The fiddler's back

The all new Cameri Theater is putting on a Haim Sela production of Fiddler on the Roof.

Theater Review 88 (photo credit: )
Theater Review 88
(photo credit: )
Natan Datner plays Tevye, Sarit Vino-Elad is Golde, his wife, and the irrepressible Rama Messinger takes on Yente the Matchmaker. Yes, the all new Cameri Theater is putting on a Haim Sela production of Fiddler on the Roof opening at the Cameri on May 10 in a gala benefit for the Bet Loewenstein rehabilitation center in Ra'anana. The director is Moshe Kaptan, whose 2007 production of Avenue Q won the Israel Theater Prize for Best Musical. US choreographer Dennis Courtney created the dance numbers, influenced he says, "by the through-line of Jerome Robbins' work." Ronnie Toren is the set designer, Felice Ross has designed the lights and costumes are by Orna Smorgonsky. The translation is by Dan Almagor. This Fiddler is no tired remake of the original and legendary 1964 Broadway production, but "a Fiddler for Israel in 2008" for whom Tevye's shtetl is "only a picture on Granny's wall," says Kaptan, whose contemporary images serve to heighten those of 1905. He emphasizes that "the story takes place in the beginning of the 20th century when the Jewish world stood at the crossroad between tradition and modernity, and we can't and don't want to get away from that." Based on Shalom Aleichem's (1859-1916) short story Tevye and His Daughters, the play follows the fortunes of Tevye the milkman, his wife and his five daughters in Anatevka, where Jews coexist uneasily with their Russian neighbors. Starting with Tevye's efforts to marry off Tzeitel (Tal Blankenstein) to Lazer Wolf the butcher (Itzik Cohen), the musical follows Tevye through the wedding, a progrom, heartbreak, and finally, expulsion. The Jerome Robbin's Broadway version of Fiddler on the Roof won nine Tonys, including Best Musical and ran for 10 years. In Israel, the impresario Giora Godik put on the musical in 1966 with Yosef (Bomba) Tzur as Tevye followed by Habimah great Shmuel Rodensky. Almagor's translation for that production has been updated for the present one. Their understudy was a 30-year-old actor called Haim Topol. He starred in the first London production, in the 1971 film and in the 1998 local revival. The current production, also a salute to Israel's 60th birthday, will run May 10-24, June 5-7, 9-16, and July 3-12.