Tevye invites Perchik to stay with his family, offering him room and board in exchange for Perchik tutoring his daughters.
Tevye arranges for his oldest daughter, Tzeitel, to marry Lazar Wolf, an older, widowed, wealthy butcher. Tzeitel is in love with her childhood sweetheart, Motel Kamzoil, begs her father not to make her marry Lazar Wolf. Although he is angry, Tevye realizes that Tzeitel loves Motel and yields to his daughter's demands. In order to convince his wife Golde that Tzeitel should not be married to Lazar Wolf, Tevye claims to have had a nightmare, he says that Golde's deceased grandmother told him Tzeitel is supposed to marry Motel, that Lazar Wolf's late wife, Fruma-Sarah, threatened to kill Tzeitel if the two are married. Golde concludes that the dream was a message from their ancestors, Tzeitel and Motel arrange to be married. Meanwhile, Tevye's second daughter and Perchik begin to fall in love, they argue over the place of old religious traditions in a changing world. The two dance together, considered forbidden by Orthodox Jewish tradition. Perchik tells Hodel. At Tzeitel and Motel's wedding, an argument breaks out after Lazar Wolf presents the newlyweds with gifts.
When Tevye tries to speak to Lazar about the Torah, Lazar refuses to listen, arguing that the wedding should have been his all along. Minutes another argument breaks out over whether a girl should be able to choose her own husband. Perchik addresses the crowd and says that, since they love each other, it should be left for the couple to decide, he creates further controversy by asking Hodel to dance with him. The crowd warms to the idea and Tevye and Golde Motel and Tzeitel, join in dancing; the wedding proceeds with great joy. The military presence in the town and the constable arrive and begin a pogrom, the "demonstration" which he had earlier warned Tevye was coming; the constable stops the attack on the wedding celebration after Perchik is wounded in the scuffle with the tsar's men. Tevye and the immediate family stand still, until Tevye angrily orders them to clean up instead of standing around. Tevye silently asks. In its original theatrical release, the film was shown with an entr ` acte music.
Months Perchik prepares to leave Anatevka for the revolution. He proposes to Hodel, she accepts; when they tell Tevye, he is furious that they have decided to marry without his permission, but he again relents because they love each other. Tevye tells Golde his reasons for consenting to their daughter's marriage, which leads them to re-evaluate their own arranged marriage. Tevye and Golde realize that, despite having been paired by a matchmaker, they do love each other. Weeks Perchik is arrested in Kiev and is exiled to Siberia. Hodel decides to join him there, she promises Tevye. Meanwhile and Motel become parents, Motel buys the sewing machine for which he has long scrimped and saved. Tevye's third daughter Chava falls in love with a Russian Orthodox Christian named Fyedka. Tevye tells Chava to be distant friends with Fyedka, because of the difference in their religions; when Chava works up the courage to ask Tevye's permission to marry Fyedka, Tevye tells her that marrying outside the family's faith is against tradition.
He forbids her from having any contact with Fyedka or from mentioning his name. The next morning, Fyedka
Maurice Schwartz, born Avram Moishe Schwartz, born in Galicia, was a stage and film actor active in the United States. He founded the Yiddish Art Theatre and its associated school in 1918 in New York City and was its theatrical producer and director, he worked in Hollywood as an actor in silent films but as a film director and screenwriter. Schwartz was born Avram Moishe Schwartz in Sudlekov, in Austrian Galicia, to Isaac, a grain dealer, his wife Rose Schwartz, a Jewish family. Moishe was the oldest of three boys among the six siblings, had three older sisters. Like many similar families, the Schwartzes immigrated to the United States in stages. In 1898 Isaac Schwartz emigrated with his three teen-aged daughters, so they could all work to get started in New York and earn money for passage for Rose and their three young sons; the following year he sent tickets for the boys. They got separated. Rose was forced to leave without Moishe. Without any English, he made his way to London, where he lived for two years, surviving with the help of strangers.
His father located him in 1901, they traveled together to New York when Moishe was twelve. Upon rejoining his family in New York City's Lower East Side, Schwartz took the first name of Morris, his father enrolled him in the Baron de Hirsch school, founded to teach Jewish immigrants. After school he worked in his father's small factory recycling rags for the clothing industry; when an uncle introduced him to Yiddish theatre, Schwartz was captivated. At that time groups of boys and young men were partisans of different actors. Schwartz, who admired the actors David Kessler and Jacob Adler, began reading especially classic plays by such authors as William Shakespeare and Henrik Ibsen; because his Orthodox father opposed his desire to act, Schwartz left home and took a variety of jobs to support himself before finding work as an actor. He joined various traveling theater troupes, including one. On his return to New York City in 1907, he found his heroes and Adler, continuing to rise in their profession.
