For the first time ever in its 55-year history, the musically complete cast recording of “Fiddler on the Roof” will be released, including 11 songs in English that were cut from the original Broadway production in 1964. Available for streaming and download now via Time Life, the collection is also notable for its use of Yiddish lyrics, the authentic language of the play’s shtetl (village). Featuring the 2018 cast of the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene’s critically-acclaimed, award-winning and groundbreaking Yiddish production, “Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish: The 2018 Cast Recording” also includes new recordings of songs from the show but never made it into the 1964 Broadway production, sung by theatrical legends, stars and even original “Fiddler” lyricist Sheldon Harnick (all bonus tracks are in English). Since its debut in July 2018, “Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish” has won the 2019 Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Musical Revival; the Drama Desk Award for Best Musical Revival; a New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award Special Citation; and star Steven Skybell was the winner of the 2019 Lucille Lortel Award for Best Lead Actor.
“I am thrilled that this new production is now memorialized in this wonderful recording. When Zalmen Mlotek (NYTF Artistic Director) approached me, with my dear friend Hal Prince’s ringing endorsement,” says NYTF “Fiddler” director, Joel Grey, “with the suggestion that I should direct NYTF’s Yiddish version of ‘Fiddler,’ I was intrigued by the prospect of taking on a quintessential work of the American Broadway stage translated into its underlying language – the true language of Anatevka.” Joel not only agreed to direct the production, he also sings “When Messiah Comes” on the new cast album.
The album was produced by seven-time Grammy and Tony nominee Robert Sher (“Gypsy,” “Annie,” “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” “Fela!,” “Ain’t Misbehavin'” and more). “This is the first time that a ‘Fiddler’ cast album is musically complete,” explains Sher. “All of the dance music, entrance, exit and scene change music is in here. It’s never been done before in the show’s 55-year history and we really wanted to give the listener a full experience.”
Don Walker and Larry Blank provide orchestrations for the cast recording (and the stage production), which includes performances by the NYTF cast as well as 11 bonus tracks in English sung by (in order of appearance) Sharon Azrieli, Donna McKechnie, Nancy Opel, Alysha Umphress, Mimi Bessette, Lauren Molina, Richard Kind, Rosalind Harris, Alexandra Silber, Neva Small, Tam Mutu, Tom Wopat, Sheldon Harnick, Matthew Sklar, Joel Grey, Austin Pendleton, Joanna Merlin, Hal Linden and Shaina Taub. Particularly notable are two cast members from the 1971 film adaptation: Rosalind Harris (Tzeitel) and Neva Small (Chava), two who appeared in the original Broadway cast in 1964: Joanna Merlin, Austin Pendleton and “Fiddler” lyricist Sheldon Harnick. The new album gives them the opportunity to finally release these songs that were written for, but not included in, the original Broadway production 55 years ago.
“Fiddler on the Roof” first opened on Broadway on September 22, 1964, a musical that took audiences inside a Russian shtetl in 1905 during a period of great violence, oppression and expulsion. The play won nine Tony Awards during its eight-year run and has returned to Broadway five times since then while countless touring and regional productions have brought it to the world. In July 2018, the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene mounted the Yiddish production of “Fiddler” in New York City, directed by Broadway icon Joel Grey. The production (accompanied by English and Russian subtitles) has been extended multiple times and will run until January 5, 2020. “Fiddler on the Roof” features book by Joseph Stein, music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick and Yiddish translation by Shraga Friedman. The 2018 cast recording was produced in association with David Garfinkle, Marco Gomez, Marc David Levine, Neal Rubinstein, Jeff Beck, Corey and Jessica Brunish, Martin Feinberg, Marc Bell, Frank Piazza, Charles A. Martinez, Burt Fried and Ricky Romano. It was Executive Produced by National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene (former CEO of NYTF Chris Massimine, Artistic Director Zalmen Mlotek) and Associate Produced by Dan Moses Schrier, Jason Buell and David Hancock Turner. A complete cast list is available at fiddlernyc.com/#company
For current ticket availability, additional news and information about “Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish,” please visit nytf.org/fiddler-on-the-roof/.