If there were any doubt that an actual stage production inspires performers on cast albums in a way that people assembled only for a recording session of a show's score are not, it is dispelled by this studio cast album of Fiddler on the Roof. The big draw here is stage and screen veteran Anthony Newley, in his mid-sixties and making one of the last recorded appearances of his life, as Tevye, the Jewish milkman with five daughters, living in turn-of-the-20th-century Russia. He is joined by Linda Hibberd as Golde, Tevye's wife; Tracey Miller and Marion Davies (not the American actress of the same name and an earlier era, of course) as two of those daughters; and Nick Curtis as Motel, one of Tevye's sons-in-law. (Miller doubles as Grandma Tzeitel in "Tevye's Dream.") Newley sounds his age and then some, giving his portrayal none of the humor of Zero Mostel or the gravity of Topol, to name the two most famous Tevyes. Instead, he intones solemnly in his vibrato-laden voice, rarely rousing himself to any sort of enthusiasm. Hibberd sings well, but makes little effort at characterization. Miller, Davies, and Curtis are equally restrained. This is a perfunctory reading of the score of Fiddler on the Roof that does not remotely compare to the original Broadway cast recording or the movie soundtrack. It will be of interest chiefly to Fiddler on the Roof and Newley completists.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann