1. The original production opened on Broadway on September 22, 1964. (Happy anniversary, Tevye and Golde!)
2. Fiddler on the Roof became the first Broadway musical to run 3,000 performances, finally closed with a total of 3,242 performances. The West End production ran 2,030 performances.
3. The H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society wrote a Lovecraft-inspired parody called A Shoggoth on the Roof. It is credited to He Who (for Legal Reasons) Must Not be Named.
4. In the original Broadway production, the role of Perchik was played by Bert Convy, future game show host. (Tattletales, most famously. Or infamously.)
5. For the 1971 film version, Richard Dreyfuss, Rob Reiner and John Ritter all auditioned for the part of the tailor Motel Kamzoil, which eventually went to Leonard Frey. (Should’ve tried harder, guys.)
6. Although not part of the original cast, Bette Midler played the role of Tzeitel on Broadway from 1966 to 1969. (One can only imagine what backstage was like during those years.)
7. The original production won nine of the ten Tony Awards for which it was nominated, including Best musical. (The one nomination that wasn’t won? Boris Aronson’s atmospheric scenic design lost to Oliver Smith’s work on Baker Street, Luv and The Odd Couple. Don’t look for a “10 Facts about Baker Street” any time soon, though)
8. Although Zero Mostel won rave reviews and a Tony Award, most people associated with the show feel that soon after the opening, he began making changes which benefited him as a performer while damaging the show. As a result, his contract was not renewed for a second year.
9. Although based on the stories of Sholem Aleichem, the musical takes its title from a painting, “The Fiddler,” by Marc Chagall. (Sunday in the Park with Marc coming any time soon?)
10. There have (thus far) been four Broadway revivals. The last one, from 2004, originally starred Alfred Molina, who was later succeeded by Harvey Fierstein. Randy Graff played Golde, followed by Andrea Martin and Rosie O’Donnell. Lea Michele, now of Glee fame, played one of the younger daughters.