Fiddler on the Roof

by Jerry Bock

Book, 2004



Call number

185 STE



New York : Limelight Editions, 2004.


(Limelight). The full text and complete lyrics, as well as photographs from the original production. "One of the great works of the American musical theatre. It is darling, touching, beautiful, warm, funny and inspiring. It is a work of art." John Chapman, Daily News

User reviews

LibraryThing member ecataldi
Reading this made me want to watch the movie so bad! This book is the complete script for the original musical, it's awesome. I found myself humming along to the songs while I was reading. Reading the script made me appreciate how brilliant this musical really is. It's timely and continues to speak
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to people. The human drama and raw emotion shown in the dialogue and songs are still prevalent today nearly fifty years after it debuted on Broadway. Full of historical drama, Jewish identity, tradition, and love this tale will continue to last for many decades more.

For fans of the original musical, American theater, and Jewish history.

I received this book for free from Blogging for Books in return for my honest, unbiased opinion.
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LibraryThing member swensonj
I received Fiddler on the Roof through the LibraryThing Early Reviewer program.

This is the complete libretto of the famous musical, together with the lyrics of the hilarious and heartbreaking songs. It is not a volume of sheet music -- just the beautiful story of Tevye, the traditions he agrees to
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sacrifice for love of his daughters, and the one compromise he is unable to accept.

This is a truly great work, saturated with dark humor and with love. I hope, since I've made that point, it is also OK for me to mention how much I enjoyed reading, in black and white,

If I were a rich man
Daidle deedle daidle
Digguh digguh deedle daidle dum,
All day long I'd biddy biddy bum,
If I were a wealthy man.

Wouldn't have to work hard,
Daidle deedle daidle
Digguh digguh deedle daidle dum,
If I were a biddy biddy rich
Digguh digguh deedle daidle man. (p. 27)
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LibraryThing member AnnieMNH
I received my copy of Fiddler on the Roof from Library Thing's Early Reviewers selections. This is a beautiful hard cover copy of the complete text with lyrics. Released just in time for the 50th anniversary. Wonderful addition to the home (or any) library, especially for fans of the musical!
LibraryThing member antmusic
A perfect script. Also reviewed on Amazon with a little more information.
All the words of the play and songs are here. There is NO sheet music though, just the script and lyrics.

This release coincides with the 50th anniversary of the Broadway premier.

As an extra, the original September 22, 1964
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cast that performed the play presented by Harold Prince at the Imperial Theatre in New York City is in listed in here.
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LibraryThing member kimsbooks
Though I grew up seeing Broadway shows, this one precedes me; I've seen the wonderful movie and look forward to seeing how close the two versions were to one another. As stories go there are few that "translate" across geography, culture, and time than a proud man struggling to adapt to the changes
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he sees at every turn.
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LibraryThing member bookworm12
In honor of the 50th Anniversary of one of the most beloved musicals of all time, a new edition of the original play has been released. Tevye is a kind man, but also one who's used to the world running in a very specific way. He is a Jew living in Russia in the early 1900s with his wife and five
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daughters. They live a simple life together and he holds the traditions of his people in high regard.

Each of his daughters is trying to find their way in the world and to begin to make decisions about their life and fall in love. Tevye's decisions and beliefs are put to the test when he must decide which is more dear to him, his family's happiness or his traditions.

I believe the reason this play is still so relevant today is because of the message of the story at its core. Despite the humor and the setting, the real story is about one man trying to understand the world as he watches it change around him. Whether it's Jewish people in 1905 Russia or hippies in the 1970s or millennials and their intrusive technology, children will always challenge and question the world in which they are raised. The author created relatable characters, full of humor and warmth. They all just want to be loved in their own way, despite the world changing around them.

BOTTOM LINE: See the musical if you get the chance so you can enjoy the full experience of the songs that have become so famous (Tradition, If I Were a Rich Man, Matchmaker, Matchmaker.) But regardless of whether you have a chance to see the show, the story told in the original play stands on its own as a timeless tales of humanity struggle to adapt to an ever-changing world.

**I received a review copy for an honest review.
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LibraryThing member DarthDeverell
Joseph Stein’s Fiddler on the Roof is one of the longest-running Broadway musicals (winning a Special Tony Award for this in 1972), won 9 Tony Awards in 1965, and has seen numerous revivals over the years. Sadly, I have not seen the play on the stage and so my review can only address this
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fiftieth anniversary edition. The story follows Tevye, a dairyman, and his wife as three of their five daughters get married against the backdrop of Tsarist Russia in 1905. The titular Fiddler on the Roof is explained in the prologue to Act One to represent the uneven balance of a life without tradition. As the story progresses, Teyve’s three eldest daughters each marry for love rather than accept a marriage arranged through a matchmaker and agreed upon by their father and potential husband. One of the daughters even marries a Russian man outside of the Jewish faith. The village elders are at first frightened by this flaunting of tradition, but begin to see that the world is changing. Through his use of humor and wit, Stein tells a story that could take place in nearly any traditional community. The fiftieth anniversary edition of the book is quite lovely, though such an auspicious edition could benefit from the inclusion of more history about the play itself. Additionally, though the book includes the lyrics to the play’s classic musical numbers, they lose much of their zest when represented in print. Still, the book is a nice copy that any fan of the show would like.
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LibraryThing member RaucousRain
I was thrilled to receive this book. I have seen the show many times over the years; the first time was in New York City with the original cast. It opened on Broadway when I was a senior in high school and because I lived nearby, I was quite an avid Broadway fan back then. I loved the show then,
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and I still enjoy it. It is a treasure! I have attended many other productions of Fiddler over the years, the most recent being about a year ago in Ojai, California.

