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A Pox on Anatevka: Covid Stops ‘Fiddler’
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A Pox on Anatevka: Covid Stops ‘Fiddler’

The National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene’s Yiddish-language version of “Fiddler on the Roof” debuted in 2018.  Anat Gerstein Inc.
The National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene’s Yiddish-language version of “Fiddler on the Roof” debuted in 2018. Anat Gerstein Inc.

The coronavirus pandemic has done something that no war, natural disaster or other calamity has been able to do for more than 50 years: It’s put a stop to stage performances of “Fiddler on the Roof.”

“We have always said that based on its popularity and its universal appeal, ‘Fiddler’ has a performance every day somewhere in the world,” said John Prignano, chief operating officer for Music Theatre International, the rights holder for “Fiddler.” Unfortunately, we “understand that there are no performances anywhere in the world at the moment.”

That may a bit of exaggeration, but the show has remarkable legs: Since it opened on Broadway on Sept. 22, 1964, the story of Tevye and his daughters has been a staple of schools and theaters from Asia to Central America. The most recent North American tour of “Fiddler” was halted on March 13, a day before Broadway went dark. A planned three-city tour of China by the National Yiddish Theater Folksbiene’s all-Yiddish version, which had been scheduled for April and May, also was called off. So were numerous other professional and amateur productions around the world, as in-person shows have been wiped out by social distancing guidelines.

On the other hand, MGM will produce a new movie based on the musical, according to Deadline. Thomas Kail, of “Hamilton,” will direct; Steven Levenson, who wrote the acclaimed musical “Dear Evan Hansen,” will pen the screenplay.

JTA

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