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Fri 17 Jun 2016 return to previous page


Interview with Tony-winning Director Bartlett Sher


Fiddler on the Roof

Bartlett Sher
Bartlett Sher

Bartlett Sher recently picked up a Drama Desk Award for his directorial work on the Tony-nominated revival of Fiddler on the Roof, which is currently booking through to 31 December 2016 at the Broadway Theatre.

Previously he won a Tony for South Pacific (2008) and earned Tony nominations for The King and I (2015), Golden Boy (2013), Joe Turner's Come and Gone (2009), Awake and Sing! (2006) and The Light in the Piazza (2005). Other Broadway credits include The Bridges of Madison County and Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.

Mr. Sher also acts as a Resident Director of Lincoln Center Theater.

We caught up with the mastermind behind the hit Broadway revival of Fiddler on the Roof...

Photo by Kyle Wrentz
Bartlett Sher

Thomas Hayden Millward: What is it, in your opinion, that keeps drawing audiences back to see ĎFiddler on the Roofí?

Bartlett Sher: Good question. I think ĎFiddlerí is sort of a show that you pass down. Your experience of it gets passed down to the next generation and the next generation. Itís a really complicated world now where people are emigrating from all over and there are refugees wandering across the globe. There are so many political conflicts. Itís always helpful to remind ourselves about how lucky we are and about how far weíve all come to be where we are. The story of Tevye is a sort of ancient one and itís a wise one. At the same time, there is this incredible music and it is one of the greatest musicals ever made.

THM: Were you asked to direct this production or did it all come into play through your own initiative?

BS: A little of both. Iíve always wanted to do it. My father was born in Lithuania in a shtetl, so I was always interested in the story. There was always 2 conditions: 1 was that Danny [Burstein] could do it, and the other was that I could use new choreography so that Hofesh Schechter could join us as well. I think Danny is giving as great a performance as is happening on Broadway right now.

Photo by Bruce Glikas
Bartlett Sher with lyricist Sheldon Harnick & Danny Burstein
Bartlett Sher with lyricist Sheldon Harnick & Danny Burstein
Production Photos

THM: Youíre one of the busiest directors in the theatre industry. What else have you got in the pipeline at the moment?

BS: Well, I just came from rehearsal for a new play called Oslo, which is about the Oslo Accords in 1993 at Lincoln Center. The King and I goes on tour next year. Iím doing a new musical with Adam Guettel and an opera at the MET - Romťo et Juliette Ė in December. Iíve got enough to worry about.

THM: With all the projects that come your way, are there certain key ingredients that make you say yes to them?

BS: Hmmm there are no key ingredients. Itís always a mixture of the theatrical challenge and personal reasons. At the stage where I am now, I really like theatrical challenges and Iím really trying to push myself to places I havenít been before and different kinds of work. Iím always essentially political in my work and thatís with a small Ďp,í so if I feel like thereís a political reason for doing it, I often like that too.

Photo by Joan Marcus
Danny Burstein & Adam Dannheisser in Fiddler on the Roof
Danny Burstein & Adam Dannheisser in Fiddler on the Roof
More Production Photos

Fiddler on the Roof is booking through to 31 December 2016 at the Broadway Theatre. Click HERE for tickets!

- by Thomas Hayden Millward

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