Miracle of miracles, we’re getting another film adaptation of “Fiddler on the Roof.” And this time, the director’s Jewish.
Thomas Kail, the Tony-winning director of “Hamilton” is set to helm the new adaptation of Sheldon Harnick and Jerry Bock’s classic musical, Deadline reports, with a script by Kail’s former collaborator, Tony-winner Steven Levenson (“Dear Evan Hansen”).
“It has been a life-long dream of mine to direct Fiddler,” Kail told Deadline. “Though I always imagined I would do it on stage.”
“Fiddler” previously received a big screen treatment in 1971 with the deceptively-named Norman Jewison (a Protestant) and starring the Israeli actor Topol. The film nabbed three Academy Awards and led a generation who witnessed the original Broadway production to proclaim that Zero Mostel was a better Tevye.
“‘Fiddler On The Roof’ was the first piece of theater I saw, at the age of five,” Levinson told Deadline. “Today, more than 50 years after it changed the face of Broadway forever, the story of Tevye and his beloved village of Anatevka feels more timely than ever.”
To what is Levinson referring? It could be the current climate of anti-Semitism (endured by Tevye’s community) or the immigrant experience indicated by the musical’s ending. He could also be tipping his hat to the outstanding success of the Folksbiene’s Yiddish production. Alternatively, Levinson could be referring to that Ukrainian community named for the fictional shtetl that had an odd role in the Trump impeachment.
Either way, we look forward to seeing what Kail will do with the material. But we kinda hope he shows some restraint and doesn’t let Lin-Manuel Miranda add a rap breakdown to “Sunrise, Sunset.”
PJ Grisar is the Forward’s culture fellow. He can be reached at Grisar@Forward.com.