Fiddler on the RoofFiddler on the Roof was one of the last great stage and film musicals. With music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, and book by Joseph Stein, it opened on Broadway in 1964, with Zero Mostel in the leading role, that of Tevye the milkman. The role was later taken on stage, in both the USA and UK, by Chaim Topol, who made the part his own and played it in the successful 1971 film adaptation by Norman Jewison.
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The story is based on "Tevye and his Daughters" by Sholom Aleichem, and is set in the Jewish village of Anatevka in Tsarist Russia in 1905. It centres on Tevye's attempts to maintain family and religious traditions while adapting to new pressures. These manifest themselves chiefly in the strong-willed actions of Tevye's eldest three daughters, who all effectively select their own husbands, contrary to tradition. Eventually, a pogrom takes place and all the Jewish families are forced to leave Anatevka to find new homes in other countries.
The best-known songs from the tuneful but unconventional score are "If I Was A Rich Man" and "Sunrise, Sunset".