New ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ production performed in Yiddish
A musical theater classic is back on the New York stage – but this time with a twist.
“Fiddler on the Roof” is one of the most famous musicals of all time. And now a new production of the play is being performed once again in the language of its cultural heritage – Yiddish.
“In some ways it’s funnier in Yiddish and sadder in Yiddish,” says actor Steven Skybell.
Skybell plays the character Tevya – the milkman looking to find husbands for his five daughters as the family feels their Jewish culture is threatened. Skybell says there is an authenticity to the all-Yiddish production.
“The Yiddish unlocks - not only for Jewish people, but for people in general hearing these characters speak in Yiddish - is unlike anything that I think people have experienced,” Skybell says.
Skybell has been learning Yiddish but like most cast members, knew little or none of the language before. The musical is a production of the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene, which is coaching the actors.
The production is directed by Oscar and Tony award-winner Joel Grey. The show is being performed with subtitles at its off-Broadway location of New World Stages.
Performances are scheduled through Jan. 1.