Joel Grey to Direct American First Yiddish Fiddler Off-Broadway

by | Apr 4, 2018 | Coming Up, Culture, Entertainment, Events, Theater




Today thousands of hopefuls will begin to line up at the Actors Equity Audition Center for a chance to be seen for the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene American Premiere of the Yiddish language Fiddler on the Roof, and as casting began, the highly-anticipated production, helmed by Academy Award and Tony Award winner Joel Grey, also unveiled its full all-star creative team.

“With the drive for artistic excellence found amongst our creative team, the American Premiere of Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish aims to give audiences an authentic, exhilarating, and universally resonant experience,” said Folksbiene’s Chief Executive Officer and two-time Tony Award-nominated producer Christopher Massimine. “It is our goal to use the Jewish experience to bridge heritage and identity to the widest walks of life.”

Joining Grey and Tony Award winners Beowulf Boritt, Set Designer, and Ann Hould-Ward, Costume Designer, are: Staś Kmieć, Choreographer (Poland’s Oskar Kolberg Award, New York Musical Theater Festival “Excellence in Choreography” Award); Peter Kaczorowski, Lighting Designer (Tony Award, The Producers and Contact, Tony Award nomination for The Road to Mecca, Anthony Goes, Grey Gardens, The Producers, and Kiss Me, Kate); and, Zalmen Mlotek, Conductor and Musical Director (Co-Creator of the Tony Award-nominated Those were the Days, Best Direction nomination for Eleanor Reissa and Best Supporting Actor nomination for Bruce Adler). Consulting on the production are Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning lyricist Sheldon Harnick; iconic producer and director Hal Prince, who was the original producer of Fiddler on the Roof; and, veteran Production Stage Manager Peter Hanson (Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, Anything Goes, Brief Encounter) in the production department.

Additional members of the team include: Merete Muenter, Assistant Choreographer (Chita Rivera Award nomination for The Golden Bride); Matthew (Motl) Didner, Assistant Director (Drama Desk Award nomination for THE GOLDEN BRIDE); Jamibeth Margolis, CSA, Casting Director (Cats, Phantom of the Opera, Les Misérables, Miss Saigon); and, Sean Francis Patrick, Production Manager (Roundabout’s Cabaret and Anything Goes).

Presented professionally in Yiddish for the first time in over 50 years, since its world premiere in Israel, this historic production is collaborating with the Dog Green Productions and the official Fiddler on the Roof documentary: Fiddler, which will depict the musical’s journey from Sholem Aleichem to the modern stage. The film will highlight the unique nature of this American Premiere of the Yiddish translation.

“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 Folksbiene 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 constructed by noted Israeli actor/director Shraga Friedman in 1965 and deepens the connection of the work to Sholem Aleichem’s original Tevye the Dairyman stories. Friedman, a native Yiddish speaker, was born in Warsaw and escaped the 2nd World War with his family, making their way to Tel Aviv in 1941. Well acquainted with Sholem Aleichem’s works, Friedman crafted his translation to infuse Fiddler with literary references from the original Tevye the Dairyman stories.

April marks the final month for discounted pre-sale ticket rates—ticket prices will increase May 1st. Fiddler on The Roof performances will run from July 4th through August 26th. Tickets to previews of Fiddler on the Roof start at $45, and performance tickets start at $50.

This is the last month to purchase tickets at the discounted pre-sale rate. Ticket prices will increase on May 1st. For tickets, visit or call 866-811-4111. For group sales and memberships, call 212-213-2120 Ext. 204.

The show will be presented in Yiddish with English and Russian supertitles. Press Opening is on July 15th and the VIP Official Opening Gala Performance on July 16th.


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