‘Fiddler on the Roof’ at National Yiddish Theatre Honors Memory of Theodore Bikel, Famed for His Role as Tevye

By Anna Breuer on 4 September 2018
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The National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene celebrated on Monday night the memory of Academy Award nominee Theodore Bikel, best known for portraying Tevye in the musical “Fiddler on the Roof.”

Theodore Bikel, one of the most versatile actors of stage and screen, died in 2015. He was a longtime supporter of the Folksbiene and starred in the role of Tevya in various productions a record 2,200 times.

Lyricist Sheldon Harnick, who collaborated with Joseph Stein and Jerry Bock in writing “Fiddler,” spoke before the performance. Bikel’s widow, Aimee Ginsburg Bikel, spoke at a reception afterwards.

Chris Massimine, National Yiddish Theatre CEO; Jennifer Babiak, who portrays Golde; and Aimee Bikel at the reception

Chris Massimine, National Yiddish Theatre CEO; Jennifer Babiak, who portrays Golde; and Aimee Bikel at the reception

“I find our current Tevya, Steven Skybell, to be giving a performance that reminds me very much [of Theodore Bikel] and that’s high praise indeed,’ he said to the audience.

Mrs. Bikel said she felt her late husband’s presence in the theater during the performance.

Directed by Joel Grey, “Fiddler” was recently extended at the theatre and the production will run until October 25.

The powerful new production of “Fiddler on the Roof” that opened in July at the National Yiddish Theater Folksbiene, is an authentic and, at times, extraordinarily moving experience. Steven Skybell, who steps into Tevye’s boots in this production, is a storyteller cast from the same mold as Bikel, as Jonathan Spira, who knew Bikel, wrote in his review of the show. Jackie Hoffman is understated but hysterical as Yente the Matchmaker, and Jennifer Babiak is a powerful Golde.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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