Upon joining the Broadway producers’ ring, earning his first Tony Awards, and venturing into his dream job of directing, Harold Prince wasn’t even 10 years into his six-decade career.
We pick up our conversation about Broadway’s most influential creator with a deep dive into one of his most enduring musicals. With the unmistakably Prince trademark of a theme-based plot, our chosen deep dive is Fiddler on the Roof, the last musical of Broadway’s Golden Age. Host Sally Fuller is again joined by Laura Carman to discuss what makes a religious story about “a small town and their small issues” Broadway’s most internationally beloved musical.
Just a week and a half after this episode was recorded, the incredibly versatile Mrs. Carman gave birth to her first son, Vincent. Please enjoy this picture of him drawn by his father, artist Anderson Carman.
- Fiddler on the Roof rocks our socks off. We recommend listening to the Original Broadway cast recording, available anywhere you stream or buy music.
- You know what else rocks our socks off? Synchronicity Theatre. Check out their upcoming streaming events on SynchroTheatre.com.
- Our favs: Sheldon Harnick, Jerry Bock, Joseph Stein, The Little Mermaid, Sholem Alecheim, Jerome Robbins, Cameron Mackintosh, Boris Aronson, Zero Mostel, Nathan Lane, Fred Coe, Mark Chagall, The Sound of Music, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Bea Arthur, The Golden Girls, Mame, Angela Lansbury, House Unamerican Activities Committee (HUAC), Ratatouille, TikTok, Bridgerton.
- Special thanks to Peachy Corners Cafe, Crazy Love Coffeehouse, Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee, Ground & Pound Coffee, and Noble & Main for being the best editing offices.
- BGP would not be possible without behind-the-scenes team members Thomas Fuller and Elise Friderich.
- Golden Girls fans remember Beatrice “Bea” Arthur as the one-line-firing Dorothy on the hit show, but before she delivered the sass, she delivered the matches as Yente in the original Broadway cast of Fiddler on the Roof.
For the budding theatre fans
For the fangirls
We had to cut out our conversation about (Chaim) Topol, the famous Israeli actor who played Tevye in the movie and subsequently on the West End and Broadway. He was able to make a whole career out of this role alone because he starred in the movie when he was technically twenty years too young to be the milkman and did his last tour at twenty years too old. Watch his version of “If I Were a Rich Man” introduced by none other than Dame Julie Andrews.
For the die-hards
When I heard Harvey Fierstein had tackled the role of Tevye on Broadway in 2004, I had trouble picturing it. But here he is, Edna Turnblad herself, with that smoker-sounding voice.
In case you were wondering, Cameron Mackintosh was, in fact, alive when Fiddler on the Roof was on Broadway. He wasn’t exactly a baby, but he was 18.
Jo Swerling is not only co-credited with writing the Guys and Dolls script, but his contract also said his name should always be listed first before Abe Burrows. But the final script didn’t contain a single word of Swerling’s original book. Read more about that fascinating story (and see a rebuttal from Jo Swerling, Jr.) in the NYT here.
Because of Fiddler on the Roof, there is a common misconception that “Yente” is a Yiddish term for “matchmaker.” In fact, it’s just a woman’s name.
We ragged on Alan Menken and his lack of Emmy Awards, but actually he did recently win for a song from the Tangled series, “Waiting in the Wings.” So congrats on your EGOT, Alan!
How to Broadway Corner
This week we talked about who takes home the “Best Musical” statue at the Tony Awards. The answer has been different through the years, but as of now, the creative producers take home the statue and can claim a personal Tony win.
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