Harvey Fierstein joins 'Fiddler' revival

Nov. 12, 2004 at 4:39 PM

NEW YORK, Nov. 12 (UPI) -- Broadway's revival of "Fiddler on the Roof," criticized for its Gentile leading man, has tapped Harvey Fierstein, a Jew, to take over the lead role.

Fierstein will step into the role of Tevya Jan. 4, when he replaces Alfred Molina, a Catholic, in the musical criticized for lacking a "Jewish soul," the New York Post reported Friday.

Fierstein claims he has plenty of Jewish soul with which to replenish "Fiddler."

"My rabbi lived across the street. I was Jew-surrounded. If you did anything wrong, you knew some Jew was going to see you," the actor said.

Fierstein who reportedly was approached weeks ago about playing Teyve, secured the role Tuesday when he sang every one of Tevye's songs for the "Fiddler" composers: Jerry Bock, Sheldon Harnick and Joe Stein.

"I sang 'If I Were a Rich Man,' and they laughed. They've been listening to this stuff for 40 years, and they laughed. I sang 'Chavaleh,' and Jerry Bock cried. I started to cry, too," Fierstein said.

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