Revisiting Fiddler on the Roof

My family and I recently saw a live performance of Fiddler on the Roof. It was my daughter’s first time seeing the play and as we discussed it afterwards, I marveled at how my perspective of the show has changed over the years.

I first saw Fiddler in the 1970’s when I was a young girl. I always identified with Tevye’s daughters and their hopes and fears as they dealt with their roles in their traditional village and the changes overtaking their world.

Upon seeing the play again, as the mother of a twenty year old, I discovered that my perspective had shifted. When as a girl I could not understand Golde’s preoccupation with planning her daughters’ futures, as an adult I now saw her point of view. It’s not the “can my daughter make a good match” aspect of Golde that I mean; it’s the concern over the future of a beloved child.

When I was younger I watched as Hodel, the second daughter, boarded the train for Siberia so she could be with the man she loved, and I saw nothing but the romance and the adventure. Now as a parent watching that scene, I cringed at the thought of sending a child off to a far away place, perhaps never to see her again.

And the songs! My sisters and I would often sing the Matchmaker song. Now, as I watched the play, it was Do You Love Me that held my attention and Sunrise, Sunset that brought tears to my eyes.

My daughter was enthusiastic about the show and wanted to see the movie to compare it to the stage production. She borrowed the DVD from the library, along with the Broadway soundtrack.

We spent an enjoyable evening later that week watching the film version and had an animated discussion about Tevye’s daughters and the choices each made. I watched my daughter as she focused on Tevye’s daughters and thought of a stanza from Sunrise, Sunset. Swiftly fly the years…


If you would like to revisit Fiddler on the Roof or perhaps see it for the first time, you can find the movie, soundtrack, and the musical score all at the library.

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