There was a time when musicals were the highlight of Hollywood. When it came to many studios moving from stage productions to making cinematic films, they often found that the easiest way to do so was to bring a lot of the magic that worked so well on Broadway, but just make the sets, music and the choreographic dancing even more epic in scale. More than 50 years have passed since that musical heyday and even though great musicals still get made every now and again, the style of storytelling we get today is drastically different from then.
Still, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t space for some of those magical movies to be brought to life again. One of those iconic films that found both critical and commercial success was Fiddler On the Roof. First made famous in Broadway where it debuted in 1964 and went on to win several Tony Awards, the story was then adapted for film in 1971, where it became arguably even more popular and an instant success with audiences.
According to SlashFilm, MGM is looking to make a new version of the film with Thomas Kail directing and Steven Levenson writing the adapted script. Kail is perhaps most famous for working with Lin-Manuel Miranda on the stage musicals In the Heights and Hamilton, though has directed a few series for TV as well and so should be capable of adapting a story to the screen. What will be interesting though is how they choose to adapt the story and whether they give it a modern twist or follow its traditional past
Set in 1905, the story of Fiddler On the Roof revolves around a devoutly religious Jewish milkman named Tevye, who lives with his wife and five daughters in the small Russian village of Anatevka. As Tevye struggles to deal with his children’s wish to buck tradition with their choices in husbands, he and the rest of the town are increasingly threatened by the Tsar of Imperialist Russia. It was a culturally relevant story when it first came out, despite being set many years prior and it’s a history lesson that is perhaps a little less relevant given the changing politics in Russia. Still, I guess history is always a great reminder and after all, its many big musical numbers (like the classic “If I Was a Rich Man”, sampled by Gwen Stefani of all people) and great characters that made the story such a success in the first place. If this new production keeps those in place, it could still work well.
Last Updated: June 1, 2020