‘Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles’ Review: Inside a Broadway … Tradition!

‘Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles’ Review: Inside a Broadway … Tradition!

Before “Fiddler on the Roof” became a Broadway classic and cultural touchstone, it was just a pretty bad idea. Who wants to see a musical about a Russian milkman marrying off his daughters before a pogrom?

One of the many virtues of the celebratory documentary “Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles” is how it transports you to this early, nerve-racking gestation period. You hear a recording of the composer Jerry Bock telling the lyricist Sheldon Harnick about a new song he wrote, introducing it, as “ersatz Hasidic” and “bubbly and spirited and kind of kooky.” After a bashful chuckle, he plays the now-famous opening notes of “If I Were a Rich Man.” Juxtaposing this insecure-sounding pitch with the dizzying array of versions of this song presented all over the world is breathtaking.

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