Monday, January 13, 2014

Book Review - Wonder of Wonders: A Cultural History of Fiddler on the Roof

Hardcover: 448 pages
Publisher: Metropolitan Books; 1 edition (October 22, 2013)

Alisa Solomon gives us Wonder of Wonders: A Cultural History of Fiddler on the Roof.  This is a book that fans of the stage and film musical will certainly enjoy.  It goes hand in hand with the recently published biography of Sholem Aleichem.

The drama critic traces Fiddler back to its days as a 1905 Yiddish story through the days of its inception as a Broadway musical and a Hollywood blockbuster hit.

Fiddler is a cultural landmark.  It's frequently performed in high schools and rented by many today.

The songs are familiar to many, whether it's the opening to "Tradition" or the chorus of "If I Were a Rich Man."  People identify with Tevye's desire to maintain his faith and family in a changing world.

Solomon's book is the first such critical analysis of the iconic cultural status.  She explores how and why Fiddler was reborn as blockbuster entertainment and a culture touchstone--not only for Jews and Americans.

It's expansive, delightful, original as it reveals the surprising and enduring legacy.

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