Fiddler on the Roof Essay

Joseph Stein
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While finding the show "endearing—worthy of affection," Clurman ultimately finds Stein's Fiddler on the Roof to be less than great theatre.

After seeing Fiddler on the Roof (based on some Yiddish short stories; book by Joseph Stein, music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick) numerous members of the audience confessed (or proclaimed) that they shed tears of compassion and gratitude; others have asserted that their hearts swelled in elation, while still others were convulsed with laughter. My own reception of the show was cool.

I too found it endearing—worthy of the affection the enthusiasts had manifested. Yet thinking of it in its detail, the text lacked the full savor of its sources; the music simply followed a pattern of suitable folk melodies without adding, or being equal, to them; Jerome Robbins' choreography, though correct in its method, was not—except for two instances—as brilliant...

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This section contains 1,286 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Fiddler on the Roof Study Guide
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Fiddler on the Roof from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.