As director Bartlett Sher and his cast dug into Bock and Harnick’s score during the rehearsal process, the parallels between today’s refugees and the townspeople of Anatevka became too apparent to ignore. What distinguishes the villagers in the musical from a majority of refugees today, however, is a detail discussed briefly in the musical’s script: The townspeople of Anatevka leave their home knowing with some degree of certainty where they’ll go.
Sher felt increasingly certain that to tell the Fiddler story truthfully, he would have to access it through a contemporary lens. With that vision, he added a modern-day character who opens and closes the show, a nameless observer whose own refugee status is open to audience interpretation. “The Syrian refugee crisis so directly connects to the plight of the play,” said Jessica Hecht who plays Golde, the matriarch of Fiddler, which will come to a close on Broadway (this time around, at least), on December 31.
It was cast member Jessica Hecht who first proposed a weekly fundraising drive to her cast mates. “The first one we did was [for] MOAS—Migrant Offshore Aid Station—and we raised $700 for them in just a few weeks,” Hecht said. Cast members brought added visibility to refugee relief on Twitter. The cast also agreed to match donations of $20 from anyone who contributed through its Twitter campaign.
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