As I read the book, I realized I recalled many of the lines – a very comforting feeling. In addition, I like having the lyrics available because I find it fun to follow along when listening to an old record of the original cast (yes, I still have my vinyl collection from the ‘60s as well as a working turntable).

I particularly enjoyed reading the list of the original cast in the book … it brought back great memories. Of course, Zero Mostel was wonderful as Tevye. But Bea Arthur was Yente – I did not remember that! And I loved her work in so many things she did later.

Although I cannot count the number of times I have seen Fiddler performed onstage, and I truly appreciate having this book …. I must admit it has been a really long time since I’ve seen the movie. Hmm, I think it is about time to do that, too!
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LibraryThing member elenalee
As someone who has never seen this play, it was a surprising and delightful read! Fast moving, fun, and quirky, you get a great exploration of Jewish identity and values, as well as a look into family, and exploring the boundaries of tradition and growth.

As you can see the play perform itself in
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your head, it is definitely on my list to experience it staged as well. If the book was as fun to read as it was, then the live performance is sure to delight even further!
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LibraryThing member Fjumonvi
Tevye, a milkman with a quintet of daughters to marry off and no money for dowries or much of anything else, maintains his equilibrium by adhering to the traditions he knows, respects, and counts on. Increasingly he finds them undermined to the point of collapse by the intrusion of modern ideas and
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political upheaval. “Every one of us,” says Tevye, “is a fiddler on the roof, trying to scratch out a pleasant, simple tune without breaking his neck” (p. 13) as his position grows ever more precarious.

Aficionados of the twentieth-century American musical theater are well acquainted with Tevye’s travails, as chronicled in the highly acclaimed Fiddler on the Roof, with book by Joseph Stein, music by Jerry Bock, and lyrics by Sheldon Harnick. On the fiftieth anniversary of the play’s Broadway premiere, Crown Publishers, a division of Random House (noted for decades for its hardcover editions of Broadway plays), has reissued the book of this beloved musical. All of the dialogue and the lyrics of the charming songs are here, though not the score.

Reading the libretto, as opposed to watching the movie or a stage production, facilitates contemplating the timelessness of the story. In every era, the new pushes aside the old, and circumstances beyond one’s control change one’s life. The conclusion of the play, when Tevye and the other residents of his village are scattered by a pogrom, not knowing whether they will ever see loved ones again, recalls the dispersal of U.S. Gulf Coast residents as a result of Hurricane Katrina.

Those who enjoy viewing the movie or play will find that reading Fiddler of the Roof adds a new dimension to their appreciation of it. Newcomers to Tevye’s story will find a well-constructed, seemingly simple but deeply wise story of love, loss, and life.
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LibraryThing member fuzzi
This book is the screenplay for my most favorite musical, one I have seen both in the 1972 movie version and once on stage. If you've enjoyed any production of "Fiddler on the Roof", you should also enjoy reading this version of the screenplay.

I heard the music in my mind as I read the words, and
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found it much like seeing again this wonderful production of screen and stage. It was fun to read some of the dialogue that my ears never had deciphered, and even coming upon a musical number that I had not seen before.

Even if you are unfamiliar with the Broadway/Hollywood versions, you might appreciate reading a witty yet poignant story of tradition, change, loss, and gain. A keeper for my shelves!
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LibraryThing member Merryann
This book contains the script of the movie, Fiddler on the Roof. So, why read the book? Why not just watch the movie? The book, with its easy-to-read format offered me the experience of enjoying the story at my own pace. I stopped and reflected, sang some of the songs aloud, and re-read certain
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sections. I enjoyed learning how the names of the characters are spelled, and it was a pleasant bonus to me to read the few sections of the script that were not contained in my movie.

The book itself is gift-quality lovely, with elegant artwork showing the fiddler on an attractive yellow background. I thought it might feel awkward reading a play but it took less than two pages for me to forget about the different format and settle right in to the story. While this book avoids political discussion by sticking exclusively to the script of Fiddler on the Roof, I somehow left the story feeling more aware that things like this really happened to people than I have from watching the movie. I like books that lead me to more understanding of people and history.

I think a person who has never seen the movie would enjoy the book and if asked, I would say, “Read the book first, and then watch the movie. Fiddler on the Roof makes one both laugh and think. You’re in for a double treat!”
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LibraryThing member gmicksmith
This classic story has been memorialized and presented in various formats not only in book form but of course it's a well-known musical, film, and a Broadway show.
LibraryThing member joyce_zhang16
I received my copy of Fiddler on the Roof through the Library Thing Early Reviewers program. This is a hard cover book written AS A PLAY, it is not a novel. However it is a great book that really goes into cultural values and changing times, but also a book for the family that reflects a father's
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love for his daughters and wife. It also shows that love really can break any barrier that may present itself. On the whole, a great book to get.
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Original publication date



0879101369 / 9780879101367
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