Soon Schwartz obtained a contract with Michael Thomashevsky's Green Street Theatre in Philadelphia. Schwartz was married to Eva Rafalo, a contralto singer born in Cincinnati, whom he met while touring with an acting company, they were divorced by 1911. Eva and her older sister Clara Rafalo were both actresses in the Yiddish theatre. After the divorce, Eva married another actor on the Yiddish stage. In 1914 Schwartz married Anna Bordofsky, a 24-year-old woman from Brest-Litovsk, in the United States about a decade, she was involved with Kessler's Yiddish theater as well. She became his business partner, they remained married until Schwartz's death. In 1947 the couple adopted two Polish Jewish war orphans and Fannie Englander, aged 9- and 8-years old, respectively. After losing their parents Abraham Joseph and Chana Englander in 1942, the children had been placed by the underground with Belgian Christian families. Fannie was renamed Marcelle and grew up with Maurice and Denise Vander Voordt as the only parents she knew.
The Vander Voordts protected her as their own during the German occupation. She spoke only French. After the war, Jewish groups had worked to reunite families and place Jewish orphans with Jewish families. Schwartz met the boy Moses at the Wezembeek Orphanage in Belgium in 1946 while on a theatrical tour for displaced persons, he arranged to adopt Moses and his sister through the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, which had located Fannie and brought the siblings together. The Schwartzes met Fannie for the first time when she arrived with her brother at La Guardia Airport, they renamed the children Risa. In New York, they taught them Yiddish and English, about Judaism. Schwartz started acting early, working for six years in companies and locations outside New York: the Midwest and Philadelphia. In 1911 he was hired by David Kessler for his company at his Second Avenue Theatre. In 1913, he gained a Hebrew Actors Union card, having to take the test twice and do some politicking with influential leaders, such as Abe Cahan, editor of The Jewish Forward, to get voted in.
After a total of six years with Kessler, Schwartz had other ambitions to pursue. In 1918 Schwartz founded the Yiddish Art Theatre, taking a lease on the Irving Place Theatre in Union Square in New York City, he had ambitions for a people's theater that would produce literary works. As he announced in Der Tog, a Yiddish-language newspaper, he wanted "a company that will be devoted to performing superior literary works that will bring honor to the Yiddish Theatre."Believing that an actor needed to develop by taking on a wide variety of roles, the next year he founded an associated school. He wanted to nurture talent by giving students chances to learn: he felt that taking on 25 roles would teach someone much about "the possibilities of voice and make-up." Among the actors Schwartz helped. Schwartz said of Muni in a 1931 interview: "He is a sincere actor; the theatre is more to him than just a job."The Yiddish Art Theatre operated for the next 40 years, produced a rotating repertoire of 150 plays.
They performed classics of Yiddish and English theatre, ranging from works by Sholem Aleichem to William Shakespeare. Schwartz continued to perform and he was billed as the "Greatest of All Yiddish Actors" or the "Laurence Olivier of the Yiddish Stage"
Solomon Naumovich Rabinovich, better known under his pen name Sholem Aleichem, was a leading Yiddish author and playwright. The musical Fiddler on the Roof, based on his stories about Tevye the Dairyman, was the first commercially successful English-language stage production about Jewish life in Eastern Europe; the Hebrew phrase "shalom aleichem" means "peace be upon you", is a greeting in traditional Hebrew and Yiddish. Solomon Naumovich Rabinovich was born in 1859 in Pereyaslav and grew up in the nearby shtetl of Voronko, in the Poltava Governorate of the Russian Empire, his father, Menachem-Nukhem Rabinovich, was a rich merchant at that time. However, a failed business affair plunged the family into poverty and Solomon Rabinovich grew up in reduced circumstances; when he was 13 years old, the family moved back to Pereyaslav, where his mother, Chaye-Esther, died in a cholera epidemic. Sholem Aleichem's first venture into writing was an alphabetic glossary of the epithets used by his stepmother.
At the age of fifteen, inspired by Robinson Crusoe, he composed a Jewish version of the novel. He adopted the pseudonym Sholem Aleichem, a Yiddish variant of the Hebrew expression shalom aleichem, meaning "peace be with you" and used as a greeting. In 1876, after graduating from school in Pereyaslav, he spent three years tutoring a wealthy landowner's daughter, Olga Loev. From 1880 to 1883 he served as crown rabbi in Lubny. On May 12, 1883, he and Olga married, against the wishes of her father. A few years they inherited the estate of Olga's father. In 1890, Sholem Aleichem lost their entire fortune in a stock speculation and fled from his creditors. Solomon and Olga had their first child, a daughter named Ernestina, in 1884. Daughter Lyalya was born in 1887; as Lyalya Kaufman, she became a Hebrew writer. A third daughter, was born in 1888. In 1889, Olga gave birth to a son, they named him Elimelech, after Olga's father. Daughter Marusi was born in 1892. A final child, a son named Nochum after Solomon's father was born in 1901.
