For anyone who has cherished “Fiddler on the Roof” on stage or screen, the new documentary “Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles” offers a fascinating look at why this musical has touched so many lives for so many years.
Reaching into the Broadway archives, “Miracles” tells several stories during its economical 90-minute running time. We learn about the original stories of Sholom Aleichem who in the early 1960s inspired Broadway veterans Joseph Stein (book), Jerry Bock (music) and Sheldon Harnick (lyrics) to write a musical that (before it opened) few considered to have strong commercial appeal. We sense the concerns from producer Harold Prince, who recently died at age 91, as well as expressions of the show’s potential from observer Stephen Sondheim who had worked with “Fiddler” director Jerome Robbins on “West Side Story.” Plus we hear from cast members of the film version, from 1971, including Chaim Topol and Rosalind Harris. Together they paint a picture of a musical that used its love for song and dance to fill many a theater with a magical belief in the power of community.