“I think what makes musicals so special is that it’s actually not unlike a great meal because it takes a lot of ingredients, and they have to be prepared exactly the right way or it doesn’t go. The soufflé will not rise. It’s a lot of art forms smashed together; it’s music, it’s dance, it’s lighting, it’s costumes, it’s performances, and they all have to coalesce in just the right way… It’s the closest sensation you can have to an out-of-body experience. And, there’s countless of moments like that in Fiddler.”
We have been filming our documentary film FIDDLER! for well over a year now, and we’ve interviewed dozens of extraordinary people, but one of the most compelling interviews is with Lin-Manuel Miranda. We reached out to Lin at the very start of our process, knowing that he based a large part of his first musical IN THE HEIGHTS on Fiddler and that he would have wonderful insights into the show. But he’s a busy man, needless to say. At the time, he was still in HAMILTON, eight shows a week. Then he went to London to launch HAMILTON. And star in MARY POPPINS RETURNS. But finally, last week we were able to sit down with him in New York.
A major theme our of documentary is the universality of Fiddler, of why and how it has managed to remain relevant and resonant and beloved for more than 50 years, of why it will continue to be staged throughout for world for years and years to come. And hearing Lin, who has written arguably the most modern musical of our time, speak to Fiddler’s immediacy and influence on his work really brought our theme to light.
“In moments of great upheaval Fiddler is always going to seem relevant because the world is changing faster than we can understand. And, we look to our traditions to guide us and sometimes they fail us. You know, sometimes they don’t prepare us for the world that’s happening around us, you know? And in Anatevka, things have been done the same way for thousands of years but what happens when the outside world is saying you can’t live here anymore? When even a wedding cannot go by without being destroyed or messed with. And that’s what the show’s about and it’s intensely accessible because we are going through times of great change and great upheaval.”