Friday, September 23, 2005

Opening Night of Fiddler on the Roof

eCouncillor grew up in outer-western Sydney (not Dubbo as some have assumed) and attended four different state schools. Far western Sydney back in the 70's and 80's was a relatively sheltered backwater for cultural diversity. My schools were largely comprised of Anglo-European children. I remember just a few new immigrants kids but I never knowingly came by any Jewish students. Other than media coverage of Israel issues and lessons on WW2, I had little understanding of the complex culture and rich history of Judaism. That all changed when I went to Macquarie University and met a guy who turned out to be Jewish and invited me to his family home in Bellevue Hill for their Sabbath dinner. It was all very new to me and I still remember walking along the streets seeing as I passed windows, the various small families gathered around the table with the candles burning. It had made a lasting impression on me and an interest in exploring the story of Judaism.

That introduction by way of saying that it was not until 5 years ago that I was introduced to the film Fiddler on the Roof which to that point I had mistakenly thought was a kids musical (as the Sound of Music will always remain!). Last night I was honoured to represent Council at the opening night of Fiddler on the Roof at the Capitol Theatre. Opening night for any production is always a special occasion as the theatre crowd vie for attention and the cast put in an almighty effort for the audience and reviewers.

I can thoroughly recommend the show to any eCouncillor readers. Of course Topol (pictured) is the show stealer. He has been doing this production for decades and plays the role of Tevye (the father and narrator) in the film. Other familiar faces (just discernible through extensive costume and makeup) were Maggie Kirkpatrick (as the matchmaker) and Barry Crocker (as the wealthy butcher). The large cast of 39 all standout with robust singing and extravagant dance. The opening night crowd cheered and clapped throughout the production (wouldn't do at the Opera - I know) and much of the crowd gave a standing ovation. Well worth taking a night off.

The Sydney Morning Herald reviewed Topol's dedication to this play in August:
Typecast and loving it - fiddler to perch on roof again
In showbiz, being known by just one name is a sign of real success.
But before Madonna, Cher, Sting or Bono, there was Topol.
"But I think Fernandel was before me just a little," the Israeli actor said yesterday, on a break from rehearsals for the Sydney production of Fiddler on the Roof.
He shot to stardom as the bearded father Tevye in the 1967 London production of the musical and played the same role for Norman Jewison's film version, winning an Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe Award along the way.
This Australian show will be his sixth time playing Tevye, and the 70-year-old has no plans to stop any time soon.
"I'll do it any time they ask. I love this show," he said, explaining that he regularly finds new nuances in the script.
Read more here

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