We saw the musical Fiddler on the Roof at the Broadway Theatre in NYC.
I went to New York City for my Masterpieces of Drama Class. It was a rainy day. It was an amazing experience. I had an great time in the city. I did manage to swing by the Richard Rogers Theater where Hamilton is performed, which I still want to see very badly.
Fiddler on the Roof – is a musical with music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, and book by Joseph Stein, set in the Pale of Settlement of Imperial Russia in 1905. It is based on Tevye and his Daughters (or Tevye the Dairyman) and other tales by Sholem Aleichem. The story centers on Tevye, the father of five daughters, and his attempts to maintain his Jewish religious and cultural traditions as outside influences encroach upon the family’s lives. He must cope both with the strong-willed actions of his three older daughters, who wish to marry for love – each one’s choice of a husband moves further away from the customs of his faith – and with the edict of the Tsar that evicts the Jews from their village.
The original Broadway production of the show, which opened in 1964, had the first musical theatre run in history to surpass 3,000 performances. Fiddler held the record for the longest-running Broadway musical for almost 10 years until Grease surpassed its run. It remains Broadway’s sixteenth longest-running show in history. The production was extraordinarily profitable and highly acclaimed. It won nine Tony Awards, including Best Musical, score, book, direction and choreography. It spawned five Broadway revivals and a highly successful 1971 film adaptation, and the show has enjoyed enduring international popularity. It is also a very popular choice for school and community productions.
This mesmerizing Phantom is traditional musical theater in the finest sense. The Tony award winning authors of Nine have transformed Gaston Leroux’ The Phantom of the Opera into a sensation that enraptures audiences and critics with beautiful songs and an expertly crafted book. It is constructed around characters more richly developed than in any other version, including the original novel.
Plot – The story begins at the time of the first meeting of Erik (the Phantom) and a street singer named Christine. Erik was born and raised in the catacombs under the Paris Opera House and needs beautiful music – he cannot exist without it. Complications arise when Gérard Carrière, the company manager, loses his position as head of the Opera house and therefore cannot protect Erik any longer. Furthermore, Carlotta, the new diva and wife of the new owner of the Opera, has such a terrible voice that the Phantom is in torment. His salvation must eventually come through Christine, whose voice is so beautiful that he falls in love with her. He accepts Christine as his pupil, training her for the opera, but forbids her to see his face. Erik’s rival for Christine’s affection is Count Philippe de Chandon, whose influence helps Christine get a minor job with the Paris Opera, but it is Erik’s training that helps her earn a place as a member of the company. When Carlotta’s jealous machinations ruin Christine’s debut, Erik spirits Christine to his underground lair and later takes a terrible revenge by electrocuting Carlotta.
Carrière finds Christine and reveals an amazing secret: he is actually Erik’s father. Emboldened by this revelation, Christine begs Erik to let her see his face, since his mother was able to look at him and smile. Reluctantly, he removes his mask (although the audience never sees his face), but Christine doesn’t have the same fortitude and recoils in horror, causing Erik to go on a destructive rampage. Carrière helps the guilt-stricken Christine to escape, and later he returns to tell Erik the truth about their relationship. However, Erik has known all along that Carrière is his father and has only waited for Carrière to corroborate the fact. Erik fears that he will be captured and treated like a circus freak because of his horrendous face, but Carrière promises Erik that he will never be put on display. The police surround him, and Erik makes a failed attempt to swing to safety on a rope. With Erik dangling helplessly, the chief of police tells his men not to shoot because they “can take him alive!” Erik shouts out to his father for help. Carrière understands; he grabs a policeman’s gun and aims at his son. Reluctantly, he fires, and the Phantom falls. Fatally wounded, Erik allows Christine to remove his mask. She now smiles and tells him “You are music, beautiful music, and you are light to me … you are life to me,” and replaces the mask as he dies.