Alfred Molina

Fiddler on the Roof [2004 Broadway Revival Cast]

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Fiddler on the Roof [2004 Broadway Revival Cast] Review

by William Ruhlmann

Director David Leveaux, in his liner notes to this, the cast album for the 2004 Broadway revival of Fiddler on the Roof, speaks of the necessity of revisiting the show 40 years after its inaugural production "as if we were staging" it "for the first time," rather than just trying to replicate the earlier triumph. It's a noble ambition and calls to mind previous attempts to re-imagine classic musicals, especially by British directors, such as Nicholas Hytner's celebrated hard-edged interpretation of Carousel in the early '90s. Fiddler on the Roof seems ripe for a similar approach that would strip it of its sentimentality and focus on the breakdown of Jewish culture in the face of modern secularism and the genocidal tendencies of the Russians who persecute the Jews in the story. The casting of British actor Alfred Molina, who is not known for musicals, in the lead role of Tevye, might have contributed to such an interpretation. In practice, however, Leveaux's Fiddler was greeted as a misstep, and in large part due to Molina. As heard here, he adopts an American accent and largely disappears into the story, giving nothing like the outsize performance of such predecessors as Zero Mostel. This choice is typical of a production that seems to withdraw from the ethnicity of the show in the name of making it seem more realistic, a choice that made many audience members complain it was "not Jewish enough." On disc, it simply isn't distinctive enough to compete with the original Broadway cast album of 1964, to which it inevitably must be compared. It may be, as a press release claims, "the most complete version of Fiddler available on CD," with a running time in excess of 72 minutes, and it boasts a newly written, if unnecessary, song, "Topsy-Turvy" (ably sung by Nancy Opel in the character of Yente, the Matchmaker), that marks a reunion for composer Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick. But those are its chief attributes, which will appeal to completists. Fiddler on the Roof deserves to be reinterpreted some day; this version is not the reinterpretation it needs.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Fiddler on the Roof, musical
1 Alfred Molina 07:33 Amazon
2 Alfred Molina feat: Laura Michelle Kelly / Lea Michele / Sally Murphy / Nancy Opel / Tricia Paoluccio 04:21 Amazon
3 Alfred Molina 05:13 Amazon
4 Alfred Molina feat: Randy Graff 02:47 Amazon
5 Alfred Molina feat: David Ayers / David Wohl 04:20 Amazon
6 Alfred Molina feat: David Wohl 01:53 Amazon
7 Alfred Molina feat: John Cariani / Sally Murphy 03:08 Amazon
8 Alfred Molina feat: John Cariani 02:14 Amazon
9 Alfred Molina 06:30 Amazon
10 Alfred Molina feat: The Orchestra 00:59 Amazon
11 Alfred Molina feat: Randy Graff 03:31 Amazon
12 Alfred Molina 04:13 Amazon
13 Alfred Molina feat: Laura Michelle Kelly / Robert Petkoff 02:09 Amazon
14 Alfred Molina feat: Laura Michelle Kelly / Robert Petkoff 00:49 Amazon
15 Alfred Molina feat: Laura Michelle Kelly / Robert Petkoff 02:52 Amazon
16 Alfred Molina feat: Randy Graff 03:19 Amazon
17 Alfred Molina feat: Joy Hermalyn / Nancy Opel / Marsha Waterbury 03:23 Amazon
18 Alfred Molina feat: Laura Michelle Kelly 03:57 Amazon
19 Alfred Molina feat: Tricia Paoluccio 03:25 Amazon
20 Alfred Molina 02:43 Amazon
21 Alfred Molina feat: John Cariani / Molly Ephraim / Randy Graff / Lea Michele / Sally Murphy 02:51 Amazon
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