After witnessing the pogroms that swept through southern Russia in 1905, including Kiev, Sholem Aleichem left the city and resettled to New York City, where he arrived in 1906. His family set up house in Geneva, but when he saw he could not afford to maintain two households, he joined them in Geneva in 1908. Despite his great popularity, he was forced to take up an exhausting schedule of lecturing to make ends meet. In July 1908, during a reading tour in Russia, Sholem Aleichem collapsed on a train going through Baranowicze, he was diagnosed with a relapse of acute hemorrhagic tuberculosis and spent two months convalescing in the town's hospital. He described the incident as "meeting his majesty, the Angel of Death, face to face", claimed it as the catalyst for writing his autobiography, Funem yarid, he thus missed the first Conference for the Yiddish Language, held in 1908 in Czernovitz. Sholem Aleichem spent the next four years living as a semi-invalid. During this period the family was supported by donations from friends and admirers.
Sholem Aleichem moved to New York City again with his family in 1914. The family lived in Manhattan, his son, ill with tuberculosis, was not permitted entry under United States immigration laws and remained in Switzerland with his sister Emma. Sholem Aleichem died in New York in 1916. Like his contemporaries Mendele Mocher Sforim and I. L. Peretz, Sholem Rabinovitch started writing in Hebrew, as well as in Russian. In 1883, when he was 24 years old, he published his first Yiddish story, Tsvey Shteyner, using for the first time the pseudonym Sholem Aleichem. By 1890 he was a central figure in Yiddish literature, the vernacular language of nearly all East European Jews, produced over forty volumes in Yiddish, it was derogatorily called "jargon", but Sholem Aleichem used this term in an non-pejorative sense. Apart from his own literary output, Sholem Aleichem used his personal fortune to encourage other Yiddish writers. In 1888–89, he put out two issues of an almanac, Di Yidishe Folksbibliotek which gave important exposure to young Yiddish writers.
In 1890, after he lost his entire fortune, he could not afford to print the almanac's third issue, edited but was subsequently never printed. Tevye the Dairyman was first published in 1894. Over the next few years, while continuing to write in Yiddish, he wrote in Russian for an Odessa newspaper and for Voskhod, the leading Russian Jewish publication of the time, as well as in Hebrew for Ha-melitz, for an anthology edited by YH Ravnitzky, it was during this period. In August 1904, Sholem Aleichem edited Hilf: a Zaml-Bukh fir Literatur un Kunst and himself translated three stories submitted by Tolstoy as well as contributions
The Russian Empire known as Imperial Russia or Russia, was an empire that existed across Eurasia and North America from 1721, following the end of the Great Northern War, until the Republic was proclaimed by the Provisional Government that took power after the February Revolution of 1917. The third largest empire in world history, at its greatest extent stretching over three continents, Europe and North America, the Russian Empire was surpassed in landmass only by the British and Mongol empires; the rise of the Russian Empire coincided with the decline of neighboring rival powers: the Golden Horde, the Swedish Empire, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Ottoman Empire. It played a major role in 1812–1814 in defeating Napoleon's ambitions to control Europe and expanded to the west and south; the House of Romanov ruled the Russian Empire from 1721 until 1762, its matrilineal branch of patrilineal German descent the House of Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov ruled from 1762. At the beginning of the 19th century, the Russian Empire extended from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Black Sea in the south, from the Baltic Sea on the west to the Pacific Ocean, into Alaska and Northern California in America on the east.
With 125.6 million subjects registered by the 1897 census, it had the third-largest population in the world at the time, after Qing China and India. Like all empires, it included a large disparity in terms of economics and religion. There were numerous dissident elements. Economically, the empire had a predominantly agricultural base, with low productivity on large estates worked by serfs, Russian peasants; the economy industrialized with the help of foreign investments in railways and factories. The land was ruled by a nobility from the 10th through the 17th centuries, subsequently by an emperor. Tsar Ivan III laid the groundwork for the empire that emerged, he tripled the territory of his state, ended the dominance of the Golden Horde, renovated the Moscow Kremlin, laid the foundations of the Russian state. Emperor Peter the Great fought numerous wars and expanded an huge empire into a major European power, he moved the capital from Moscow to the new model city of St. Petersburg, led a cultural revolution that replaced some of the traditionalist and medieval social and political mores with a modern, Europe-oriented, rationalist system.
Empress Catherine the Great presided over a golden age. Emperor Alexander II promoted numerous reforms, most the emancipation of all 23 million serfs in 1861, his policy in Eastern Europe involved protecting the Orthodox Christians under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. That connection by 1914 led to Russia's entry into the First World War on the side of France, the United Kingdom, Serbia, against the German and Ottoman empires; the Russian Empire functioned as an absolute monarchy on principles of Orthodoxy and Nationality until the Revolution of 1905 and became a de jure constitutional monarchy. The empire collapsed during the February Revolution of 1917 as a result of massive failures in its participation in the First World War. Though the Empire was only proclaimed by Tsar Peter I following the Treaty of Nystad, some historians would argue that it was born either when Ivan III of Russia conquered Veliky Novgorod in 1478, or when Ivan the Terrible conquered the Khanate of Kazan in 1552. According to another point of view, the term Tsardom, used after the coronation of Ivan IV in 1547, was a contemporary Russian word for empire.
Much of Russia's expansion occurred in the 17th century, culminating in the first Russian colonization of the Pacific in the mid-17th century, the Russo-Polish War that incorporated left-bank Ukraine, the Russian conquest of Siberia. Poland was divided in the 1790 -- 1815 era, with much of the population going to Russia. Most of the 19th-century growth came from adding territory in Asia, south of Siberia. Peter I the Great played a major role in introducing Russia to the European state system. While the vast land had a population of 14 million, grain yields trailed behind those of agriculture in the West, compelling nearly the entire population to farm. Only a small percentage lived in towns; the class of kholops, close in status to slavery, remained a major institution in Russia until 1723, when Peter converted household kholops into house serfs, thus including them in poll taxation. Russian agricultural kholops were formally converted into serfs earlier in 1679. Peter's first military efforts were directed against the Ottoman Turks.
His attention turned to the North. Peter still lacked a secure northern seaport, except at Archangel on the White Sea, where the harbor was frozen for nine months a year. Access to the Baltic was blocked by Sweden. Peter's ambitions for a "window to the sea" led him to make a secret alliance in 1699 with Saxony, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and Denmark against Sweden, resulting in the Great Northern War; the war ended in 1721. Peter acquired four provinces situated east of the Gulf of Finland; the coveted access to the sea was now secured. There he built Russia's new capital, Saint Petersburg, to replace Moscow, which had long been Russia's cultural center. In 1722, he tur
Theodore Meir Bikel was an Austrian-American actor, folk singer, composer and political activist. He appeared in films including The African Queen, Moulin Rouge, The Enemy Below, I Want to Live!, My Fair Lady and The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming. For his portrayal of Sheriff Max Muller in The Defiant Ones, he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, he made his stage debut in Tevye the Milkman in Tel Aviv, when he was in his teens. He studied acting at Britain's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and made his London stage debut in 1948 and in New York in 1955, he was a recognized and recorded folk singer and guitarist. In 1959, he co-founded the Newport Folk Festival and created the role of Captain von Trapp opposite Mary Martin as Maria in the original Broadway production of Rodgers & Hammerstein's The Sound of Music. In 1969, Bikel began acting and singing on stage as Tevye in the musical Fiddler on the Roof, a role he performed more than any other actor to date.
The production was one of the longest-running musicals in Broadway history. Bikel was president of the Associated Actors and Artistes of America until 2014, was president of Actors' Equity in the late 1970s and early 1980s, he served as the Chair of the Board of Directors of Partners for Progressive Israel, where he lectured. Theodore Bikel was born into a Jewish family in Vienna, the son of Miriam and Josef Bikel, from Bukovina; as an active Zionist, his father named him after Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism. Following the German union with Austria in 1938, Bikel's family fled to Mandatory Palestine, where his father's contacts helped the family obtain British passports. Bikel joined Kibbutz Kfar HaMaccabi. Bikel started acting while in his teens, he performed with Habimah Theatre in 1943 and was one of the founding members of the Cameri Theatre, which became a leading Israeli theatre company. He described his acting experience there as similar to, if not better than, the Method acting techniques taught at the Actors Studio in New York.
