“Fiddler on the Roof,” about life in a Jewish shtetl in Czarist Russia adapted from Sholem Aleichem’s short stories, is still a hot property, having launched revivals, a movie version, and countless amateur productions since it opened on Broadway in 1964, winning nine Tony Awards. It’s the subject of the documentary “Fiddler: Miracle of Miracles,” which will have its television premiere Nov. 13 on PBS’ “Great Performances.”
It tells the story of the show’s creation, its legacy, influences, and impact, and includes footage of international “Fiddler” productions and choreographer Jerome Robbins at work; interviews with lyricist Sheldon Harnick, producer Hal Prince, actor Austin Pendleton, Chaim Topol, who starred in the film version; and appearances by such notables as Itzhak Perlman, Fran Lebowitz and Lin-Manuel Miranda, a “Fiddler” fan who staged a “To Life” production number at his wedding.
“You may love ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ because it’s a fun musical, but the reason it has lasted so long and will continue to last is because it’s deceptively sophisticated and meaningful,” said Valerie Thomas, who co-wrote and produced the film with director Max Lewkowicz. “It’s more relevant than ever. It’s about what it’s like to be thrown out of your home and off your land, and remaining somewhat strong in the face of that, keeping your family together and your religion intact. It really moves you, and anything that can move you can translate from one culture to the next and can last. It doesn’t matter who you are; you will relate to it.”