I hadn’t planned on seeing FIDDLER ON THE ROOF in Yiddish. I know very little Yiddish other than words and phrases I picked up from my parents and grandmothers and I’d seen the show in English 4 times from 1964 with my parents and Zero Mostel to 2016 with my husband and Danny Burstein.
I went on the recommendation of my new friend, Ilene, whose opinions I value. I loved it. Loved Steven Skybell as Tevye, the fiddler, a woman who stood not on anything resembling a roof, but on old wooden chairs like the kind Housing Works Thrift Shop rejects, the simplicity of the staging, the familiarity of the work and the score. Oh, the score.
All day long I’d biddy-biddy-bum…
But I missed the horse that pulled Tevye’s milk cart and his parting words as he pats him in the barn upon leaving Anatevka, “Thank you for everything.”
I felt my parents’ presence. I invariably do at the theater. They took me to many plays beginning in 1957 with THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK at the Cort Theatre on my first NYC trip. I was hooked.
Opera and tenors did not figure into my childhood. When my mother put on her MADAME BUTTERFLY LP and disappear into the kitchen to sort of cook, my father, mumbling something about Renata Tabaldi’s screeching, picked up the needle to silence it, replacing it with MY FAIR LADY, OKLAHOMA, or nothing.
I found Andrea Bocelli on my own. The other night, Jonathan took me, as part of my birthday present, to the Bocelli concert. Angels wept.
Last week on what would have been my father’s 110th birthday, we saw Mike Birbiglia’s THE NEW ONE. Funny and poignant on his illnesses, doctors, sofa, marriage, the differences between men and women, sex, and his journey to fatherhood, he hit the right notes.
We sat in the fourth row at the Cort Theatre. Two rows behind where it began for me at age 10.
One season following another Laden with happiness and tears