A YIDDISH “FIDDLER”

June 12, 2018 at 5:15 am

Joel Grey’s new production of “Fiddler On The Roof” takes us back to the Shtetl and is performed entirely in Yiddish. The Tony & Grammy Award-winner is here with a preview.

For tickets please visit http://www.nytf.org/

Aired on June 11, 2018. 

 

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>>> IN THE MORE THAN FIVE
DECADES SINCE ITS BROADWAY
PREMIERE, "DID FIDDLER ON THE
ROOF" CELEBRATED THE
QUINTESSENTIAL JEWISH NAMED IN
THEATER AND ONE COULD ARGUE
MIGHT AS WELL BE PERFORMED IN
YIDDISH.
NOW IT WILL BE.
THE NATIONAL YIDDISH THEATER A
NEW YORK-BASED ORGANIZATION WITH
AN OVER 100-YEAR HISTORY IS
BRINGING THE PRODUCTION TO LIFE
AT THE MUSEUM OF JEWISH HERITAGE
RIGHT HERE IN MANHATTAN ONING
FROM JULY 4th TO AUGUST 26th,
THIS RICH YIDDISH TRANSLATION IS
EXPECTED TO ADD DEPTH AND
DIMENSION TO THE MOST WELL-KNOWN
JEWISH MUSICAL IN THE WORLD.
BUT WHO THEN WILL BE THE MAN TO
LEAD THE PRODUCTION?
THE ANSWER --
ACADEMY AND TONY AWARD WINNER
JOEL GREY, A LONGTIME BROADWAY
LUMINARY BEST KNOWN PERHAPS
AMONG OTHER WONDERFUL ROLES AT
THE EMCEE IN "CABARET".
>> YOU MEAN THE NAZI?
>> THAT ONE.
DIRECTING THIS UNIQUE AND
HISTORICAL PERFORMANCE OF
"FIDDLER ON THE ROOF" AND WE'RE
DELIGHTED TO HAVE YOU HERE.
>> SO NICE TO BE HERE.
THANK YOU.
>> WHEN YOU LOOK AT THIS, WE
TALKED A LITTLE BEFOREHAND, AND
I'LL COME BACK IN A SECOND TO
THE NOTION OF THE IDEA AND
MECHANICS OF DOING THIS, BUT YOU
ALMOST SAY TO YOURSELF, WHY DID
IT TAKE SO LONG?
WHAT DO YOU THINK THE ANSWER IS?
SEEMS, YOU SAID IT TO ME BEFORE,
SEEMS SO NATURAL?
>> I THINK ANTI-SEMITISM IS
PROBABLY --
>> YOU THINK SO?
>> AT THE FOREFRONT.
>> YEAH?
>> YIDDISH AND JEWISH THEMES ARE
IFFY.
AND IN TERMS OF HISTORY AS WE
WELL KNOW, AND THIS WONDERFUL,
PERFECT MUSICAL, "FIDDLER ON THE
ROOF" IT WAS SO SHOCKING THAT IT
WAS EVEN IN ENGLISH, BUT ABOUT
JEWISH ISSUES, AND THE ISSUES OF
ANTI-SEMITISM AND, BUT TODAY
IMMIGRATION BEING PUSHED OUT.
NOT HAVING A PLACE.
THAT'S WHAT THIS ADDRESSES IN
OUR MOMENT.
>> WE TALK ABOUT HOW DECADES OLD
THIS IS, YET THESE ISSUES THAT
ARE ESSENTIALLY BOILING
THROUGHOUT THIS ARE STILL THERE?
>> YES, THEY ARE.
>> STILL THERE.
>> AND SOMEHOW I BELIEVE -- I
MEAN, I, MYSELF, DON'T SPEAK
YIDDISH.
I DON'T -- I SORT OF UNDERSTAND
ENOUGH, BUT I KNOW THIS PLAY
BACKWARDS AND FORWARDS, AND
IT'S -- IT'S A PERFECT PIECE
OF -- OF MUSICAL THEATER.
>> WHAT DID YOU THINK?
I'M ALWAYS CURIOUS WITH PEOPLE
WHO HAVE DONE AS MUCH AND HAVE