"The Habimah people were much closer to the Method, than Lee Strasberg was, because they were direct disciples of Stanislavski."In 1945, he moved to London to study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Bikel moved to the United States in 1954 and became a naturalized citizen in 1961. Bikel did he take part in the 1948 Arab -- Israeli War. Bikel wrote in “Theo”: “A few of my contemporaries regarded as a character flaw, if not a downright act of desertion. In me there remains a small, still voice that asks whether I can fully acquit myself in my own mind.” In 1948, Michael Redgrave recommended Bikel to his friend Laurence Olivier as understudy for the parts of both Stanley Kowalski and Harold "Mitch" Mitchell in the West End premiere of Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire. Aside from being an understudy, Bikel's main role in the production was the minor part of Pablo Gonzales. However, he graduated from supporting actor and understudy to star opposite the director's wife, Vivien Leigh, with a sudden unplanned performance when a co-star, playing the role of Mitch, came down with a case of flu.
Bikel showed up backstage and went directly to Leigh's dressing room to ask if she wanted to rehearse with him, to make sure he was right for the role. She replied that she did not need to: "Go and do it," she said. "You are a professional, Larry gave you this job because he trusted you to do it well." After the show, Leigh told him, "Well done."For most of his acting career, he became known for his versatility in playing characters of different nationalities, claiming he took on those different personalities so his acting would "never get stale." On television, he played an Armenian merchant on Ironside, a Polish professor on Charlie's Angels, an American professor on The Paper Chase, a Bulgarian villain on Falcon Crest, a Russian on Star Trek: The Next Generation, an Italian on Murder, She Wrote. In movies, he played a German officer in The African Queen and The Enemy Below, a Southern sheriff in The Defiant Ones, a Russian submarine captain in the comedy The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming.
He portrayed the sadistic General Jouvet in The Pride and the Passion, was screen tested for the role of Auric Goldfinger in the James Bond film Goldfinger. In My Fair Lady, he played an overbearing Hungarian linguist, he made his Broadway debut in 1955 in "Tonight in Samarkand" and in 1958 was nominated for a Tony for "The Rope Dancers". In 1959, he created the role of Captain von Trapp in the original production of The Sound of Music, which earned him a second Tony nomination. However, Bikel did not like his role because his ability to sing was underutilized, nor did he like performing the same role of the Captain repeatedly; when the composers and Hammerstein, realized Bikel was an accomplished folksinger, they wrote the song "Edelweiss" for him to sing and accompany himself on the guitar. In 1964, he played the dialect expert, in the film version of My Fair Lady. Since his first appearance as Tevye in the musical Fiddler on the Roof, Bikel had performed the role more than any other actor.
When an injury required 74-year-old fellow Israeli performer Chaim Topol to withdraw from a high-budget, much-promoted 2009 North American tour of the musical, Bikel substituted for him in several appea
Tevya is a 1939 American Yiddish film, based on author Sholem Aleichem's stock character Tevye the Dairyman the subject of the 1964 musical Fiddler on the Roof. It was the first non-English language picture selected for preservation by the National Film Registry. Maurice Schwartz - Tevya Miriam Riselle - Chava Rebecca Weintraub - Golde Paula Lubelski - Tzeitel Leon Liebgold - Fedya Vicki Marcus - Shloimele Betty Marcus - Perele Julius Adler - Aleksei the Priest; the script was adapted by Marcy Klauber and Schwartz from the Sholem Aleichem play based on his own book. Schwartz directed the film; the movie was based on two prior works by Schwartz from two decades before: the 1919 silent movie called Khavah and the 1919 stage production of Tevye. The production was filmed at Biograph Studios in New York City and on a farm in Jericho, Long Island, New York. Midway through the shooting of the film, on August 23, 1939, Hitler seized Danzig and a Nazi invasion of Poland was imminent; these and other events in Europe impacted on the actors.
The filming was completed nevertheless. The story focuses on the plotlines from Sholem Aleichem's stories "Chava" and "Lekh-Lekho" but provides a definite ending rather than Sholom Aleichem's ambiguous ending. In this version of Tevya, as the Jews are expelled from their shtetl, Chava who had converted to Christianity to marry, leaves her husband, returns to her family and to Judaism, it is felt. Long thought to be a lost film, a print was discovered in 1978; the same story was the basis of the 1964 stage musical Fiddler on the Roof and its 1971 film version, though the fate of Chava in the ending was changed for the change in attitudes by that time. In 1991, Tevya was the first non-English language film to be named "culturally or aesthetically significant" by the U. S. Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry. List of rediscovered films Tevya on IMDb Marat Grinberg, Rolling in Dust: Maurice Schwartz's Tevye And Its Ambiguities. Thomas Pryor, A Ukrainian Village Is Erected on a Long Island Farm for a Yiddish Film Drama, New York Times, 30 July 1939