Skip to main content

Zero Mostel performs in a 1964 Broadway production of Fiddler on the Roof.

The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts /Courtesy of Roadside Attractions and Samuel Goldwyn Films

  • Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles
  • Directed by Max Lewkowicz
  • Written by Max Lewkowicz and Valerie Thomas
  • Starring: Sheldon Harnick, Harold Prince, Austin Pendleton, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Fran Lebowitz, Chaim Topol, Harvey Fierstein and Stephen Sondheim
  • Classification: PG
  • 92 minutes

rating

“What is it that makes it speak in so many languages and everybody thinks it’s about them?”

A good question about the universality of smash Broadway hit Fiddler on the Roof, asked by Joel Grey in the lovable and informative documentary Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles.

Story continues below advertisement

Does director Max Lewkowicz have answers? Does Tevye the milkman have five daughters? Yes and yes. Though the deeply Jewish story is set in turn-of-the-century Russia and the musical’s origins stretch back to stories published by Sholem Aleichem in 1894, Lewkowicz looks at Fiddler on the Roof through the lens of the turbulent New York of the 1960s, when social conventions were being challenged.

Crowds line up outside New York's Imperial Theatre for a showing of Fiddler on the Roof in 1964.

Friedman Abeles/The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts /Courtesy of Roadside Attractions and Samuel Goldwyn Films

The documentary sprawls but manages to pull together backstage gossip, historical context and comment from famous fans such as Lin-Manuel Miranda, a Puerto Rican whose wedding to his Dominican-Austrian wife featured a Fiddler tune. We hear Norman Jewison, who directed the 1971 film adaptation, dish an anecdote about being perfectly honest with movie mogul Arthur B. Krimm before coming on board: “What would you say if I told you I was a goy?”

Toes will tap, a tear or two might be shed – a complex story about a deceivingly complex musical is adoringly told and ultimately simplified. “As long as humankind continues to have struggles,” asserts one talking head, “Fiddler on the Roof will be there.” File under: The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles opens Aug. 23.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter