“Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles is the first in-depth documentary film that chronicles the life and themes of this iconic offering of American culture. The goal of our documentary is to understand why the story of Tevye the milkman is reborn again and again as beloved entertainment and cultural touchstone the world over.
Opening in 1964, Fiddler on the Roof held the record for the longest running musical for almost 10 years, won nine Tony Awards, and spawned five Broadway revivals. The show is still performed more than any other show, from middle schools in inner cities to high schools in rural America, around the world from grand state theaters in Japan and Vienna to Johannesburg and Mexico City.
And yet, on the face of it, Fiddler on The Roof is an unlikely work to have captured the imagination of so many people. It was the first major musical on the American stage to feature not one American character, and it tells of the trials and tribulations of a venerated Jewish milkman named Tevye, trying to eke out a living in a small Jewish shtetl in the Pale of Settlement in Czarist Russia.
The show appeared on the cultural landscape at a time when America was still mourning for JFK, when the Vietnam War was beginning to haunt the American psyche, and America and the rest of the world were on the verge of a massive counter-cultural revolution. Amidst all of this change, a new type of music—rock and roll—was gathering steam. And yet Fiddler on the Roof opened to massive audiences, with tickets as hard to obtain as Hamilton tickets are today. And it has remained beloved and relevant to this day. Why? How did this come to be?” (Directors Statement)
Director Max Lewkowicz’s Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles tries to answer these questions. His documentary explores a variety of international productions of the show and features archival footage of original director-choreographer Jerome Robbins and star Zero Mostel. It also includes interviews with Harold Prince, Jerry Bock, Chaim Topol, Harvey Fierstein, Fran Lebowitz, Calvin Trillin, Nathan Englander, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Joel Grey and more as they look at why the story of Tevye the milkman and his family resonates with audiences past and present.
“An exhaustive, emotional testament to the musical’s staying power as popular entertainment and its extraordinary thematic reach.” (David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter)