Award Win­ning Ac­tor Joel Grey to Di­rect U.S. Pre­miere of Fid­dler on the Roof in Yid­dish

Pre­sented Off-Broad­way this sum­mer by the Na­tional Yid­dish Theatre Folks­bi­ene

The Jewish Voice - - ARTS & CULTURE - Edited by: JV Staff

Na­tional Yid­dish Theatre Folks­bi­ene (NYTF), the long­est con­sec­u­tively pro­duc­ing theatre in the United States and the world's old­est con­tin­u­ously op­er­at­ing Yid­dish theatre com­pany, re­cently an­nounced that leg­endary stage and screen ac­tor Joel Grey will di­rect the United States’ pre­miere of Fid­dler on the Roof in Yid­dish this sum­mer.

“For me, it feels like Fid­dler is com­ing home,” Joel Grey said. “This will be a bold and rich re-imag­i­na­tion, with a highly ac­claimed group of theater artists from Broad­way that will re­spect­fully re-en­vi­sion this clas­sic theater touch­stone in fresh ways.”

“We are proud to an­nounce that Joel Grey, one of the most re­spected artists of our time, will be di­rect­ing the first Yid­dish lan­guage ver­sion of Fid­dler on the Roof in U.S. his­tory,” said Na­tional Yid­dish Theatre Folks­bi­ene Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer Christo­pher Mas­simine. “When NYTF pre­sented Joel Grey with a Life­time Achieve­ment Award five years ago, we lauded his ac­com­plish­ments on stage, in film, and on tele­vi­sion, and at the heart of all of this work has been a com­mit­ment to pro­vid­ing au­di­ences with cap­ti­vat­ing per­for­mances. We are ex­cited that he will bring this same in­spi­ra­tion and cre­ativ­ity to this un­prece­dented pre­sen­ta­tion of Fid­dler on the Roof.”

Through­out his il­lus­tri­ous ca­reer, Joel Grey has ex­em­pli­fied a stun­ning artis­tic abil­ity to en­liven the stage and screen through mem­o­rable roles, such as George M. Co­han in George M!, the Wiz­ard of Oz in Wicked, and his mul­ti­ple-award-win­ning per­for­mance as the Mas­ter of Cer­e­monies in Cabaret on Broad­way and in film. One of only eight peo­ple to win an Academy Award and Tony Award for play­ing the same role, he seam­lessly tran­si­tioned from stage to screen to di­rect­ing, earn­ing a Tony Award Nom­i­na­tion for his co-di­rec­tion of the Broad­way re­vival of The Nor­mal Heart in 2011.

Fid­dler on the Roof in Yid­dish, based on the Tevye the Dairy­man vi­gnettes by renowned Yid­dish au­thor Sholem Ale­ichem and trans­lated by Shraga Fried­man, has not been staged pro­fes­sion­ally since its world pre­miere pro­duc­tion in Is­rael more than 50 years ago. The Off-Broad­way pro­duc­tion will take place at the Mu­seum of Jewish Her­itage, Ed­mond J. Safra Plaza, 36 Bat­tery Place, NYC, from July 4 through Au­gust 26—pre­sented in Yid­dish with English and Rus­sian su­per­ti­tles.

Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-win­ning lyri­cist Shel­don Har­nick and leg­endary pro­ducer and direc­tor Hal Prince–who was the orig­i­nal pro­ducer of Fid­dler on the Roof–have been consulting with NYTF on the pro­duc­tion.

“Joel Grey is a ter­rific direc­tor. He is well-versed in the ma­te­rial – it’s in his bones,” Hal Prince said.

Join­ing Mr. Grey for the pro­duc­tion are Tony Award-win­ner and mul­ti­ple Tony Award-nom­i­nee Be­owulf Boritt, Set De­sign, whose cred­its most re­cently in­clude Come From Away, Prince of Broad­way, Hand to God, On The Town, A Bronx Tale, and Rock of Ages; and, Ann HouldWard, Cos­tume De­sign, Tony win­ner for Beauty and the Beast and Tony nom­i­nee for Into the Woods and Sun­day in the Park with George.

“The Yid­dish trans­la­tion con­nects the mas­ter­piece by Jerry Bock, Shel­don Har­nick, and Joseph Stein to the source ma­te­rial by Sholem Ale­ichem in a very mov­ing way. It en­riches the way that an au­di­ence in 2018 will un­der­stand the cul­ture, lan­guage and cus­toms which sus­tained the Jewish peo­ple for a thou­sand years in East­ern Europe and how modernization for­ever changed it,” said NYTF Artis­tic Direc­tor Zal­men Mlotek.

Fid­dler on The Roof fea­tures mu­sic by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Shel­don Har­nick, and book by Joseph Stein. The orig­i­nal Broad­way pro­duc­tion of the show, which opened in 1964, was the first mu­si­cal theatre pro­duc­tion in his­tory to sur­pass 3,000 per­for­mances; the show won the Tony Award for Best Mu­si­cal as well as eight other Tony Awards in 1965, and since has been per­formed in ev­ery metropoli­tan city in the world, from Paris to Bei­jing.

