Arts Hong Kong Preview Theatre

Arts of Hong Kong 2022: Fiddler on the Roof by HKRep

Photo by Lee Wai Leung

HONG KONG – Winner of nine Tony awards (including Best Musical) during its initial run, Fiddler on the Roof will soon grace the Hong Kong stage, as produced by Hong Kong Repertory Theatre. Produced many times all over the world, this musical’s popular golden melodies enliven bustling and joyful scenes, yet the story touches upon such themes as tradition in the face of new challenges, reinforcing the hopes of life’s heritage. 

Fiddler on the Roof, with book by Joseph Stein, music by Jerry Bock and original lyrics by Sheldon Harnick (and new Cantonese lyrics by Rensen Chan), has been translated into Chinese by HKRep Artistic Director Anthony Chan, who also serves as the production’s director. Accompanied by live music conducted by music director Edgar Hung, with choreography by Mandy Petty, the production features Ko Hon Man, Mercy Wong, Kiki Cheung, Tunes Ting, ManMan Kwok, Adam Tang, Christopher Ying and Eddy Au Yeung. Fiddler on the Roof runs from January 16th to 23rd at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Grand Theatre.

Fiddler on the Roof is set a decade before the Russian Revolution, in the village of Anatevka, where a Jewish milkman named Tevye (played by Ko Hon Man) lives. His three grown daughters defy the traditional practice of matchmaking to pursue love in their own way, and their betrothed husbands hold very different views on life than the older generation. As the head of the family, Tevye worries about his daughters’ well-being; at the same time, he faces hardship as the Tsarist regime drives Jewish settlers out of their homes. In the face of age-old traditions in decline, the onslaught of new values and the pain of losing everything, Tevye continues to nurture hope for the future, affirmed by love and perseverance.

Translator and director Anthony Chan states: “Fiddler on the Roof not only enchants us with qualities typical of a musical, but also has boisterous scenes along with interesting storyline and characters that lead us to ponder serious topics. In this story, such themes as people’s love of their homeland, national pride, friendship and estrangement among different ethnicities all surface, as well as the hopes of everyman for heaven’s blessing. People with indomitable wills leave an indelible mark on stage, and beautiful songs capture all our hopes for a better life.”

Fiddler on the Roof is about tradition and change. Society evolves day by day as ancient values and traditions are challenged by the new. Just like the three young couples in the story, people must choose different paths in balancing love and family. They no longer blindly follow established rules, but search for that middle-ground between tradition and innovation, which is exactly how life sustains and gains new energy.

The original Broadway production of Fiddler on the Roof opened in 1964, which was the first musical theatre run in history to surpass 3,000 performances. This long-running Broadway musical received a total of nine Tony awards (including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Original Musical Score, Best Director of a musical and Best Choreographer) and was made into a film in 1971. The musical numbers therein have since become well-loved tunes—among them Sunrise, SunsetMatchmakerIf I were a Rich Man and Tradition—touching the whole world. This Cantonese performing version will bring our audience a special treat, both for the eye and ear.

Fiddler On The Roof plays from 16th to 23rd January 2022 at Hong Kong Cultural Centre Grand Theatre. Tickets available here

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