Fiddler on the Roof to get new film adaptation

Fiddler on the Roof TevyeMGM films is developing a new movie adaptation of the iconic stage musical Fiddler on the Roof and has enlisted Tony Award-winning director Thomas Kail (Hamilton, In the Heights) to direct it. 

According to a report by Deadline, Kail and Aaron Harnick will be producing the film while Steven Levenson (Dear Evan Hansen) will be writing the script based on the musical.

Fiddler on the Roof opened on Broadway in 1964 and featured music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, and a book by Joseph Stein. The production then won nine Tony Awards including best musical, book and score of a musical, director, and choreographer. It played more than 3000 performances and has since enjoyed many revivals.

The musical was based on “Tevye and his Daughters” (or “Tevye the Dairyman”) and other tales by Sholem Aleichem. The story focuses on a Jewish family in Tsarist Russia, led by patriarch Tevye (played by Zero Mostel in the original Broadway cast), a father to five daughters. As outside influences begin to shake things up in his community, Tevye struggles to hold on to his traditions while also learning to adapt to a changing world. 

The musical features iconic songs such as “Matchmaker, Matchmaker,” “If I Were a Rich Man,” “To Life,” “Tradition,” and “Sunrise, Sunset.”

In 1971, Fiddler on the Roof was adapted into a film directed by Norman Jewison. Chaim Topol, who originated the role of Tevye in the West End production, reprised his role for the film adaptation. It went on to win three Oscars out of the eight it was nominated for including Best Picture and Best Director.

Kail shared in a studio statement:

“It has been a life-long dream of mine to direct Fiddler, though I always imagined I would do it on stage. I am over-joyed to have the opportunity to make a new film version of my favorite show with Mike DeLuca at MGM, where so many transcendent musical movies have been made. I’m proud to partner with Dan Jinks, Aaron Harnick and my great pal, Steven Levenson, to honor this work that has profoundly inspired me and millions of others.”

Levenson added:

Fiddler On The Roof was the first piece of theater I saw, at the age of five. Today, more than fifty years after it changed the face of Broadway forever, the story of Tevye and his beloved village of Anatevka feels more timely than ever. I am beyond grateful to Mike DeLuca and MGM, Dan Jinks, and Aaron Harnick for the opportunity to tell this unforgettable story of resilience and hope in the face of hopelessness, and I am delighted to be collaborating again with the inimitable Tommy Kail.”

Harnick said:

Fiddler On The Roof belongs to the world. Creating a Fiddler for a new generation is thrilling and an incredible privilege.”

Watch this space for more updates on the Fiddler on the Roof remake.