Fiddler will close Muny’s 90th season

Fiddler

on the Roof , the historically successful 1964 Broadway play about the struggles of Tevye the Dairyman in the 1905 Jewish shtetl of Anatevka,Russia will take center stage for the ninth time at The Muny in Forest Park as the closing show for its 90th season. The show will be presented from Aug. 4-10.

Actor Lewis J. Stadlen, who starred in The Producers when it opened the Muny’s current 90th season, will star as Tevye, the hardworking dairyman of the shtetl who must come to terms with the march of modernism throgh the experiences of his five daughters.

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The Muny stage has weclomed several other major actors in the role of Tevye, including Zero Mostel, perhaps the most famous of them all, Theodore Bikel and Chaim Topol, who played Tevye in the 1971 film version directed by Norman Jewison.

The Muny first presented Fiddler on the Roof for a two-week run in 1970, six years after its triumphant opening on Broadway. The show graced the huge Muny stage again in 1973, 1976, 1982, 1987, 1993, 1998, and 2003, making it one of the most popular and frequently performed shows in the Muny’s nine-decade history. A poignant local footnote to the upcoming Muny production of Fiddler , is the recent passing away of St. Louis entertainer Mickey Brandon, who played Tevye so often in local shows and sang so many songs from the show, that he became known as “St. Louis’s own Tevye.” Mark Richman, also a St. Louis singer and entertainer and a longtime friend of Mickey Brandon’s said, “I’m really sad that Mickey for the first time ever will not be with us for a Muny production of Fiddler , but I am absolutely sure that he will be there with us in spirit.” And for The Muny’s latest incarnation of the larger-than-life and ever-popular Tevye, Lewis J. Stadlen, who starred as Max Bialystock in the opening show, The Producers, will bookend the season in the lead in Fiddler on the Roof . Ironically, Zero Mostel played Max in the original 1968 movie version.

Born in Brooklyn in 1947, Stadlen made his Broadway debut as Groucho Marx in the musical comedy Minnie’s Boys in 1970. He has also apppeared on stage in 45 Seconds From Broadway, The Man Who Came to Dinner, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (an early Zero Mostel part), The Odd Couple and The Sunshine Boys. His performance in The Muny’s production of Mel Brooks’s The Producers received critical acclaim and popular audience response.

His film credits include Portnoy’s Complaint, Serpico, The Verdeict, To Be or Not to Be and In & Out. On TV, he had a regular role in the first season of Benson, and hjas also appeared in Law & Order and The Sopranos.

And so, for the ninth time, The Muny in Forest Park will bring back the remarkable, historically significant and still highly entertaining Fiddler on the Roof . Why so many times? One might say that it has become a Tradition!

( Fiddler on the Roof will appear at The Muny in Forest Park, Aug. 4-10. Single tickets are available at The Muny Box Office in Forest Park. For more information, call 314-361-1900, or visit www.muny.org).