Sunday, September 29, 2013

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Chaim Topol

Artist:Chaim Topol w/chorus, John Williams & Orch. f/Isaac Stern
Song:Prologue/Tradition/Main Title
Album:Fiddler On The Roof: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Recording: 30th Anniversary Edition

Israeli actor Chaim Topol is best known for playing Tevye in the London production and the 1971 film of Fiddler On The Roof. Fiddler On The Roof was written by Jerry Bock, Sheldon Harnick and Joseph Stein based on the Sholem Aleichem story Tevye and his Daughters. The setting is a Jewish community in Tsarist Russia. The musical opened on Broadway in 1964 starring Zero Mostel as Tevye. It ran for several years. There was also a London production starring Topol as Tevye. That opened in 1967. Topol was born Sept. 9, 1935 in Tel Aviv, Israel. He appeared in the 1964 film Sallah Shabati which was nominated for a Best Foreign Film Oscar. His English film debut was in the 1966 film Cast A Giant Shadow. So when it came time to cast the film adaptation of Fiddler On The Roof, it was assumed that Mostel would be hired. So it was somewhat controversial when director Norman Jewison chose Topol instead. Jewison said that Mostel's larger than life personality wouldn't work on film and audiences would see him as Mostel the actor, not the character Tevye. The film is fairly close to the play. There aren't that many changes. Tradition opens the show and explains Jewish traditions and the major characters. It starts with a Prologue written and conducted by John Williams followed by Topol performing Tradition followed by the opening credits featuring Isaac Stern on violin. The film was very successful and it won three Oscars including one for Williams' score. The soundtrack is available as a budget CD and the 30th Anniversary Edition contains some bonus tracks. Chaim Topol starred in the 1976 musical The Baker's Wife. But he was fired after eight months for unprofessional behaviour. This was confirmed by co-star Patti LuPone and composer Stephen Schwartz blamed Topol for killing the show. Topol has appeared in films like Flash Gordon in 1980. In 1983, he appeared in a London revival of Fiddler On The Roof and he has appeared in other revivals of the show. He's made a career out of one role and that's what he is known for. Here's Chaim Topol with chorus performing Tradition from the 1971 film Fiddler On The Roof.

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