- An American classic musical to be adapted to screen by 'Hamilton' director Thomas Kail and MGM.
MGM and award-winning Hamilton director Thomas Kail will turn Tony Award-winning musical Fiddler on the Roof into a feature film. The Broadway musical opened in 1964 and associates nine Tony wins to its name, including for Best Musical after its debut. Kail will produce the film with Dan Jinks and Aaron Harnick. Tony Award-winning American playwright and author of Dear Evan Hansen, Steven Levenson will write the script based on the Broadway original musical.
The story is set in Imperial Russia in the early 1900s and follows Tevye, a father to five daughters and who struggles to maintain his religious and cultural Jewish traditions in his family against external influences impacting the wants and desires of his children compared to their cultural heritage. Tevye must also face an edict that evicts Jews from his village. Fiddler on the Roof is an American classic, that feature music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, and a book by Joseph Stein.
The musical holds a catalog of memorable songs, such as “If I Were a Rich Man,” “Sunrise, Sunset,” “Matchmaker,” and “To Life.” The musical has been revived several times, most recently in 2015 on Broadway with Danny Burstein portraying Teyve and led by Barlett Sher. A screen adaptation of the musical earned Norma Jewison eight Oscar nominations in 1971, including best picture and best director.
“It has been a life-long dream of mine to direct Fiddler, though I always imagined I would do it on stage,” Kail stated in the studio’s announcement. “I am over-joyed to have the opportunity to make a new film version of my favorite show with Mike DeLuca at MGM, where so many transcendent musical movies have been made. I’m proud to partner with Dan Jinks, Aaron Harnick and my great pal, Steven Levenson, to honor a work that has profoundly inspired me and millions of others.”
Levenson added, “Fiddler on The Roof was the first piece of theater I saw, at the age of 5. Today, more than 50 years after it changed the face of Broadway forever, the story of Tevye and his beloved village of Anatevka feels more timely than ever. I am beyond grateful to Mike DeLuca and MGM, Dan Jinks, and Aaron Harnick for the opportunity to tell this unforgettable story of resilience and hope in the face of hopelessness, and I am delighted to be collaborating again with the inimitable Tommy Kail.”
Kail’s work is validated through his original stage production of In the Heights and Hamilton, the latter set to premiere on Disney+ this July.
Deadline first reported the news.