Friday, September 22, 2006
Fiddler on the Roof is perhaps one of the finest musicals on the planet. It was on this day in 1964 that it opened on Broadway at the Imperial Theatre and ran over four thousand performances. It made a star of the late great Zero Mostel and featured Bea Arthur as Yentil and Bert Convy as Perchek. A lot of men have played the famous role including of course Topol, Hershel Bernardi and Theodore Bikel. In the very latest 2005-2006 revival Harvey Fierstein played Tevye and Rose O' Donnell played Golda. It was the very first musical that I was privileged to see. The year was 1980. I had just obtained the role of the Scarecrow in the Gallery Theatre production of "The Wizard Of Oz" (yes, that very same production that launched my songwriting career) It was simply amazing and I knew after watching that show just how much I was going to be in love with the Broadway type musical. It was only a community theatre production, but I was simply enchanted and went back to watch it many many times. I wanted to write songs like that-- songs that you could remember-- songs that you could whistle home. And of course, I'm still trying. I have an incredible friend, collaborator and partner in Tim Doran and as I apprproach my 59th birthday, I thank God each day for his guidance and help. Together we have written a new show called "The Traveling Companion" based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale that I am so excited about. I have loved this story since I was a little boy and together we are working on getting this produced in a the big time. A friend of Tim's (big in the theatre world) said he loved it and that the story made him cry. Well, that's encouraging. So let us hope. The storyteller CD is out and I'm having a new cover designed for it. I'm really going to start getting this out just as soon as possible! So thank you "Fiddler On The Roof". You were the catalyst that made it all begin. And I also thank Mr. Mark Shipley of the Gallery Theatre. We had our disagreements over the years, but you were the place where many of my first songs were performed. It was your production of "The Wizard of Oz" that offered that first big opportunity! You issued the challenge that I accepted and I am very happy that I did! But the man who remains warmest in my heart, outside of Tim, is David Holmes. He certainly made the difference when I needed help the most! God Love you! I also thank Mr. Bill Lewis whose friendship since 1989 has been one of the best things of my life! Funny how we meet people! I met Tim from an introduction by a singing teacher that shouldn't have been teaching singing! And then there is the amazing Tony Westbrook-- what an absolute blessing that simply by chance meeting was! One of the last songs he recorded for me before moving to New York City was "Crazy As It Seems"-- what a beautiful rendition. And so it goes! Our lives are all based on chance encounters! Oh well! It's so true-- God indeed draws with crooked lines!