National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene

“Fiddler on the Roof”: The Surprising Journey of a Great American Musical

Steve Skybell & "Fiddler" experts Unpack Anatevka, Tradition, and Legacy.

Watch this video panel discussion from the Library of America featuring Steven Skybell, our Tevye, convening with Fiddler experts and alumni like Rosalind Harris (Tsaytl on Broadway and in the film), Laurence Maslon (writer of Broadway: The American Musical), and Michael Sragow (co-producer of recent documentary Fiddler’s Journey to the Big Screen). Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish changed our lives; discover how Fiddler changed theirs.

Please note that this is a pre-recorded panel discussion– the Q&A portion of the video is not live or interactive.

Steve Skybell speaks about his evolving relationship with Tevye. “He is not the top man on the totem pole,” he says, “but he is the nexus of the shtetl.”

He also shares a recorded performance of “Do You Love Me?” from the Yiddish production, accompanied by Jennifer Babiak (Golde). 

The conversation digs deep into the differences between the original Jerome Robbins stage production and Norman Jewison’s widely acclaimed film adaptation, as well as emphasizing the raw emotional power of Folksbiene’s Yiddish production. Skybell speaks about performing Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish during the 2018 Tree of Life synagogue shooting and of Tevye’s desire to spend as much time as possible in shul. 

Watch for great anecdotes on Zero Mostel, Topol, filming in Ukraine, recreating the historical conditions of the shtetl onstage and onscreen, and more. 

If you don’t already love Fiddler (how could you not?), you will definitely leave the conversation with a newfound appreciation for this very special musical. 

Moderator: Laurence Maslon

Panelists: Rosalind Harris, Steven Skybell, and Michael Sragow

Library of America partners: Mark Krueger Charitable Trust, Susan and Elihu Rose Foundation, Roger Berlind, Peter J. Sharp Foundation, Cole Porter Musical & Literary Trust, and Mary Rogers Guettel