Friday, February 13, 2009

Everyone wants to be a fiddler

So I was reading the reviews at Critic-o-Meter for Leah's Train. I was kind of curious because I knew it was a play about Russian and American Jews performed by the National Asian American Theatre Company. I wish I could see it - I think this kind of cross-cultural experience can be really interesting.

And actually, I guess it's not so unusual. I couldn't find a list of all the countries where Fiddler on the Roof has been performed, but I'm sure the musical has been done in many different languages since its Broadway debut in 1964. And I'm sure it's been done mostly by people with no connection to Jewish culture. Hey, that's why it's called acting.

Since I'm going to see the national tour of Fiddler this weekend, I thought I'd check up on other productions. The list at Music Theatre International is made up mostly of high schools from around the United States.

I noticed that a lot of Christian high schools do the show, which tells the story of a Jewish village in czarist Russia. Lots of schools like to do musicals and this one is well-known, with a big cast. Plus, I'm sure the plot, centering on people of deep religious faith trying to hang onto their traditions, is very appealing.

And the range of schools is pretty amazing, too, from the very preppy Philips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire to Inuksuk High School in in the far northern Canadian territory of Nunavut. Now those would be two very interesting shows to see back to back.

Like the description on the MITI Web site says, "Its universal theme of tradition cuts across barriers of race, class, nationality and religion, leaving audiences crying tears of laughter, joy and sadness."


Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Fiddler's themes are so universal, it's no wonder Christian schools, along with public ones, would want to produce it. It's a great show.

Esther said...

You're right! It was interesting to just go down the list. I was struck by the variety of schools doing "Fiddler" - urban, suburban, public and private, from just about every state.