The Yid­dish trans­la­tion was art­fully crafted by noted Is­raeli ac­tor/direc­tor Shraga Fried­man in 1965, and deep­ens the con­nec­tion of the work to Ale­ichem’s orig­i­nal sto­ries. Fried­man, a na­tive Yid­dish speaker, was born in War­saw and es­caped a War-En­gulfed Europe with his fam­ily, mak­ing their way to Tel Aviv in 1941. Fried­man, well ac­quainted with the Ale­ichem’s works, used his trans­la­tion to in­fuse Fid­dler with lit­er­ary ref­er­ences to the orig­i­nal Tevye Sto­ries as well as other sto­ries by the beloved au­thor (i.e. “If I Were a Rich Man” is trans­lated into Yid­dish as “If I Were a Roth­schild”).

Born in Cleve­land, Ohio, Joel Grey started at an early age on per­form on stage, mak­ing his pro­fes­sional de­but at the age of nine as Pud in the Cleve­land Play­house pro­duc­tion of On Bor­rowed Time. The son of Goldie “Grace” and ac­tor, co­me­dian and mu­si­cian Mickey Katz (who won re­gard for his Yid­dish-English com­edy songs), Joel Grey’s theatre ca­reer took off in the early 1950’s, with cred­its that have in­cluded Chekhov’s The Cherry Or­chard; Any­thing Goes; Wicked; Chicago; George M! (for which he was nom­i­nated for a Tony Award); and, Cabaret (for which he won a Tony Award in 1966). He played the role of Ned Weeks in the Pub­lic Theatre’s orig­i­nal Off-Broad­way pro­duc­tion of Larry Kramer’s sem­i­nal play The Nor­mal Heart in 1986, and co-di­rected the Tony Award-win­ning Broad­way pre­miere in 2011.

His film cred­its in­clude Cabaret (for which he won an Academy Award for Best Sup­port­ing Ac­tor in 1973); Buf­falo Bill and the Indians; Remo Williams: The Ad­ven­ture Be­gins; Dancer In the Dark; and The Seven Per­cent So­lu­tion. On tele­vi­sion, he ap­peared on Alias, Oz, Buffy the Vam­pire Slayer and Grey’s Anatomy, among other shows, and won Golden Globe and Drama Desk Awards. In 2013, he di­rected On Bor­rowed Time at the Two River Theater. His mem­oir, Mas­ter of Cer­e­monies, was re­leased in 2016 (Flat­iron Press).

NYTF is col­lab­o­rat­ing with film­maker Max Lewkow­icz of Dog Green Pro­duc­tions, who is creat­ing the mu­si­cal’s of­fi­cial video doc­u­men­tary, Fid­dler. “Fid­dler on the Roof has al­ways been part of my back­ground in terms of un­der­stand­ing mu­si­cal theatre,” said Max Lewkow­icz. “But as I got older I be­gan to re­al­ize a lot of things about the piece; it's not a sim­ple mu­si­cal, it's very com­plex, and what makes it amaz­ing is that it deals with so many dif­fer­ent themes that we as hu­man be­ings can con­nect to.”

Fid­dler on The Roof per­for­mances will run from July 4 through Au­gust 26. Tick­ets to pre­views of Fid­dler on the Roof start at $45, and per­for­mance tick­ets start at $50. For tick­ets, visit www.NYTF.org or call 866-811-4111. For group sales and mem­ber­ships, call 212-2132120 Ext. 204.

En­ter­ing its 104th sea­son, Tony Award-nom­i­nated and Drama Desk Award-win­ning Na­tional Yid­dish Theatre Folks­bi­ene (NYTF) is the long­est con­sec­u­tively pro­duc­ing theatre in the U.S. and the world's old­est con­tin­u­ously op­er­at­ing Yid­dish theatre com­pany. Led by CEO Christo­pher Mas­simine and Artis­tic Direc­tor Zal­men Mlotek, NYTF is ded­i­cated to creat­ing a liv­ing legacy through the arts, con­nect­ing gen­er­a­tions and bridg­ing com­mu­ni­ties. NYTF aims to bring his­tory to life by re­viv­ing and restor­ing lost and for­got­ten work, com­mis­sion­ing new work, and adapt­ing pre-ex­ist­ing work for the 21st Cen­tury. Serv­ing a di­verse au­di­ence com­prised of per­form­ing arts pa­trons, cul­tural en­thu­si­asts, Yid­dish-lan­guage afi­ciona­dos and the gen­eral pub­lic, the com­pany presents plays, mu­si­cals, con­certs, lec­tures, in­ter­ac­tive ed­u­ca­tional work­shops and com­mu­nity-build­ing ac­tiv­i­ties in English and Yid­dish, with English and Rus­sian su­per­ti­tles ac­com­pa­ny­ing per­for­mances. NYTF pro­vides ac­cess to a cen­tury-old cul­tural legacy and in­spires the imag­i­na­tions of the next gen­er­a­tion to con­trib­ute to this valu­able body of work. Learn more at www.NYTF.org.

Na­tional Yid­dish Theatre Folks­bi­ene (NYTF) re­cently an­nounced that leg­endary stage and screen ac­tor Joel Grey will di­rect the United States’ pre­miere of Fid­dler on the Roof in Yid­dish this sum­mer.

“Joel Grey is a ter­rific direc­tor. He is well-versed in the ma­te­rial – it’s in his bones,” Hal Prince said.

Ber­nadette Peters, Joel Grey and cast in George M!, 1968

“For me, it feels like Fid­dler is com­ing home,” Joel Grey said. “This will be a bold and rich re-imag­i­na­tion, with a highly ac­claimed group of theater artists from Broad­way that will re­spect­fully re-en­vi­sion this clas­sic theater touch­stone in fresh ways.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.