BEEN SO CELEBRATED, AS YOURSELF.
WHEN SOMEONE COMES TO YOU WITH A
NEW PROJECT, WHAT IS YOUR
REACTION?
SOMEONE CAME TO YOU SAID, JOEL,
HERE'S WHAT WE'RE THINKING OF.
"FIDDLER ON THE ROOF" YOU SAID A
FORGET MUSICAL.
WE WANT DO IT IN YIDDISH.
>> FOR THE FIRST TIME.
>> FIRST TIME N. 50 YEARS.
>> WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST REACTION
TO IT?
>> THAT SOUNDS INTERESTING.
WOW.
THAT'S WHAT I THOUGHT.
>> RIGHT.
>> AND -- HOW PRINCE HAD
RECOMMENDED ME FOR THE -- THE
ASSIGNMENT, AND I -- I HEARD
"TRADITION."
THE OPENING SONG, IN YIDDISH.
AND "IF I WERE A RICH MAN,"
WHICH IN YIDDISH IS, IF I WERE A
ROTH SHIELD.
>> I SAW THAT.
AND I THOUGHT THAT WAS
FASCINATING.
>> YEAH.
>> AND --
>> AS GOODI GOT INTO IT I REALI
THAT HEARING THAT LANGUAGE, AND
THERE'S GOING TO BE SUPER
TITLES.
>> UH-HUH.
>> VERY IMPORTANT.
>> I WAS GOING TO ASK YOU THAT.
>> FOR EVEN JEWISH PEOPLE.
>> OKAY.
>> BUT THE, THE FACT THAT THIS
HAS PLAYED ALL OVER THE WORLD
AND BEEN TRANSLATED INTO EVERY
LANGUAGE.
>> THESE -- THESE -- THE SONGS
IN HERE ARE SO WELL KNOWN IT
ALMOST MIGHT BE INCIDENTAL.
>> YES, WHAT I THINK.
>> THAT IT'S A DIFFERENT
LANGUAGE.
>> UH-HUH.
>> THAT'S HERE.
WHAT IS IT YOU WANT FOR THE --
THE PEOPLE THAT COME TO SEE
THIS?
>> YOU KNOW, WE'RE OFTENTIMES,
WE SAY, WHAT'S THE MESSAGE?
WHAT'S THE TAKEAWAY?
WHAT DO YOU WANT THEM TO WALK
OUT OF THE THEATER AND -- AND
SAY TO THEMSELVES ABOUT THE
EXPERIENCE THAT THEY JUST HAD?
>> THESE STORIES OF FATHERS AND
DAUGHTERS AND CHILDREN AND --
AND BEING EXPELLED AND BEING
PAGRUMS AND KICKING YOU OUT
AND -- YOU KNOW, MY GRANDPARENTS
CAME FROM RUSSIA, AND MY
GRANDMOTHER WAS 16.
SHE CAME BY HERSELF ON THE BOAT.
I MEAN, AND THOSE STORIES ARE --
JUST EVERYWHERE.
THE -- THE TERROR OF LEAVING AND
THE POSSIBILITY OF GOING TO A
PLACE WHERE YOU HAVE NO IDEA
WHEN YOU'RE VERY YOUNG, OR OLD,
AND SOME FRIEND OF MINE WROTE TO
ME.
HE SAID, IT'S REALLY GOOD.
IT'S SORT OF FIDDISH.
>> I CAN SEE THAT ON THE
T-SHIRT.
>> HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE FIDDISH?
>> ON THE T-SHIRT OR THEATER FOR
SALE.
JOEL, SUCH A -- A DELIGHT TO GET
TO MEET YOU AND CHAT WITH YOU
HERE.
I SO ENJOYED OUR CONVERSATION
AND I THINK THAT THE SHOW IS
GOING TO BE FABULOUS.
>> YEAH.
YOU COME SEE.
>> I WILL INDEED.
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SPENDING
TIME WITH US.
>> PLEASURE.
>>> REMINDER FOR FOLKS OUT
THERE, IF YOU'D LIKES TO GET
TICKETS, VISIT METROFOCUS.ORG
FOR MORE DETAILS.