Tag Archives: Tevye

From Tevye to Tintin

My daughter Lizabeth discovered, after heading to Times Square in New York to see the movie “Paranormal Activity 3” the night it opened, that there were no more tickets to be had.

It’s just as well from a mother’s perspective since there are plenty of other good films these days that won’t scare the bejeebers out of you — including the Julianne Hough dancefest called “Footloose,” a remake of the 1984 film that many of today’s parents enjoyed during their teens.

Also “Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness” — an intriguing documentary with special appeal for folks interested in the lives of writers, immigration history, modern Jewish identity or a work of musical theater called “Fiddler on the Roof.” 

Seems Aleihem is the writer behind the character we all know as “Tevye,” a man with several daughters who faced countless challenges to his fervent love of tradition.

Fans of Sesame Street should take note — next month’s Loft Film Fest in Tucson includes a screening of the film “Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey” — which offers a behind-the-scenes look at Sesame Street, the Jim Henson Workshop, and the work of puppeteer and father Kevin Clash.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part I” also opens next month, though it’ll be a bit easier to find — coming to not one Arizona theater but to nearly all of them. Fans of the “Twilight” series have long had the date Nov. 18 circled, in red, on their calendars.

Legendary storyteller and filmmaker Steven Spielberg, once a student at Arcadia High School in Phoenix, has two films being released this fall — the “The Adventures of Tintin” (coming Dec. 21) and “War Horse” (coming Dec. 25). Both promise to be visual feasts that bring some of the world’s best storytelling to life.

As we all gear up for the holiday season we allow so often to become all too hectic, we should remember the power of movies to deliver us from everyday worries, to create cherished memories with family and friends, and to inspire both dreams and wonder.

– Lynn

Note: Always consult movie websites to check film ratings and age recommendations before talking children to the movies.

Coming up: Spielberg tales

“Fiddler” & family

Jewish father and milkman Tevye likens the balancing act of life to a fiddler perched atop a roof (Photo: Carol Rosegg)

Most of my favorite musicals focus on family-related themes. There’s “Les Miserables” — which portrays a mother’s sacrifice for her sick child, “In the Heights” — which recounts the experience of immigrant parents who send their daughter to college, and “Fiddler on the Roof” — which follows the frustrations of parents whose three eldest daughters struggle to find independence in a world defined by tradition.

The touring production of “Fiddler on the Roof” is being performed through Sun, April 3, at ASU Gammage in Tempe — the venue at which I first enjoyed the musical with my husband and three children many years ago. For all the fun I’ve had at “mature-theme” musicals, this “family-friendly” show is still among my favorites.

Its characters, including Tevye (the papa) and Golda (the mama), are human in ways many parents find familiar. We wonder how to balance the past with the future. Ponder the meaning of family and home. Fret about fostering values without forcing them upon our children.

Tevye and his wife live in Tsarist Russia. The year is 1905, and the country is on the brink of revolution. They’ve got five daughters and little means. And the three eldest daughters are begining to develop, and act upon, their own ideas about life, love and the world around them.

The original production of “Fiddler on the Roof” opened on Broadway in 1964, and won nine of the 10 Tony Awards for which it was nominated in 1965 — including the award for best musical.

But its themes are every bit as relevant today. Think religious versus secular life. Economic hardship. Political upheaval. Think roles of women and men in society. Gossip. Keeping and breaking promises. Learning to start over.

"Fiddler on the Roof" runs through Sunday at ASU Gammage in Tempe (Photo: Carol Rosegg)

“Fiddler on the Roof” is a feast of music and dance, full of rich color and texture on all sorts of levels. It’s tender and joyous, playful and profound.

You can take it all in without any appreciation for its more serious themes. Or you can embrace it as a vehicle for bittersweet reflection on the many ways our personal, family and collective histories are moving forward.

In either case, it’s a classic musical that no parent should miss — and a fine choice for folks eager to introduce their children to the magic of musical theater.

– Lynn

Note: Tickets for “Fiddler on the Roof” at ASU Gammage start under $25. The show runs through April 3 and there are both matinee and evening performances on Saturday and Sunday. Visit the ASU Gammage website to read reviews by “Gammage Goers” and learn about special offers and opportunities (including a “talkback” with cast/crew and a special brunch at the ASU University Club).

Coming up: Get your fringe on!, Reflections on a glass house, Tips for choosing a college theater program

My fondness for “Fiddler”

Scene from "Fiddler on the Roof" (Photo: Joan Marcus)

Most folks know the musical “Fiddler on the Roof” thanks to songs like “If I Were a Rich Man” and “Tradition.”

It’s a lovely part of one of our own family traditions — enjoying touring Broadway productions, and other performing arts fare, at ASU Gammage in Tempe.

Often I take in shows with just my 17-year-old daughter, Lizabeth, herself a bit of a fiddler after a decade or so of violin study. She’s the family musical theater expert — and eagerly awaiting letters from the colleges where she recently completed B.F.A. auditions.

But seeing “Fiddler” at ASU Gammage — like “Phantom of the Opera” and “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” — has been a family affair.

The musical has plenty of elements that appeal to children — the rooftop fiddler, the sibling spats, the grandma “dream sequence,” the lively songs and dance sequences.

I first saw the show while parenting three young children, but this time around I’ll have the perspective of a mom with three grown children grappling with many of the issues treated in the show.

The longing to belong. The urge to break away. The pull of duty. The push of desire. The traditions shared by generations. The new paths forged by youth. The interplay of the personal with the political.

I confess to forging my own path with the song “If I Were a Rich Man” several years ago while performing with fellow parents at a talent show.

We were chaparoning a summer camp session of the Phoenix Girls Chorus, and changed up the words as an homage to artistic director Sue Marshall (who now heads the blossoming Arizona Girlchoir).

Thankfully, “If I Were Miss Sue” made its debut before the advent of YouTube and viral videos. Seems to me I did something similar with “Memory” (from the musical “Cats”) one year during a parent talent show at my children’s elementary school.

My favorite audio of the “Fiddler” variety is a recent interview with Harvey Fierstein that Lizabeth and I heard in the car one day — where we often listen to the SIRIUS XM “On Broadway” channel.

Fierstein has performed the lead role of Tevye (the father and milkman in this tale inspired by the stories of Sholom Aleichem), and eloquently shares the impact the show had on him as a young Jewish boy.

My “kids” may roll their eyes when the “Fiddler” song “Sunrise, Sunset” comes through the car radio speakers. But I know that one day, they’ll appreciate the lyrics to this and other “Fiddler” songs that capture the currents of change in family life and the world beyond.

– Lynn

Note: Watch the ASU Gammage website for the early March announcement of their 2011-2012 season — and head to ASU Gammage this week to enjoy the musical “9 to 5.”

Coming up: More musical theater with a family-friendly feel, Valley students present a series of one-act plays